OUR VIEW: Re-elect Lillian Roth for SGA president

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Lillian Roth is the incumbent Student Government Association President.

CW Editorial Board

We did not endorse Lillian Roth for SGA President last year. We were concerned with her lack of experience; her answer to the Machine question was even worse than normal for a backed candidate. Still, a lot can change in a year, and while this editorial board is not completely satisfied with her administration’s performance over the last year, we are firmly of the opinion that she is the best candidate of the three to lead the Student Government Association in the coming year.

Jared Hunter’s platform is the least compelling of the candidates for president this year. He presents no clear plans except to pressure athletics to allow refills on stadium cups and expand the student section. When asked why so few restaurants off campus currently take dining dollars, he failed to demonstrate a working knowledge of how currency works in a market economy. His idea for a new app, similar to Rave Guardian but tailored specifically for Alabama students, is fundamentally solid, but he could not answer the question of whether the University would be violating a contract with Rave Guardian in producing this new app. In spite of this, we are convinced that he is legitimately passionate about this campus and its students; nothing about Jared’s interview leads any of us to believe that allegations against his character are fair, including his missteps on his campaign.

Gene Fulmer had perhaps the most distinct platform of the three candidates, and was prepared to discuss its planks in detail, but was fundamentally unable to answer questions not directly related to something he had written down. His plan for a “Break Zone” in the Ferguson Center is both achievable and beneficial; the only question is whether it would take away valuable meeting room space, which he acknowledged. His replacement for the President’s Council is preferable to Lillian’s current institution, not least because it does not depend on a competent or caring SGA president to continue to function. In spite of his platform, this board had to consider the fact that Gene only authored two pieces of legislation this entire year. His vote against legislation that would have removed gendered language from the SGA Code of Laws, which he claims was due to the removal of any dress code from senate meetings, still calls into question his claim that he is committed to “students serving all students.”

Lillian Roth is far from a perfect candidate. She lied about her Machine backing while running for SGA President last year, and this Board has little reason to believe that she would have done differently this year had she received their nomination. Still, this election is not hypothetical, and we make this endorsement with full knowledge that our next president will confront real challenges facing our ever-changing University. The President’s Council was a creative idea that has been somewhat successful this year, but inviting the nearly 600 presidents of student organizations to one room depends on lack of interest to even be logistically achievable. We are concerned with how many initiatives in SGA this year were reduced to single weeks, and we are skeptical of whether the meetings with administrators Lillian claims are taking place during off weeks are quite that frequent.

Still, we are encouraged by the steps that have been made towards addressing our very real issues, and have seen in her letter calling for an interim Diversity Officer that she is unafraid to stand up to the administration when necessary. That quality will be absolutely essential when advocating for increased mental health funding, which she will need for her proposed expansion of the Counseling Center. The SNAM forgiveness program implemented under her administration was a step in the right direction, and Lillian’s plan to make this program available to current students will likely increase our graduate and professional school acceptance rates. We are concerned that Android and Windows users will be left out of her proposed ACT Card modernization plan with Apple Pay, but digitizing this aspect of student life presents a rare opportunity for our University to be ahead of the curve. Even though we are not fully confident in the feasibility of her meal plan exemption idea, it is likely that she could at least push for expanded options for those with dietary restrictions, which is a step in the right direction.

This board is disappointed that all candidates refused to explicitly endorse making this University a sanctuary campus (see Editor’s Note below), and we are skeptical about each candidate’s concrete steps to prevent sexual assault. Still, when weighing the candidates’ platforms and experience against one another, it is abundantly clear that Lillian Roth has earned a second term. We endorse her for SGA president and urge you to vote for her on Tuesday.

Our View represents the consensus of The Crimson White Editorial Board. Editor-in-Chief Peyton Shepard has recused herself due to coverage of this election cycle.

Editor’s Note: This endorsement was updated to better reflect the nature of the Editorial Board’s concerns regarding all three candidates’ stances on UA as a sanctuary campus. While candidate Gene Fulmer did express his support for UA becoming a sanctuary campus in Sunday’s presidential debate, in his interview with the Editorial Board, Fulmer stated that he did not know what his stance would be in the event that his response were warranted and made a case for either outcome, though he later stated his initial inclination would be to support it. The Crimson White Editorial Board recognizes this distinction and maintains its opinion.