The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

My quest to learn the musical instrument struck a chord much greater than the beautiful sound of a perfect stroke.
I decided to learn the guitar, but I walked away learning more about life
Bella Edmondson, Staff Editor • June 19, 2024

Editorial Board endorses 2013 Student Body Officers

President: Ramon Trespalacios

The Editorial Board appreciates the increase in competition in the presidential race this year – it is a sign of a healthy, thriving democratic culture on this campus.

After much deliberation and internal debate, we endorse Ramon Trespalacios for Student Body President by a vote of 3-2 over Zane Cavender.

While we had several problems with the vague nature of Trespalacios’ communication, community and citizenship platform – Cavender’s platform is much more specific – we think his extensive network, formal and informal, will help him succeed in his desires to change the problems plaguing the community.

This is what separated him from Anthony McAuliffe as a candidate. While McAuliffe, a Senate insider, would bring a unique perspective to campus, he lacks Tresplacios’ network.

He is a rare case on this campus- a friend to almost every group, organization and community on campus. We strongly believe that a politician’s network – much more than the confines of often hallow Senate resolutions – can create cultural and communal changes on this campus much more than a bureaucratic policy can.

While we did prefer Cavender’s platform, we also agreed that the student body president does much more than just propose and implement policies. The strength of Trespalacios’ informal community network can empower real change at the most basic, foundational elements of the student body in a way that simple policy proposals are unable to. Personal relationships with leaders in all subsets of the community are vital to understanding and solving the crucial issues the next president will have to deal with, and Trespalacios has demonstrated that he will be able to use these relationships to his advantage.

As a resident assistant, student ambassador, member of three schools – Lyle, Dedman and Cox – and Greek organization leader, Trespalacios is the most connected of all presidential candidates.

Michael Graves, a junior, said, “SMU needs a cultural change, and I have full confidence in Ramon to establish a new set of academic and cultural values at this university that will progress us into our second century of educational success.”

Trespalacios has said that we will continue many of current president Alex Mace’s policy goals. Many of Mace’s actions – from the newly launched Lawn Talks to a letter calling the student body to action – strongly resonate with this board.

This editorial board was impressed with Trespalacios’ natural charisma and relatability – characteristics that will serve him well.

Christopher Saul, editorial board member, removed himself from endorsing a candidate in this contest.

Vice President: Savannah Stephens

When we asked the current student body vice president, Zane Cavender, who would make the largest impact, he answered: “Savannah will make the larger impact as student body vice president.” As a board, we agree with this sentiment and unanimously endorse Savannah Stephens for student body vice president.

As the current chief of staff, she brings executive experience to the table. Throughout the year, Stephens has worked closely with Alex Mace and other student body officers to tackle issues that SMU is facing – communal and cultural. It is this executive insight that will serve her well as student body vice president.

Throughout this election cycle, candidates have used buzz words like “community,” “culture,” and “communication” to describe their platforms. Stephens brings a concise platform – with an even more specific mechanism – to the table. Her expertise is finance.

Whether it is through her Change for Change campaign which seeks to increase student participation and investment in student funding or her plan to create greater community through enhanced funding for organizations, finance is the fuel that could reignite SMU. For years, organizational numbers have grown but organizational finances have not kept up. Her experience on Senate finance committee gives her the technical expertise to push her platform through.

This editorial board agrees with Stephens’ concern over a few of Jaywin’s Malhi’s agenda points, including Malhi’s goal to reform finance committee. Under his stated position, members of finance committee would have to publicly state why they voted against certain funding proposals. We appreciate the call for greater transparency, but such high levels of personal scrutiny will be problematic. If a student cannot speak her mind about a certain organization’s budget proposal because of fear of being singled out, it will not only limit discourse but also result in poor budgetary decisions; after all, organizations are competing for scarce resources. We agree that reform is necessary, but Malhi’s platform position is alarming.

We also found Malhi to be too politician-esque at times. He has touted himself as a staunch supporter of the Greek community but also participated in a rally that criticized that very same community.

There is no doubt that Malhi is a visionary. Two presidential candidates told us that he would make a better president than vice president. This board feels strongly about our pick for Stephens who, in our opinion, has a stronger platform and higher leadership potential.

Rahfin Faruk, the editor in chief, removed himself from endorsing a candidate in this contest.

Secretary: Lila Friedlander

For Student Body Secretary, we unanimously endorse Lila Friedlander over incumbent Katherine Ladner. Friedlander’s fresh ideas and expressed concerns over Ladner’s performance in the last year were at the top of our considerations.

Friedlander pointed out that Ladner’s primary accomplishment – office hours for senators – had not been particularly successful. Friedlander also had a strong sense of civic engagement that we found very impressive. She ran for city council before graduating from high school and won 39 percent of the vote.

The Student Senate leadership could use fresh energy and ideas, and we feel Friedlander would provide a new point of view that should be welcomed by those seeking a difference in the community. 

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