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UAP/VP -- A Reluctant Decision

As an editorial board, we have struggled with the choice of presidential and vice presidential candidates available to students in this year’s Undergraduate Association elections. Unfortunately, we have concluded that none of the tickets in this year’s elections are what we desire in a UA presidential/vice-presidential team.

That is not to say the candidates are without their strengths. Several of the candidates have strong talents which would contribute positively to the UA. But the current teams of candidates do not present these skills in a package we are able to embrace enthusiastically.

The team of Jaime E. Devereaux ’02 and Allison L. Neizmik ’02 has the asset of experience. Devereaux is currently UA Council Speaker and Neizmik is UA Public Relations Chair, and this ticket has the best understanding of the issues facing the UA and the processes governing the UA. But both are commensurate insiders, and have a history of pursuing their plans of action in ways that inhibit meaningful contributions by the average student. At a time when the UA is increasingly governed by its own internal subculture, we hesitate to embrace such an insider candidacy.

In contrast, the ticket of Sanjay K. Rao ’02 and Jyoti Agarwal ’03 presents a fresh perspective -- a new outlook which the UA desperately needs. Rao is especially able to connect the student body. However, Rao’s evasiveness in answering a straightforward question about his petition from Rhett Creighton ’02 presented him as a waffling politician, not the straight-shooter that students need. Regarding this and other issues, it appears that the Rao/Agarwal ticket has wilfully misled the student body. Additionally, we doubt the level of commitment to student affairs shown by Rao’s running mate Agarwal. By her own admission, she rarely makes meetings of groups to which she claims membership. These factors give us serious concerns about the integrity of the Rao/Agarwal ticket.

Creighton and Margaret V. Stringfellow ’03 bring a level of energy and excitement not found in the other candidates. And as Tau Epsilon Phi and Senior House residents, respectively, they represent constituencies that feel shut out of the UA. However, the goals of their campaign, such as bringing back Heart-to-Heart and the Millennium Ball, are issues below the scope of those we would like our UA leaders to address. At first glance, their eccentric style struck us as possibly awkward for UA leadership. Had the time available for campaigning been longer, we may have felt differently. In the limited time we have had to learn about the candidates, we do not yet feel comfortable that the individuals on this ticket understand the responsibilities involved with UA executive office.

The process has been additionally complicated by the decision of the UA Judicial Review Board to remove the team of Creighton and Stringfellow from the ballot because of an insufficient number of signatures. We hope that Creighton and Stringfellow are allowed the option cited by JudBoard to gather more signatures quickly, and that the other candidates support their restoration to the ballot.

Even if Creighton and Stringfellow are restored to the ballot, though, the overall quality of this candidate field will remain disappointing. All of the tickets have had the chance to impress, yet none have stood out as the students’ clear choice. We can only hope that this underwhelming slate does not portend an underwhelming year in student government.