The Eagle’s student government endorsements for the 2019-2020 year
Editorial board endorses Dantzler, Burgess, Kwon and Zitzmann
On March 21, The Eagle invited candidates for the 2019-2020 Student Government executive board to speak with our editorial board about their platforms and answer questions about their vision for SG next year. Of those candidates, the editorial board has decided to endorse four.
Voting begins today at 12 p.m. through CampusLabs and will close on Wednesday, March 27 at 12 p.m. Election results will be announced in the Tavern on Wednesday night.
Of the two candidates running for president, Joshua Dantzler presented the strongest and clearest case for why he should become SG president.
The board was impressed by his well-documented history of engaged leadership since the onset of his academic career at AU, serving as a senator during his freshman year and working in the Center for Diversity and Inclusion for the past two years. His platform presents pragmatic goals, including the expansion of financial aid office hours beyond working hours and allowing students to schedule Counseling Center appointments online. Dantzler is delivering a passionate vision focused on financial aid transparency, an issue that is at the forefront of students’ minds this year.
The Eagle believes that the AU student community will benefit from a candidate who has shown their ability to create productive working relationships with key university stakeholders. This is another strength that we believe will aid Dantzler in accomplishing his goals next year, and another reason why our board voted to endorse him for president.
Our editorial board would like to commend Angela Chen for her work in multiple student groups, including as president of AU College Democrats, and for developing original ideas, such as creating a form for students to report classroom bias incidents and advocating for student input on the University’s search for a new food vendor. We also share Chen’s concern for the crushing burden that rising tuition is placing upon students.
Both candidates presented quality platforms to reform our campus community for the betterment of all. Our endorsement settled upon Dantzler for his demonstrated ability to build relationships with students and administrators alike as well as his clear, attainable goals. We look forward to seeing how the candidates work to accomplish their goals regardless of the election results.
The editorial board overwhelmingly voted in favor of endorsing Mulan Burgess for vice president. Burgess presented a refreshing platform focused on reforming how SG spends its programming budget, especially in regards to Founders Day programming. Our community requires leaders who can acknowledge the event’s issues and offer new ideas about how to fund the ball, including negotiating with the University for financial assistance.
Like Dantzler, Burgess has also demonstrated a meaningful, productive history of community engagement in his positions across campus, including his roles as associate comptroller and SG senator. His platform went further than run-of-the-mill discourse of transparency, providing research-based dedication to reform how SG operates.
The Eagle also commends Carolyn Mejia for her platform, which included a focus on diverse speakers and a desire to direct more funding to Women’s Initiative, one of the more popular SG programming departments. We also support her effort to establish the student leadership fund that started under former president Devontae Torriente, and hope she will be appointed to a role in SG that will allow her to utilize her substantial programming background.
The Eagle endorses James Kwon for SG secretary. We commend his outsider perspective and his stated dedication to open, transparent communication with student media. He shows a keen understanding of SG’s communication issues with students and had achievable goals in how to address them, including better and more frequent social media engagement. Kwon’s plans to spotlight smaller student clubs and his background working in those groups, including the Asian-American Student Union and AU’s pre-law society, were also well-received by the editorial board.
The secretary race also has a strong candidate in Danya Adams, a sophomore SG senator running for the position. We appreciated her taking initiative in reaching out to previous secretaries for guidance and developing a plan for weekly club spotlights and student feedback surveys. However, Adams’ platform was not as clearly defined and did not appear conducive to resolving concerns about how SG communicates with the student body and with student media.
The Eagle endorses Bobby Zitzmann, who is running unopposed, for comptroller. For a position typically devoid of enthusiasm, Zitzmann has developed a thorough platform that is deeply invested in ensuring that accurate, timely and accessible information about SG’s budget is available to the AU community.
His work in publishing a senate finance report on the organization's budget as well as his experience as finance committee chair are clear indicators of his potential to succeed in the role. We are confident that Zitzmann has the experience necessary to navigate the changing responsibilities of the comptroller and to meet students' growing desire for the SG executive board to play a role in tuition advocacy.
Photos by SASHA JONES/THE EAGLE