Our View: Exec candidate pool small but strong

CW Editorial Board

Alexandra Sample for executive secretary

Position: Keep track of SGA office hours, keep and publicize records of what the SGA does

Main Points:

  • Establish more scholarships for students by creating an SGA alumni database
  • Create a weekly newsletter and track metrics
  • Adjust the SGA application process to include on-campus interviews

Our View: Sample is an experienced candidate with concrete, well-developed plans, but she failed to address issues of diversity and inclusion within SGA and on campus.

Alexandra Sample is the current acting executive secretary of the SGA, which, combined with her experience in executive communications and engagement positions, makes her an appropriate and qualified candidate for this position. Sample acknowledged affordability as an increasingly pressing issue on campus, which is something the CW Editorial Board hopes to see her tackle. However, the solution she proposed – SGA alumni scholarships – may be limiting for students whose families were barred from attending the University or becoming involved in student government in years past. Overall, Sample seems to have the drive to take this position beyond its constitutional requirements, but she must consider the implications of rewarding experiences that have disproportionately belonged to white and Greek-affiliated students.

Jason Rothfarb for vice president of student affairs

Position: Handle issues related to students and improving their experience at the University

Main Points:

  • Expand current SGA health and food security initiatives
  • Implement active shooter and self-defense training
  • Create a system to allow students to reserve parking spots

Our View: Rothfarb has the experience required of his position and seems capable of providing our campus with more than he has proposed.

Jason Rothfarb has what it takes to create more opportunities for students in need, but his goals could be loftier. During his tenure as an SGA senator, Rothfarb has passed several pieces of legislation involving student affairs. He has also been instrumental in helping the current vice president of Student Affairs with initiatives such as the revised block seating system. The Editorial Board believes his plans to create a town hall session, expand the food pantry and reward academic achievement with local restaurant discounts are important and achievable, and we encourage him to take those goals to new heights in the upcoming term.

Brooks Payne for vice president of external affairs

Position: Connect the University with the larger Tuscaloosa and Alabama community and communicate on the University’s behalf

Main Points:

  • Enhance safety by adding more lighting to the Quad and the Strip
  • Expand ACT card use to more off-campus businesses
  • Establish forums with local police force to improve relationships

Our View: Payne should find more effective ways of preventing crime on and off campus.

Brooks Payne is an energetic candidate who will excel as the new VPEA if he refocuses his approach to student safety. In addition to creating stronger relationships with police and promoting the services offered by the SAFE Center, Payne’s platform includes adding more street lighting, as well as blue lights, on and off campus. The Editorial Board contends that blue lights are not the most effective way of helping students who may be the victims of crimes, and we strongly suggest Payne look into more viable methods of preventing assault on campus. To make a change in this position, specifically under a platform that stresses safety, Payne must consider all the ways in which the University can protect students, including those who have been sexually harassed or assaulted.

Allison Bailey for vice president of academic affairs

Position: Advocate for policies and programs that will help UA students succeed academically

Main Points:

  • Expand the SGA SAFE Center committee
  • Create more study abroad scholarships
  • Expand partnership with RISE to include annual 5K

Our View: Bailey’s commitment to a sexual assault-free campus is commendable, but she can do more to promote diversity within academic affairs.

Allison Bailey was instrumental in creating the SGA SAFE Center Committee that she plans to expand, and the Editorial Board supports and encourages Bailey in making this campus a safer place for all students. However, there are some areas of campus that Bailey seemed to neglect. While she noted the financial barriers that some domestic students face when studying abroad, Bailey failed to acknowledge struggles pertaining to international students and other students from diverse backgrounds on campus. The Editorial Board believes Bailey’s commitment to an assault-free campus is critical and commendable, and we hope she can bring that same energy to promoting diversity and inclusion in academic policies.

Hunter Scott for vice president of financial affairs

Position: Control the SGA budget and allocate funds to student organizations and SGA branches

Main Points:

  • Simplify funding for student organizations
  • Support the SGA scholarship funds
  • Foster student financial literacy

Our View: Scott has solid plans to revitalize the financial affairs committee, but lacks energy and strong commitment.

The Editorial Board will not endorse Hunter Scott for VPFA, the only non-presidential seat that is being contested. Scott’s platform was well-researched, and he has the experience and connections required to achieve his goals. While he expressed a commitment to bring SGA “to the students,” however, Scott lacked energy and ambition, seeming as though he did not care to effectively campaign or expound on his ideas. The Editorial Board believes that, while his objectives look good on paper, Scott’s half-hearted efforts shown thus far make him the second best candidate to put them into action.

Clay Martinson for executive vice president

Position: Oversee First Year Council and preside over Senate until a speaker is elected

Main Points:

  • Establish Supe Store rewards program and supply free resources for graduate entrance tests
  • Establish a mental health task force and alleviate counseling costs
  • Promote historical research to work toward a progressive future

Our View: Martinson is the most accomplished and qualified of all of the SGA executive candidate positions.

The Editorial Board has no doubt Clay Martinson will excel as the executive vice president. His platform points are thorough, well-researched, diverse, and have the potential to impact many areas of campus. As the vice president of Student Affairs, Martinson was critical in improving students’ experiences in the stands, and he has made significant strides toward a safer, healthier and more affordable campus. The Editorial Board believes Martinson’s track record will only continue to improve within this new role.

John Martin Weed for vice president of Financial Affairs

Position: Control the SGA budget and allocate funds to student organizations and SGA branches

Main Points:

  • Re-evaluate pay scale and funding priorities
  • Financial transparency
  • Greater value for students

Our View: Weed is qualified and has a progressive plan to change the way that finances are handled within the SGA.

The Editorial Board will endorse John Martin Weed for VPFA, the only non-presidential seat that is being contested. Weed’s platform is innovative and aims to benefit students and promote fairness and transparency within the SGA’s financial affairs. Moreover, Weed is a motivated and enthusiastic candidate who both cares about his role within the SGA and has the skill set to make his goals for the Division of Finance and Operations a reality. He made sound points to back his platform and was confident in facilitating constructive dialogue to bring significant change to the SGA’s Financial Affairs office. His independent nature and confidence in his revolutionary ideas, reminiscent of former SGA Arts and Sciences Senator Mike Smith, gives the CW Editorial Board hope that he will make waves in the organization and break the status quo set by his predecessors. The Editorial Board believes that Weed is the stronger of the two candidates for this position.

Demarcus Joiner for vice president of diversity, equity, and inclusion

Position: Advocate for minority communities on campus by promoting diversity, equity and inclusion on campus

Main Points:

  • Dream: Create innovation competition for students of diverse groups and have SGA fund-winning idea
  • Educate: Start DEI certification program for organizations, run a DEI speaker series and work with student media to write about DEI
  • Implement: Move Intercultural Diversity Center closer to center of campus, give a DEI award to an organization and create a multicultural council

Our View: Joiner is well-qualified for the position of VPDEI and has expansive and specific plans to promote DEI on campus.

Joiner has a clear vision for how he will promote diversity, equity and inclusion on campus, and the Editorial Board supports his initiatives to assist students from diverse backgrounds and to ensure that their voices are heard within the SGA. We also support Joiner’s plan to move the Intercultural Diversity Center to a more centralized location on campus, where it will be more accessible to students. We also commend his commitment to addressing mental illness on campus. Although we do hope that Joiner will develop more enthusiasm for the role once he takes office, we believe he will bring some much-needed change to campus, and that he will excel in his role as VPDEI.