SG campaigns must provide UT realistic promises

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With the second semester finally back in full swing, the time is now ripe for new Student Government campaigns to emerge. And as always, these campaigns come with any number of outlandish promises and gilded dreams that the candidates can never hope to accomplish. While these promises grab students’ attention and procure their votes, they’re detrimental to the integrity of SG.

UT does little to fully educate students on the nature of SG president and vice president and the associated powers, making it harder for students to determine the validity of campaign promises. UT should communicate descriptions of SGs statutory powers to students more directly through emails and social media posts prior to each election cycle. Students must understand that the SG president holds the power to represent the student body to the University administration, the Board of Regents and the Texas Legislature. They also have the power to implement-student driven projects and serve on campus-wide committees.

Currently there are three pairs of candidates running for the position of SG president and vice president: Blake Burley and Robert Guerra, Isaiah Carter and Sydney O’Connell, and Alejandrina Guzman and Micky Wolf. Each campaign has published a platform containing both reasonable and unreasonable promises.

The most outrageous of these promises is also the most coveted. Guzman and Wolf commit themselves to bring back the Texas vs. A&M rivalry football game as the final listing on their platform. To bring back this match, UT would have to work with at least A&M, the Big 12, the SEC and the NCAA, only to solidify the logistics of the match, all of which are outside of SG’s jurisdiction.

But that’s just the first of the many unrealistic campaign promises being offered this year. Carter and O’Connell have listed the creation of a Texas vs. OU holiday as one of their campaign promises. Guzman and Wolf have also proposed working with West Campus apartment complexes to guarantee housing for underprivileged students, another undertaking that would be outside of their powers. 

These promises are merely attempts to seek votes rather than campus-wide change.

The one campaign that doesn’t have outrageous promises is Burley and Guerra’s. Their platform reads more like a list of issues than a list of solutions — it’s too vague to make promises that can be broken. In a sense, it’s the most reasonable campaign platform. But it still does a disservice to the voters.

Voters’ voices are lost amid all these unrealistic campaign promises. Students are left either to vote for the candidate who offers the most, whether they can truly fulfill it or not, or for the candidate who offers change in the vaguest of terms, in the hope that they won’t be left disappointed. 

This isn’t how student wide elections should be run. Campaigns should be based on realistic goals, not gimmicks that grab attention or a lack of tangible possibilities for change. And there should be a wider understanding of the role of the Executive Alliance, so voters can discern feasible promises from unrealistic ones. UT needs to circulate emails defining the roles of the Executive Alliance prior to each campaign cycle in order to make SG more accessible to students.

 

Berdanier is a philosophy junior from Boulder, Colorado. She is a senior columnist. Follow her on Twitter @eberdanier.