Delivering American University's news and views since 1925. | Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Op-ed: Taylor Dumpson is the student body president we need

AUSG President Devontae Torriente endorses Taylor Dumpson

Op-ed: Taylor Dumpson is the student body president we need

Devontae Torriente, who served as student government president from 2016-2017, reflects on his leadership over the past year. 

It’s that time of year again, when we choose the next person to lead our student body and Student Government in the direction of progress. I have been fortunate enough to serve as your student body president for the past year, working to improve our community and the overall quality of the student experience here at AU.

The job is a hard, frustrating and overwhelming one at times-- but it is arguably more important now that it has been in recent times. The next student body president will work with Secretary Sylvia Burwell, our next University president, to provide insight for her strategic plan, which will consist of objectives and initiatives that will guide AU for the next decade.

They will also work with the next Vice President of Campus Life to continue to prioritize the needs and concerns of the student body at the highest level of the University. The next president will sit in the same room as the Board of Trustees, tasked with the responsibility of speaking truth to power, to make sure that our trustees are putting the University’s money where its mouth is during this transitional phase.

We need a student body president with a clear vision for our campus community and a deep understanding of student life at AU. I wholeheartedly believe that person is Taylor Dumpson.

Taylor has been an active member of the AU community since she first got here, and her story is a compelling one. Taylor understands that progress does not happen overnight, and that dismantling the barriers that hold us back as a community don’t have any quick fixes.

Perhaps most importantly, Taylor knows that we need an intersectional approach in order to craft the right solutions that are effective and sustainable. I have known and worked with Taylor during most of my time at AU. I know the caliber of work she brings to the table and the level of dedication she gives to that work.

Reading that Taylor wanted to leave AU after her first year because of the racism she faced on campus, and her decision to stay and help make AU a better place by her graduation than it was at her convocation evoked the story I told you all a year ago about myself. But more importantly, it serves as a reminder that there is still more work to be done. The kind of change that we need at AU and beyond is structural, and it won’t happen in just one, ten or even twenty years. But it will happen, as long as we continue to elect leaders that will make sure of it.

Every year, candidates create lofty platforms, jam-packed with promises that sound good because they hit all the key issue areas that they think people want to hear about. Taylor’s decision not to create a platform full of those types of misguided promises is a smart one because it is mindful of all of the fast-paced change happening at every level of our community. The other current platforms I have read through are not well thought-out and I can guarantee that many of the promises made in them are non-starters.

We can’t afford that kind of reckless leadership during this transitional period of our University, and Taylor knows that. What we need in a student body president is a set of principles that will guide them and all the work they will do, whether it is executing a thoroughly-vetted initiative or responding to unforeseen circumstances that shake our community. Taylor has those principles that create a formula for success when coupled with her keen understanding of policy, how our university functions and what the role of Student Government is in all of that.

Taylor will keep the ball rolling on the progress I was able to lay the groundwork for with all of your help. She is driven, she is authentic and she is beyond qualified to be our next president.

When the polls open, I will be voting for Taylor Dumpson and I hope that you will too. Let’s do our part to create A [Different] U.

Devontae Torriente is a junior in the School of Public Affairs and the 2016-17 AUSG President.

 

edpage@theeagleonline.com


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