The job description for the Students’ Association president is not set in stone. On the contrary, it is a pliable position that changes with the needs of the student body and the style of the president. However, at its most basic level, the SA president is a link between the student body and the university administration. One presidential candidate has proven he can provide this link ? Lonny Mallach.
Over the past two years, as chief of staff for both former SA president Meng Wang and current SA president John LaBoda, Mallach has proven he can get things done. From heading the student committee that helped to restructure the upperclassmen dining plans to coordinating the effort to materialize the pub, Mallach has shown himself to be an effective catalyst.
While the other two candidates represent a positive force at UR, Mallach has the experience to fulfill his wishes. He is also acutely aware of the limitations of the office of SA president, and it shows in his campaign platform.
Dining plans have become less confusing this past year, thanks in part to Mallach. The upperclass dining plans, which used to have a complicated overhead cost, now are a simple one-to-one ratio of dollars put into the declining balance and the dollars in the account. Bonus dollars are then added to the account, but are currently placed in a separate bonus account. Mallach plans on pushing to move the money back into a singular dining account.
This is a reasonable goal, and one that would add to the quality of life of students. Mallach also plans on continuing to simplify the now-cumbersome freshman dining plans by giving smaller block options. Taking into account Mallach’s already successful work on dining plans last year, these changes are likely to take place.
Remodeling and expanding the Corner Store is another viable undertaking Mallach is pushing for. His focus on the often-understocked and crowded store shows he is perceptive to the needs of students. This is an issue that affects almost all students at UR and one that can be concretely changed.
Another issue in the forefront of many students’ minds is the actions of UR Security. Mallach presents a balanced plan that recognizes the need for a students’ bill of rights for both individuals and groups. However, he does not go to the extreme of insisting on keeping the processes secretive, as one of his opponents does. That is also not an answer to the problem ? and Mallach recognizes that.
Instead, Mallach proposes that Security is put under strict standards of accountability ? just like any other organization in this university. Forcing Security to write standards and then follow their own rules is an excellent idea. The recent rash of incidents that have caused the overall idea that Security often transgresses its bounds call for this type of response. Security needs to be held responsible and Mallach hopes to make it so.
Mallach also recognizes the possible conflict of interest with the idea of a representative cabinet, while calling for a representative body under the legislative branch of SA. He correctly points out that a representative cabinet would hinder the ability of the legislative branch to be an advocacy mechanism.
The cabinet is ideally a group of advisers with whom the president can closely work. A representative cabinet would instead be a group of lobbyists in the position of advocates, looking out for special interests instead of working for students.
However, Mallach does support an SA Council to provide a representative forum for SA groups. He also recognizes that Simmons is a passionate supporter of this proposal.
Junior Adam Simmons has a heart the size of New York and should be a passionate addition to the Mallach administration. Simmons’ enthusiasm is a welcome change from the often humdrum governmental regulars, but his practical experience dealing with the administration is lacking.
Sophomore Matt Strabone wants to improve conditions, but is lacking the experience both at UR that the other two candidates possess and the experience dealing with administration. Another year in the trenches here will help to mature his views and the way that he presents them. Strabone presented many of the same ideas as Mallach and Simmons, but did not give credit to those whose ideas he was using. He must learn to give credit where it is due before taking on a job like SA president.
A few words of caution to Mallach ? don’t take this election for granted. Although you have the experience and the ideas, you need to make sure that your commitment to this community continues to be noticeable. Also, do not forget to include the other candidates in your administration. They have passion and ideas ? two things that are integral to the success of any good administration.
We are still confident that Mallach will provide strong leadership to the student government. He has proven himself capable of getting things done and how to maintain an effective administration. Remember to vote for Mallach at your mail prompt next week.