Our View: For president, no one stands out

Our View

In short: Neither candidate has a clear advantage over the other, yet the differences between them are distinct.

James Fowler and Matthew Brown are vastly different candidates. Fowler has spent significant time in the SGA, both in the Senate and as an executive, and Brown has never been elected to an SGA position. Brown has a record of serving students in many different ways, while Fowler has been entangled in petty politics and questionable ethics.

The candidates, while tremendously different, each have their own assets and their own issues. Neither one stands out as the better choice.

James Fowler has many plans for the University, which include hosting a debate between gubernatorial candidates in September, expanding the various jogging paths on and around campus and creating a program to provide students with an on-demand laundry and dry cleaning pickup and delivery service. He also has a plan to create a Web site to consolidate information on job openings on and off campus, making it much easier for students to find jobs around Tuscaloosa.

Fowler’s plans and experience as vice president for external affairs do not erase concerns about transparency. While Fowler has plans to improve the openness and honesty of the SGA by means such as putting the budget on the Web site, these proposals are just proposals. Promises to make the budget and other SGA documents and policies public have been made in countless past elections, and nobody has fulfilled them.

Fowler speaks convincingly of his commitment to transparency, but the infamous Pasadena, Calif., trip mars his record. Fowler was one of the SGA leaders who traveled to California for a community service event using SGA funds, which many described as a violation of SGA rules. In light of the Pasadena incident, a Fowler-run SGA would have a lot of work to do to prove its devotion to honesty.

Matthew Brown does not have the extensive resume of SGA service that Fowler does, but he does have a history of involvement in a number of areas of campus life. From Creative Campus to the Blackburn Institute to his position as community service coordinator, Brown has seen the lives of students through many different lenses. He plans to bring this interest in diversity to the SGA if elected, and said he wants to make sure the SGA listens to every student on campus, not just a select group. Brown also promises to create a new “green” scholarship initiative, which would take savings from new environmentally friendly programs and use that funding to fund scholarships. Another proposal would increase funding for University Programs.

Brown suffers not only from his inexperience, but also from his lack of preparation on some issues. He does not have a clear and readily-available plan to address issues related to football tickets, like ticket distribution and block seating. With the expansion of Bryant-Denny Stadium and this campus’ interest in football, a plan is a must.

The candidates are very different, but they are similar in one way: We cannot give our unqualified support to either.

Editor Amanda Peterson recused herself from this editorial.