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Don’t just vote to vote — know who you’re voting for

The following reflects the majority opinion of the editorial board.

Voting for the next Student Body President (SBP) is open from March 15-17 on the Hub.

The SBP and Vice President (VP) are going to represent the student body for the next year, so we believe voting is important — and educated voting even more so. 

We, at The Miami Student, have had a chance to talk to all three slates running for the SBP and VP positions, and we thought all the campaigns had their strengths and weaknesses. 

Given that, the team we feel the most confident in leading the Miami student body is Trey Petrella and Ruku Pal. We were encouraged by their solid experience in Associated Student Government (ASG), including the close work they have done with the current SBP, and their platform’s concrete actionable steps to get their goals accomplished. 

With the campaign slogan “Many voices. One purpose,” they plan on focusing on the pillars of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI), Access for All and Bridging the Gap. Their goal is ultimately to create a university that is home to all of its students. They share many of these goals with the other slates, but we believe they are the best equipped to achieve the changes they are looking for.

They have a respectful and firm relationship with administration, which we know goes a long way when it comes to getting things done. They have been a part of working on extending the credit/no credit option and extending dining hall accommodations to include students fasting for Ramadan.

They have a solid grasp on the necessary steps to get these goals accomplished, and because they both know how to get policies passed within student government, we believe they will do this with efficiency through a seamless transition. 

On the one hand, we feel they may not be the most in tune with the everyday issues many students face and care about, given that they (along with the Jett/McKeon slate) did not reach out to the Black Student Action Association while campaigning. But they have surrounded themselves with a more diverse team that we think and hope will be able to help fill in the gaps of their experiences.

We know the applications for two secretary positions will be sent out to the entirety of the student body. Our hope is that this will bring in voices who better represent students from marginalized groups, whose needs, we believe, should be amplified right now, and we believe Petrella and Pal will make sure this happens.

If they want to create a school that feels like home, they need to bring everyone to the table. 

Vada Stephens and Lena Giang are our second choice for the positions of SBP and VP. Their general statements felt more in touch with the marginalized groups on campus — they themselves are the most diverse ticket and have connections with many intercultural and international student groups, and their platform focuses on changes more centered around advocacy for those communities. They were also the only ticket to reach out to BSAA during their campaign, which is encouraging. 

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However, we felt less confident in their ability to execute actionable steps toward their ambitious goals in the short time they would have. These candidates will have only a year to do what they set out to, and concrete steps to get there mean absolutely everything. 

As for Madelyn Jett and Aidan McKeon, the third team running, we felt their goals were not as relevant as the other two slates. This is not to say their goals of getting student workers parking passes and extending the reach of dining dollars are unimportant. But their approach toward bigger issues they wanted to tackle, such as diversity, equity and inclusion and mental health, felt more disorganized and less achievable than the other candidates’. 

While we are endorsing Petrella and Pal in this election, we do not believe they are perfect, or that they have everything figured out. 

To whoever wins, we have a few things we hope you keep in mind throughout your time in office.

Represent marginalized groups on campus and bring them into the decision-making space more and more. We know this is a part of all the teams’ platforms, but it is something we are very invested in seeing actually happen over the next year. If we are going to make positive changes, we need diverse representation.

Push for the interest of the students even if and when the administration presents itself as a barrier to your more ambitious goals. 

Maintain a tone of transparency with students so there can be accountability and trust between us and our government. 

We are excited to see the change our new SBP and VP will bring. No matter who they are, we wish them luck, love and honor. 

For all other students: Do your research, think about the change you want to see and, please, vote. You can read more about these candidates and their campaigns here.

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