By Newswire’s Editorial Board
There are three executive tickets running for election in the 2021 Student Government Association (SGA) Election.
We ARE Change includes presidential nominee Annalese Cahill and Vice Presidential nominees Evan Nash and Ryan Dhaliwal. Voice for Xavier includes presidential nominee Murphy Penwell and Vice Presidential nominees David Reeves and Adam Stuckey. AID XU includes presidential nominee Derrick Meyer and Vice Presidential nominees Ethan Brosnan and Diego Pulido.
Based on the evaluation by our Editorial Board, Newswire has decided to endorse We ARE Change. We have full confidence that Cahill, Nash and Dhaliwal all have the necessary vision and talent to make Xavier a better place.
Our Editorial Board consists of nine members, seven of whom individually gave each ticket a score, and those scores were aggregated to determine our endorsement. The voting members included Editor-in-Chief Alex Budzynski, Opinions & Editorials Editor Charlie Gstalder, Multimedia Managing Editor Hunter Ellis, World News Editor Sophie Boulter, Education & Enrichment Coordinator Joseph Cotton, Arts & Entertainment Editor Kate Ferrell and Blobcast Show Manager Chloe Salveson.
To make our endorsement, our Editorial Board interviewed each ticket individually, moderated a debate and reviewed each platform to prepare an evaluation of the ticket. While each ticket displayed qualities we look for in the candidate, we can ultimately only choose one ticket to endorse. This decision was based on a predetermined scoring system and required careful deliberation. This endorsement does not reflect the opinion of one editor, but the collective opinion of our Editorial Board. Below is the official evaluation of the ticket in terms of passion, feasibility, professionalism, balance and representation.
We ARE Change: Cahill, Evans and Dhaliwal
Representation – Representation evaluates how well the ticket reflects the interests of the student population at Xavier.
We ARE Change had the only woman represented on an SGA ticket, and this was reflected in their knowledgeable answers about issues which affect Xavier’s women. The representation of women on the ticket reinforces their platform commitments, and sets them apart from other tickets. The ticket featured diverse political views and differing grade levels as well as boasting members across three majors and two colleges. While their goals appeared to be largely in line with the desires of the student body, some additional student input may have been beneficial.
Balance – Balance refers to the equal distribution of work and time within the ticket and their platform, in addition to their ability to work together as a team.
We believe that We ARE Change displayed the ideal balance between each executive on their ticket. While the candidates did not equally share the brunt of questions, we feel that Dhaliwal and Nash’s overall deference to Cahill represented the appropriate balance of power between President and Vice Presidents. It wasn’t a matter of balance; it was a matter of respect.
Passion – Passion concerns how the members of the ticket communicated their investment in their platform and enthusiasm for the roles of Executives.
From the beginning of the campaigning process, We ARE Change was actively engaging with the students of Xavier through tabling and canvassing events. When we saw their in-person engagement, it seemed as though they genuinely listened and cared for their peers. The passion We ARE Change exhibited in their engagement on campus made us believe that they will bring similar energy to their administrative term. When they spoke on the issues in their platform, they referenced discussions they have had with administration, proving they have the willingness to talk to the staff members who will help them accomplish their goals.
Feasibility – Feasibility concerns the likelihood of the ticket’s platform being executed.
For each question posed by the Editorial Board, We ARE Change pointed to a specific member of Xavier faculty or administration with whom they had conferred. The ticket clearly thought through their proposals and conferred with different people around campus — and each other — to assess the best way to implement their plans. However, the feasibility of some of their policies was questionable. Namely, the legality of their plan to have a student driven shuttle service is murky. Additionally, it remains to be seen whether Kroger, a national corporation, would be willing to accept X-Cash, regardless of their local headquarters.
Professionalism – Professionalism encompasses, not only how the members of the ticket conducted themselves during the interview and debate, but also how they prepared and presented their platform.
