Today I had the displeasure of reading The Daily Texan Editorial Board’s lack of endorsement in this year’s SG Presidential election. Upon completing the article I have really only the same feelings I have always held about The Texan’s coverage of SG — you all just got it so incredibly wrong.
The Daily Texan, year after year, interjects their ideas about what SG ought to be without any understanding of how the organization actually functions. The framework by which reporters and the E-Board examine the organization is flawed and is solely shaped by whatever qualities happen to hold importance to them rather than a tangible understanding of the institution or players involved.
To say one alliance stood on opposite sides of a podium during a debate and frame it as a bad thing is ludicrous when just a week earlier you called for diversity. To espouse the idea that framing SG around specific religious ideals would be a good thing is absolutely astounding. To vilify people for rules violations and spend several articles with exclusive coverage of those violations undermines the intense amount of play you gave to the idea that such violations didn’t really matter last year.
I don’t think your coverage of any of the alliances was equitable — not even at all. Failing to endorse a candidate because they weren’t exactly the things The Editorial Board liked in this year’s president only serves one end — that the entity with the largest endorsement reach has unequivocally done a disservice to students.
Student Government should be a space where students can feel advocated for — I will be the first to say I think Kevin has done a wonderful job on that front. However, it’s also a place where thought out ideas can come to tangible solutions. It’s a vehicle to take things straight to desks of Texas Legislators and register students to vote. It’s why the SAC stands, and it’s why we have an E-Bus. It’s how students get a word with the Dean of Students or President Fenves, and it’s how service opportunities get expanded. When someone votes in an SG election, they are choosing who among their peers has the demeanor, ideas and good character to speak on their behalf at the highest levels.
I suppose I get it — the election is short and sometimes it can be difficult to unpack platforms and people. However, I feel that this morning’s piece indicated one clear thing — Texan Staff, you have not done your job of providing the university community with an equitable and reasonable judgement of the candidates before you. By failing to endorse you are further corroding the already coarse relationship SG has with the student body — one the you have undoubtedly exacerbated with your coverage. By injecting your own beliefs into what SG ought be without what seems to me to be any firm context, you are undermining the very meaningful and powerful tool that it is. You have three choices, all from the top rungs of reputable organizations, students with impressive histories of advocacy on dozens of fronts, all of whom stood before you and allowed you to cast your judgement to which you responded with the persistent mythos that SG isn’t a worthy cause. The reality is that one of the current prospective alliances will win, and after receiving more access to candidates than any other group on campus (via the debate and questionnaire), you left hundreds of students who look to you for guidance irresponsibly unanswered.
Perhaps, if The Editorial Board has such strong convictions about what the office ought to be, you should just try to run yourself — I’d be happy to provide coverage.
Dimitroff is a BA '16 in government and history. She is a former SG presidential candidate served in the SG assembly for three years.