Last week, we offered no endorsement in the first round of voting for Student Government executive alliance. But this week, we realize that is no longer a tenable position.
Like every candidate for those positions, from this year and those past, we believe that SG plays an essential role in making the 40 Acres the best place it can be. Last week, we detailed some of the big ideas this year’s crop brings to the table, and quietly owe the organization credit for many of the things that make our lives better, from placing students in positions to serve one another to equipping them with resources as important as the E-bus and the SAC.
And all four students running on the remaining two campaigns deserve credit for their service inside and outside of SG. Isaiah Carter has helped make Kevin Helgren and Binna Kim’s term a success, and Sydney O’Connell’s work in Not On My Campus has helped women on this campus. Alejandrina Guzman brings experience from service in LULAC, the Multicultural Engagement Center and the Disabilities & Inclusion Agency, and Micky Wolf’s work founding Texas for Expanding Opportunity shows his dedication to the Austin community.
Last week, with a runoff likely and reasons to take issue with each campaign, we asked our readers to vote for the candidate they believed in. We hoped that each ticket would take our criticisms of their campaigns to heart, and that we would be in a better position to make a decision about who could best serve every student on campus.
Now that Burley-Guerra have been eliminated and are in a position to play kingmaker after picking up over a quarter of the vote, we feel it is our job to take up that mantle. Burley-Guerra’s limited grasp on policy, homogeneity of viewpoints and Burley’s direct ties to Isaiah compel us to doubt that they know who can best serve students, even if we appreciated the energy they brought to campaigning.
And while we stand by most of our original criticisms, we feel Alejandrina Guzman and Micky Wolf are the candidates who can serve us best. We feel Guzman-Wolf can rectify their deficiencies going forward and have made some effort to do so, while Carter-O’Connell have only cast more doubt on their capacity to lead.
In our eyes, Isaiah’s decision to abuse his position in SG to find extra campaign workers was never a rectifiable harm. SG should be an institution that serves students most in need, not those who wish to further their own ambitions. We see that win-at-all-costs attitude show up in other places as well. Their full flop on hate speech in 10 days, from a stance in favor of banning any speech that offends any “race, religion, gender or creed” toward one that argues that free speech fixes everything — without an explanation of how they got from point A to B — suggests a craven willingness to offer stances they believe are popular. Isaiah’s statement at our debate last week about separating his public and private opinions raises an eyebrow, leaving us wondering how he will effectively represent students behind closed doors, which is where most of SG’s work gets accomplished.
We have our differences with Alejandrina and Micky, but we’ve never questioned their belief in standing up for the needs of students. Yesterday, they used time they could have spent campaigning on the West Mall to speak out against the SB6 “bathroom bill” at the Texas Capitol, demonstrating their willingness to fight for students who need their help the most. They have a solid plan to help transgender students change the names on their transcripts and diplomas to reflect their gender identity. Their textbook exchange program, if implemented, would keep money in student pockets instead of the bank coffers of textbook companies.
While we wish their ticket had confronted Alejandrina’s past support for banning YCT more vocally, we know both of them care about protecting students if given the choice, and we prefer her response at our debate to how Isaiah and Sydney have handled walking back their statement. Paired with Micky, whose stances we’ve taken no issue with, we feel comfortable with their ability to lead, even if we wish they had done more to communicate to the rest of the University the things that comforted us in private conversation.
We offer them our endorsement, and hope they will repay it by serving every student on campus at every opportunity.
Voting in the executive alliance runoff opens at 8 am on March 8 and closes at 5 pm on March 9. We hope that you will cast your vote at utexasvote.org to elect the administration you believe will bring change to this campus for us all.