University-wide representative candidates offer new visions

Editor’s Note: There are eight University-wide representative positions, for which 19 candidates are running. We sent them a detailed candidate questionnaire to inform ourselves on a host of policy and administrative questions, and selected the best of the respondents to endorse. We do not endorse for SG positions particular to a single college, because our editorial board does not contain members from each school, keeping us from assessing how to best represent the particular interests their students face.

Strong Endorsement: Charlie Bonner

We strongly endorse Charlie Bonner. Bonner held a clinic on political advocacy on campus several weeks ago, and should know how to most effectively use his position to represent students. He understands the trade-offs that would be necessary to fund the UT Counseling and Mental Health Center for the sake of students’ well-being rather than funding one-off budget items like a cafe near Gregory pool. He smartly advocates for increasing awareness about existing resources, and makes a valid point about working on a local level with non-profits and Austin Police Department when national politics fails us. 

Strong Endorsement: Chloe Harfield

We strongly endorse Chloe Harfield for her strong grasp of the issues that SG can realistically tackle. She advocates for joining forces, rather than duplicating efforts, to end sexual assault by collaborating with Voices Against Violence. She also knows how RAs can educate freshmen students about consent. And when national politics turn against undocumented students, we’re confident Harfield will seek legal representation for her fellow undocumented students. Also, we appreciate her candor about being bravely honest about her shortcomings and the underrepresented students that she needs to reach out to more.

Endorsement: Anthony Matthews

We endorse Anthony Matthews. He clearly understands the needs of students, from funding mental health services to bolstering campus streetlights. In regards to undocumented students, Matthews understands how to protect them by working with local authorities so they can continue their education at UT. Notably, he also acknowledges the role of alcohol in sexual assaults and the importance of making sure students stay safe without blaming survivors. We would want to see more tangible suggestions about these positions, but believe his grounding should make him an effective advocate and his business experience shows dedication to a cause.

Endorsement with Reservations: Alexis Allen

We endorse Alexis Allen with reservations. Her good idea to shorten commitment time in Student Government by making sure students with busier schedules have a chance to get involved in SG if they so want to. However, she advocated for punishing hate speech, which is an unrealistic stance because it doesn’t distinguish between hate speech and a hate crime, which would put UT in legal trouble if implemented. But we consider this more forgivable for representatives who do not have direct power over this policy, and believe her experiences would make her an effective advocate for students who do not normally have their voices and concerns heard in the assembly.