Peterson for president, with some conditions
This year’s Student Government Association (SGA) election for student body president requires a more strenuous decision-making process than recent years, with four opponents fighting for the single seat. Although The Review does not unconditionally espouse the platform of any one candidate, one is more fit to serve than the rest.
Following Matt Rojas’s blunder of a presidency, SGA has not served as an adequate mouthpiece for the concerns of the student body and, more specifically, the minority student voices who are too often silenced by the administration. It became clear that students need to be more conscientious with their votes, and this year’s student body president, Natalie Criscenzo, made good on those votes throughout her active and relatively productive term. In other words, SGA is slowly regaining its respectability.
With the hope that Criscenzo’s precedent will have a lasting impact, The Review endorses candidate Kevin Peterson, who served as executive vice president alongside Criscenzo , for the 2018 SGA presidential election. It is The Review’s hope that he will amplify diverse student voices and follow through on campaign promises, particularly those regarding increased mental health resources and disability services on campus, among other things.
To be clear: The Review does not endorse the nauseating Blue Party video propaganda, nor do we speak to the other Blue Party candidates and we are not endorsing the Corgi (although we might if we could).
The Review approached this endorsement as a sort of process of elimination, as we did not find that any candidate fully represented all of the current needs of the student body. Nicholas Makos brings few substantive plans to the race, and his language of running SGA like a “business” elicits eerily Trumpian images. Shane Dorsey, although better at articulating his vision — he believes in more SGA transparency and hopes to expand the blue light system — lacks the experience and critical edge required of the position. The blue light system, for instance, is demonstrably ineffective, and expansion is not the solution.
Grace Pedersen, on the other hand, brings the experience, vision and composure that the position requires, and her diligence with promoting sustainability projects on campus is admirable. Through such projects, Pedersen has dealt firsthand with the difficulties of the administration, and her past experience on SGA most certainly qualifies her for the position. Her interest in reviving the Climate Action Plan is promising, and her dedication to pedestrian safety ought to be reassuring to all students.
Ultimately, however, Peterson’s experience with SGA and throughout the university community — involved with SGA’s internal improvements this year as a cabinet member, serving as a voting representative on the Faculty Senate and actively representing students in the non-discrimination policy and multicultural center debates ― gives him the edge.
Although at times hasty in his public judgements and by no means the perfect candidate, Peterson gives a damn. He has the fire and dedication to confront the administration head-on and represent students at this critical moment, as the university barrels forward with a new college, student expansion, Science, Technology and Advanced Research (STAR) Campus development and the Delaware First campaign.
Ultimately, Peterson is in a position to carry the torch of his predecessor, Criscenzo, who made strides in remedying Rojas’ missteps and set a proper model for how a president should conduct themselves and treat the position going forward. But carrying the torch does not mean emulating the past, and Peterson has an obligation to take the next steps that Criscenzo didn’t, often wrapped up with the technical nightmare that she inherited. The bar, in other words, is that much higher.
It is imperative that the student body participates in campus democracy and votes for their preferred candidate in the upcoming SGA presidential election. Partaking in this process is one of the most productive ways that students can get involved and have their voices be elevated. By casting a vote for Peterson, The Review believes that the student body will be better represented among administrators who often ignore the desires of the students they are paid to protect and listen to. But that’s just our opinion. Get out and vote, exercise your voice on campus and choose the candidate who is the best fit for the student body.
Due to a personal relationship with candidate Nicholas Makos, Executive Editor Mike Henretty recused himself from the writing of this endorsement. Additionally, two other Review staffers, Ross Doty and Jacob Wasserman, are members of SGA and were not involved in drafting the editorial.