The Daily Texan Editorial Board’s Student Government endorsements

Editor’s note: The editorial board sent questionnaires to Student Government Executive Alliance candidates and those seeking positions as University-wide representatives. Their answers were reviewed blindly, and endorsement decisions were derived solely from candidates’ written responses. Those candidates that did not provide responses were not considered for endorsement. Endorsement decisions were made without regard to the number of open positions. We have explained our selections for endorsement as follows.

Ali Raza’s commitment to social justice and campus climate is timely following last semester’s tense relations between various student groups. 

Caroline Carter’s plans to work with the athletics department to enrich the student experience at athletic events and to actively encourage student involvement in philanthropic organizations demonstrates an interest in enhancing students’ extracurricular experiences.

Kenton Wilson’s focus on student safety calls attention to the after-hours safety and convenience of students who commute to campus, in addition to those who already benefit from SG’s SUREWalk program.

Mauricio De Leon has been involved in Invest in Texas, the student-led lobbying group that advocates on behalf of UT students at the state Capitol. We believe his experience will provide a useful perspective as relations between the Tower and the Capitol become increasingly important and volatile. 

Robert Svoboda’s goals to increase interaction between student groups by increasing participation in campuswide service events and expanding opportunities for non-traditional and transfer students show a commitment to improving campus culture.

Taylor Strickland’s interest in reducing bureaucracy for student organizations and improving their access to publicity resources will be helpful for students involved in clubs and groups across campus.

The Daily Texan endorses Horacio Villarreal and Ugeo Williams for student body president and vice president. Their responses to our questionnaire reveal a complete and thoughtful understanding of the big issues facing UT-Austin: the current legislative session and funding the University will or will not receive from the state, the related power struggle between the UT president and the UT System Board of Regents, and the outcome of the Fisher v. University of Texas case currently being decided at the U.S. Supreme Court.

At a time when the powers shaping UT’s future — the Legislature, the University’s president and the Board of Regents — are discordant with one another, the organized voice of UT students should be heard loudly. While Student Government presidents and vice presidents hold office for one year only, they can focus on big ideas and impact the University’s long-term future. Based on their responses, Horacio and Ugeo intend to do this.

They list raising the academic success of UT students as their highest priority if elected. They commit to implementing a mentoring system in which incoming UT undergraduates will be paired with upperclassmen, and they plan to implement upper-division tutoring at the Sanger Learning Center so that students have access to help with intensive writing classes and advanced physics. They support domestic partner benefits at UT and do not wish to expand access to concealed handguns to non-public streets or classrooms. They took a middle-ground stance on President Powers’ “Smarter Systems for a Greater UT” report, neither opposing it nor entirely supporting it. They agree that raising the efficiency of many services at UT can save and create revenue, but would like to see the methodology the committee used to come up with their numbers.