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The framework for change: The Miami Student’s endorsement for Student Body President

The following reflects the majority opinion of the Editorial Board, which consists of staff members with an ‘assistant editor’ title and above.

The yearly Student Body President election will be taking place Monday, March 13 through Wednesday, March 15, and every year, The Miami Student endorses the candidates it feels are best fit for the job. 

The Student recognizes its important role in both covering the election and endorsing a candidate and does not make the decision lightly. In The Student staff meetings on Sunday, March 5, our staff met with Nyah Smith (SBP) and Jules Jefferson (VP) as well as Cameron Tiefenthaler (SBP) and Grace Payne (VP).

You can read more about both pairs of candidates here.

This year, after meeting with both pairs of candidates for the positions, the Editorial Board has chosen to endorse, with great confidence, Nyah Smith for Student Body President and Jules Jefferson for Student Body Vice President.

Their slogan, “Building the Table,” sets the tone for their campaign as a pair of students who have already put genuine community work toward their goals. 

Smith’s leadership experience comes from her roles as Head SEAL Ambassador and Chair of the Armstrong Student Center Board of Student Activities. She is an Evans Scholar who also works with UP Magazine and Miami University Fashion & Design, and she additionally sat on the COVID-19 Student Voice Committee.

Jefferson has served as secretary for Infrastructure and Sustainability in ASG, president of the Student Sustainability Council, a member of the Dean of Students’ Advisory Board, chair of Community Service for the Minority Association of Pre-Health Students and a member of the Residence Hall Association.

Their combined years of experience and service in the areas they hope to improve as President and Vice President showed a commitment to progress and a passion for their beliefs. 

It is clear to the Editorial Board that Smith and Jefferson can get things done.

We recognized great promise and dedication within the campaign ideals as well as the realistic goals Smith and Jefferson are setting for themselves.

Unity, Sustainability & Infrastructure and Student Empowerment were the three core features of the Smith/Jefferson platform.

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Creating a new standard for openness for the student body to see how ASG works and what it is doing would be an impressive step toward community transparency. ASG affects all students at Miami and we believe this goal of transparency is increasingly important.

The Editorial Board was also impressed with Smith’s and Jefferson’s specific focus on creating equitable standards for lower-income students with their plan to have free career clothing available to lend to all students who need it.

The vast majority of the goals set by Smith and Jefferson are clear, coherent, important and actionable. We at The Student believe this ticket showed sincerity and focus with their goals and with the topics they’ve prioritized. 

However, we do have concerns about its loftiest goal: service-based ticket payment. 

Many students have received tickets for illegally parking in various spots on campus. The majority of the Editorial Board have received parking tickets on Miami’s campus. Smith and Jefferson intend to institute a policy in which students can choose not to pay the fine in favor of completing community service to waive the fee.

Whereas the board believes the goal to be both admirable and income-conscious, we are unsure of the feasibility of enacting this program. Using an ASG official to maintain this program means the position changes frequently. That person would also have to work in conjunction with departments that administer tickets, whereas it would be more efficient to start with the overseeing body rather than work out of ASG first.

Overall, however, the Smith/Jefferson ticket has a platform of experience-based, community-focused goals.

We believe that Smith’s and Jefferson’s established connections across the university have  allowed them to carve paths that lead toward the goals they have set out to accomplish.

It is for these reasons that The Student believes Nyah Smith and Jules Jefferson are the best candidates for Student Body President and Vice President, respectively.

The other candidates for the positions, Tiefethaler and Payne, have some similar goals and ideals, but we felt that their paths to accomplishment lacked depth.

Their goals to improve attendance policy across the board and secure funding and resources for graduate degree entry exams were admirable, but more surface level in comparison to some of the top priorities of the Smith/Jefferson ticket.

While nearly a quarter of Miami students will go on to graduate school, the cost of entry exams pales in comparison to the cost of tuition that those students likely had already committed to spending.

Smith and Jefferson took into account the large swath of students who wouldn’t benefit from this program and would struggle to ensure financial stability during their time as undergraduates. 

The Student believes Tiefenthaler and Payne’s platform of “Create the Good” has several actionable goals, including giving composting the running start it needs to become ingrained in our community’s culture and their goal to finalize and implement a campus accessibility map.

However, both of those projects are actionable from outside the positions of SBP and VP.

Both Tiefenthaler and Payne have grounded, long-standing experience in ASG. While this is important when it comes to the ability to manage the roles of SBP and VP, we felt that their platform and presentation resembled a pattern of ASG candidates regularly seen running in these elections.

We believe creating a framework for innovative leadership, new ideas and change are important when it comes to student leadership positions, and that is exactly what Smith and Jefferson are offering with their platform.

The Student’s Editorial Board unanimously voted to endorse Nyah Smith and Jules Jefferson for SBP and VP because they represent the change Miami needs to its cultural and institutional mindsets.

They represent the need for transparency and the acknowledgment of diverse backgrounds and needs.

Regardless of the outcome, it is the student body’s solemn duty and responsibility to vote for the candidates each individual feels best represents their views.

The Student will cover the future of ASG and whoever is elected with grace and importance.

The SBP and VP will represent our student body for the next year and will affect us all with the decisions they will make and the priorities they choose.

Vote for the candidates with whom you most agree. But, most importantly of all:

Make sure you vote.

Voting will begin on the Hub starting this Monday, March 13 at 7 a.m. and will close Wednesday, March 15 at 7 p.m.