We ARE Change conducted themselves well throughout the interview and the debate. They gave succinct and specific answers to the Editorial Board’s questions. The candidates knew their platform well and explained it adeptly. The ticket was punctual and courteous, turning in information in a timely manner and following up with the Editorial Board when necessary. Nevertheless, at the debate, the candidates sometimes provided generalist answers.
Voice 4 Xavier: Penwell, Reeves and Stuckey
Voice 4 Xavier had the lowest score in representation. While we felt the ticket covered various areas of campus involvement, grade levels and majors, the candidates did not represent the many racial, ethnic and gender identities at Xavier.
Voice 4 Xavier displayed a disproportionate amount of knowledge between the candidates. This became abundantly clear when navigating broad and specific questions in the debate and in our interview. Some candidates were also not as vocal as others and candidates occasionally interrupted each other.
Voice 4 Xavier must be applauded for their charisma. The ticket was excited to begin rectifying the backlog of executive projects in addition to beginning their own feasible projects. They were passionate about corralling the Senate for the sake of productivity and time management. However, the passion motivating this ticket could be divisive with strong criticism from the previous administration.
While we agree with many of the platform policies Voice 4 Xavier offered, we felt their proposed initiatives were ill-thought-out and poorly articulated on campaign materials and changed across various mediums. Of note is their proposed mural, which was one of the most feasible and achievable ideas across all platforms.
Voice 4 Xavier was polite, kind and dressed well throughout the endorsement process. While they displayed a willingness to work with Newswire, they were also uncommunicative with our multimedia staff when asked about recording for Newswire Live: Election Edition. This ticket also needs to reconsider its language directed towards female-identifying students. Candidates routinely referred to women as “females” and suggested that women needed “protecting.” Additionally, this ticket had occasional difficulty naming administrators that they could work with to accomplish their goals.
AID XU: Meyer, Brosnan and Pulido
AID XU presented unique representation for the first-generation student community, a group at Xavier which struggles to have their voices heard in SGA and at Xavier as a whole. They were the only ticket to include candidates from outside SGA. Similarly to the other tickets, AID XU represented three different colleges. However, like Voices 4 Xavier, the ticket did not feature any women.
While each candidate had an evident care for their platform, only Meyer was able to provide thoughtful and informed answers. Meyer was also the only member of the ticket who had knowledge about the mechanics of SGA, and getting used to the mechanics of SGA has proved to be a challenge in the past for executive tickets.
We have no doubt that AID XU was passionate about making a difference, and their love for Xavier was apparent. The ticket had a palpable, sheer enthusiasm that was inspirational. Through their use of public forums, the ticket demonstrated care for the student body. However, we are not confident that their passion will tangibly translate to making change.
AID XU presented a laundry list of initiatives, including 60 to 100 items they wanted to tackle at some point, but they never presented a concrete starting point. The ideas ranged from mildly feasible to outright absurd. A student discount for Uber seemed especially silly given that the rideshare company has been criticized for unfair wages and a lack of profitability. As a ticket, AID XU has the least amount of experience on SGA, and the ticket could not point to members of the Xavier administration to help them achieve their goals. While we appreciated the ticket’s use of public forums, we felt the feasibility of the platform could have been strengthened by speaking to influential faculty members or individuals in the administration.
This ticket was well dressed, prompt and kind in all of their interactions throughout the campaigning process. However, we believe the ticket also needs to reconsider its language towards female-identifying students. Members of AID XU stated that they would “never be able to relate to females,” and cited having mothers and sisters as reasons to support women (rather than supporting women because it is the right thing to do). This ticket frequently gave long-winded answers that did not directly address the posed question. AID XU was also the only ticket that did not present a physical flyer or list of platform initiatives.
As an Editorial Board, we are pleased with the fact that there were three tickets running as executives in this year’s election and see this as a positive improvement from the past two years. The election process was competitive and allowed each ticket to be tested instead of simply walking into office. We believe that each and every candidate presents a passion to make a difference. Therefore, we encourage the winning ticket to incorporate the members of the other tickets into their plans, whether that be appointing them to Senate vacancies or discussing their initiatives with one another.