‘Y’all ready?’: Vote Kiara and Ethan

Editor’s note: This endorsement reflects the opinion of The Daily Texan Editorial Board and not the opinions of The Daily Texan staff as a whole.

This Student Government election season has been different from all previous seasons, as candidates have seen their campaign period shortened due to last month’s winter storm and have taken to social media to garner support amid the pandemic.

As The Daily Texan Editorial Board, we are responsible for endorsing one executive alliance each year. Like the boards before us, we assessed candidates based on three main considerations.

First, we evaluated candidates’ performances in the candidate debate on Monday, March 1. Then, we looked at the platform chart, questionnaire and candidate column each alliance submitted to the board. Finally, we conducted a 20-minute interview with each executive alliance to further discuss their goals.

After considering all the candidates, we encourage you to vote for the only executive alliance that seems prepared to take on the responsibilities of student body president and vice president — Kiara Kabbara and Ethan Jones.

Four executive alliances applied to campaign this year: Dwight Peton and Domanique Williams, Gautham Metta and Quenton Stokes, Javier Lopez and Danielle Buffa, and Kiara Kabbara and Ethan Jones.

Dwight and Domanique

Dwight and Domanique emphasized the importance of transparency and reestablishing trust in SG, but we found their platform points too vague to evaluate their feasibility.

For example, they want to lobby for more affordable housing in West Campus, despite the vast majority of West Campus properties being owned by private companies and not UT. This means the companies are less susceptible to pressure from SG.

We’re not sure this plan is any more feasible than Anagha and Winston’s a year ago, which hasn’t led to any substantial legislation or change since their election.

During the interview, Dwight and Domanique also informed us that their website and official platform points will be published in full this weekend, just days before voting occurs. While we understand the winter storm delayed the campaign period, students need more time to review candidates’ platforms to make an informed decision.

Gautham and Quenton

While we appreciate Gautham and Quenton’s plans to increase transparency within SG by hosting town halls and publishing monthly newsletters, their inexperience in campus advocacy work is apparent. There are several platform points, including one that would subsidize ticket costs for students to attend tours around Austin, that would be a poor use of SG’s time and budget.

Additionally, their sexual assault coaliton platform point, which would involve “get(ting) (survivors’) stories in front of students,” demonstrates a lack of familiarity with how sexual assault prevention advocacy actually works and the importance of avoiding retraumatizing survivors.

Javier and Danielle

While Javier and Danielle present admirable goals and importantly note in their campaign economic waste within SG, it takes more than just extensive research to implement SG policy.

When we asked them questions about logistics and funding, including their goals to create a nonbinary gender marker option for students and increase SG’s appropriations budget, they were unable to provide answers specific enough to convince us they knew how to get these initiatives accomplished if elected.

Kiara and Ethan

After meeting with each executive alliance individually, it became clear to us that one alliance had done more to prepare for their campaign than others. Kiara and Ethan didn’t just conduct research — they reached out to activists, community leaders and students before building their platform to ensure they took the gathered input into account.

Kiara and Ethan’s platform details both new initiatives, such as partnering with historically Black colleges and universities and providing students transportation to H-E-B through SURE Walk, and plans to expand on current ones, such as interpersonal violence prevention efforts and working with disability advocacy organizations on campus.

It’s impossible to overlook Kiara and Ethan’s large number of platform points. Realistically, we know they won’t be able to accomplish every goal, but we admire their optimism and enthusiasm when the past year has contained little.

After evaluating all four executive alliances, we believe Kiara and Ethan are in the best position to get the most done next year. We hope you’ll join us in voting for them online from midnight Monday, March 8 until 5 p.m. on Tuesday, March 9 at utexasvote.org.