Hilltop Views not endorsing Student Government candidates; VP, senate picks concerning



Every week the editorial board reflects on a current issue in Our View. The position taken does not reflect the opinions of everyone on the Hilltop Views staff. This week the editorial board is Print Editor-in-Chief Jacob Sanchez, and Viewpoints editors Gabrielle Wilkosz and Eleanor Fishbourne

The Student Government Association (SGA) elections are in full swing right now, and the only competitive race is the race for president and vice president.

The editorial board at Hilltop Views has decided not to endorse any candidate for president or vice president of SGA. We feel that Jamie Cardenas, SGA senator, and Anna Lopez, Big Event director, are both qualified to be president, but both of their picks for vice president are concerning.

Cardenas tapped Sen. Carlos Martinez for her veep and Lopez picked Sen. Ben Griffith.

What’s so concerning about Martinez and Griffith were their decisions to abolish SGA’s accountability code in February. The accountability code was the only way the student government ensured that senators were doing their jobs and following the codes of SGA.

The editorial board thought this move was problematic when it occurred, especially because of the fact that eight senators failed their accountability tests last semester.

Griffith sponsored the bill that abolished the accountability code and Martinez voted for it.

Now, the decision to abolish the accountability code puts Cardenas and Martinez at odds. Cardenas voted against it because she felt that the Senate was blindly accepting something.

Lopez, on the other hand, was not a senator and could not vote for or against the bill. However, Hilltop Views asked her how she would have voted and Lopez said she would have abstained.

SGA has yet to replace the accountability code.

Cardenas and Lopez both seem to know the importance of accountability and knowing how important it is to have a replacement for a code upon abolishing it.

Martinez and Griffith are qualified to be vice president, but it just does not sit well knowing that they would throw out a code meant to keep them accountable to students so haphazardly without a full replacement.

Senate races

The 11 people who are running for the senate will be senators next year. They are not being elected, they are being forced upon students no matter how many votes they receive.

There are winners and losers in elections, but in this case the only losers are students who don’t get the option to pick who they want to see on their senate.

How many of these prospective student representatives are running for the right reasons? How many of these future senators are running because they were pressured to do so? How many are using SGA just to add yet another line to their email signature and resume?

We won’t know because students don’t have any choice but to go with them. This is a huge flaw with SGA, and should be changed before the end of the year so it can be in place when the next elections occur.

Perhaps instead of senators being voted at-large, each school at St. Edward’s should have two senators and students from within that school vote for their senator.

There are five schools at St. Edward’s; two senators from each would give us 10 senators. Add a spot for a graduate student and one for a freshman, and SGA can continue to have 12 seats.

Make the election competitive, let there be a conflict of ideas between candidates, and SGA can become a great organization and a truly representative government students deserve.

On-campus endorsements

All organizations have the right to endorse or not.

One example is Her Campus St. Edward’s, which has endorsed Cardenas and Martinez.

Her Campus is an online magazine that focuses on college women with 308 chapters across the United States.

Her Campus St. Edward’s is run by two students, Alexa Boone and Taylor Duane, according to the site.

Boone and Cardenas are both resident assistants at the Village. This is a conflict of interest because the two work together. This fact needs to be made clear to students, especially because Her Campus operates as a journalistic entity.

To operate in a journalistic way means that all writers and editors should stick to the ethics of journalism. One of those ethics is to be open with your readers and disclose any conflicts of interest that may pop up.

In order to be completely transparent Her Campus should release a statement saying that Cardenas and Boone are familiar with each other, as they live and work in close quarters.

While it is OK to endorse a candidate, do so by being upfront with any conflicts of interest so voters can know and decide for themselves what this endorsement means.

Dream ticket

Hilltop Views is not endorsing any ticket running, but the editorial board wishes it could endorse one ticket: one made of Cardenas and Lopez.

In an ideal student government, Cardenas and Lopez should share responsibilities, creating a co-presidency. Together, their dynamic can wholly focus on serving their constituents as well as keeping self-serving policies out of SGA.

They would lead SGA together and be a polar opposite of what the current SGA administration has done this year.

During a debate hosted by Hilltop Views, candidates were asked about whether current President Jonathan Cruz’s leadership was a success. Lopez offered her thoughts.

“Everyone is a leader, but not everyone is meant to lead,” Lopez said.

Lopez could have taken the same approach that all three other candidates took and just said it was a complicated matter, but she didn’t. It takes leadership and bravery to say that.

An SGA led by Cardenas and Lopez would have been one that made students proud and, perhaps, even brought real meaningful change for students.

If there were a way to write in a ticket for SGA on the ballot, the editorial board would recommend Lopez and Cardenas for president and vice president, respectively.

Without a Lopez-Cardenas led student government, SGA will be more of the same: a do-nothing organization. And that’s a shame.

Disclosure: Alexa Boone is Hilltop Views Print Editor-in-Chief Jacob Sanchez’s resident assistant at Le Mans Hall.