Rambler endorses Fant for SGA president
March 28, 2012 Leave a comment
As the editorial board of Transylvania’s student newspaper, we are charged with providing the campus with both factual information and well-thought-out opinions on issues affecting our community. This is the role of every good newspaper. With this in mind, we welcomed all three candidates for Student Government Association president into our office to discuss their platforms and their vision for Transy’s campus. After meeting with all three candidates and discussing it within our editorial board, we are proud to endorse junior Charli Fant.
While each candidate had an impressive résumé, good relationships with administration and unique perspectives on the SGA president’s role, Fant is the candidate furthest from the status quo and will bring about effective change to improve the foundation of SGA and, by extension, the campus itself.
Fant offers several strengths with her candidacy, including a plan for transparency and accountability in the functions of SGA, ideas to reform the organization from the ground up and sincere plans to ensure an inclusive atmosphere for all students. These will ensure not only a great tenure for Fant but the establishment of an efficient and representative organization for years to come.
At its core, SGA is a student organization built to serve the student body in a multitude of ways. Its very purpose necessitates open and transparent actions at all levels. Fant proposed that under her leadership, specific details of funding requests and SGA’s budget, including how much it spends on itself, would be published, a radically new policy that neither of her opponents has shown concern with.
All three candidates were asked about the closed nature of meetings of the Executive Council, which includes the president, vice president, secretary and treasurer, as well as several committee chairs and liaisons. All three candidates offered differing responses to the question.
Fant’s response illustrated a practical mindset that balances efficiency with transparency; junior Andrew Goff proposed only a transcript of meetings, which would remain closed to everyone outside of EC; and junior Hannah Johnson would open all meetings to the campus at large.
Fant took a moderate approach by suggesting opening up EC meetings to the public once a month. This keeps the efficiency of EC intact, while adding a level of transparency that has not existed up to this date.
Fant said SGA is “ready for an overhaul,” an overhaul that focuses on a shift toward an organization that embodies a philosophy of facilitation through all student groups rather than an organization that inefficiently attempts to be the dominant force on campus. Fant expressed an interest in SGA empowering other student organizations by increasing their funding possibilities and encouraging their own capacities to enact change.
To increase these funding possibilities, Fant, who previously served as SGA treasurer, would cut SGA spending on its own members, which she said is at a level much too high. Fant would “get rid of the cheese cubes” and instead welcome thoughtful initiatives outside of weekly senate meetings.
Fant also expressed her desire to offer students additional funding in two ways: first, by offering organizations a startup fund twice its current amount, and second, by altering SGA’s constitution to allow travel funding for all requestors, a benefit currently available to designated service organizations.
Fant’s willingness to examine the foundation of SGA as a whole is an indicator of her willingness to examine all aspects of life at Transy to improve the quality of living for all students on campus. However, she wishes to do so in a thoughtful and proactive way.
For example, the bill already passed by SGA to drastically change the visitation policy on campus is undergoing re-examination, a process Fant said could potentially have been avoided by slowing down the process and providing the community at large with chances to voice their opinions.
A policy that Fant mentioned she would like to look at more closely is the current alcohol policy, which has recently been revised. Fant, a current resident adviser, asserted that addressing alcohol usage does not necessarily address drunkenness, which is the main concern of campus safety. She advocates a careful and thoughtful revision process that takes different aspects of campus life into account.
Fant is the unique candidate, the candidate who represents the essence of Transy but not the essence of SGA. While in the past it seems that SGA has been concerned with its own image and function, Fant will instead spearhead a movement to make SGA an instrument to empower and encourage other campus organizations and individuals to become forces of change on their own.
The Rambler Editorial Board consists of Editor-in-Chief Erin Brock, Managing Editor Jake Hawkins and Opinion Editor Lyman Stone. None of these individuals will be involved in reporting election results or election processes.