The Students’ Association

president is, above all,

the conduit through which student ideas reach university administration. The SA president should be one who has shown a vested interest in representing the ideas of students across campus. The primary role of the executive branch of government should be advocacy. While it is good for the SA president to have an agenda coming into office, one of the most important characteristics to be considered is a capacity to adjust this agenda to fit the needs of the entire student body. This year, there is one presidential candidate whose platform and experience proves that he has this ability – junior Chris Calo.

Calo has served in the presidential cabinet for the past three years, experience that gives him the contacts and the perspective necessary to effect positive change. While the other three candidates also have extensive experience in various capacities within the SA, Calo’s ideas about involving leaders of student groups in governmental decisions sets him apart as the candidate who can return our government to a functional state.

His professional attitude and poise are qualities that will help him in dealing with both students and administrators.

Recent problems with the SA government, culminating in the administration’s refusal to approve an increase in the SA fee, have proven that the current structure of the SA government is questionable. This said, the position of SA President for the upcoming year is one that may be intensely involved in restructuring UR’s student government.

The referendum proposed by current SA President Lonny Mallach and his administration calls for an elimination of the current senate bylaws. Given recent events and ongoing problems with overlapping responsibilities and internal squabbles, it is apparent that change must be implemented. The sheer ineffectiveness of the current government has perpetuated the widespread disinterest in its proceedings.

This can only be remedied by creating a structure for student government in which students are directly involved and the roles of governmental branches are more clearly defined. Regardless of agenda, without a working structure, any president will be ineffective.

Scrapping the SA bylaws is only the beginning of this process. It is important to remember that our future SA president will be left with the responsibility of restructuring our student government.

Calo’s plan to unify campus through existing leaders is a solid one that seems viable. His plan calls for an organization of student groups under a series of umbrella categories. Through more open communication between groups, the SA government will have a more clear idea of where the student body stands on specific issues. This will ensure that the student government truly is representative of student needs.

This is a reasonable plan because leaders of student groups are people who are already involved and have shown they have an active interest in helping to make decisions.

Calo presents a level-headed approach and his experience on committees such as the Deans’ Advisory Committee, dining committees and the D-Day committee shows that he can work with others.

There are many relevant issues raised by other candidates that should be considered, regardless of who is elected.

Senior Steve Duszlak’s push to draft a student bill of rights is an idea that is definitely worth considering. Outlining student rights in relation to the administration is a relevant issue and should be pursued. His experience on senate bylaw committees shows that he recognizes the need for change and has had experience in the field. Duszlak’s desire to question security issues are also admirable.

The one thing that does detract from Duszlak’s strengths, however, is the fact that he has been an integral part of the senate that has been characteristically dysfunctional.

Junior Noah Kuschel presents the most concrete ideas, including budgeting issues and improving school spirit at athletic events – both of which are good ideas. Kuschel’s involvement in the DVD library proves he has the capacity to get things done, but it is not clear that the goals he has set for his administration can be implemented outside of an administrative timetable.

Junior Matt Strabone is running for the second year in a row – an action that shows his persistence and dedication to the idea of being SA President. Strabone has had experience both on senate and as a member of cabinet. While his experience is valuable, his platform clearly shows that he is not taking this race as seriously as he should.

All the candidates this year have experience and ideas and all should stay involved in student government.

The upcoming year has the potential to be a turning point in the history of UR’s student government. Calo should remember by whom and for whom he has been elected and work to implement the structure he envisions.

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