Editorial: No platform, no problem - Williams/Snipes '08

While Jordan Paul would probably be a good president, Phyllis Williams has the potential to be exceptional.

Paul's platform is comprehensive, but typical - safety, sustainability, efficiency. These are important planks, and there's no doubt that improving upon the Missouri Students Association's efforts in these areas would be a good thing.

Paul served as Director of the Department of Student Services for the past year and a half, where safety's been his main focus, and he's served the position well. Notably, he organized the first Greektown Safety Walk, a definite accomplishment for MSA. Paul would do the job, and he'd do it well, and he'd do it traditionally.

Williams, on the other hand, has no platform. At first glance we thought this showed a lack of commitment to forming and executing concrete plans. With time we learned that Williams does, in a way, have a platform: Her platform is solely one of passionate student advocacy. Williams has pledged, if elected, to advocate for students to the administration, and to make sure that students with expertise in the concerns she plans to address have the chance to speak with the administrators that have direct jurisdiction over specific departments.

Williams has also shown competency and dedication to student concerns in the past, exemplified by her work on lowering textbook prices and developing an appropriate student survey about the quality of faculty members. The issues she's worked on are concrete and apply to all students.

Williams has a different approach to the presidency than anyone in our memory, and we think her innovative and communication-based approach will work best. Williams seems to have an approach that will involve all students, regardless of who they are.

On a diverse campus, Paul doesn't have the broad knowledge of dealing with various student groups and can sometimes seem condescending and disrespectful - qualities that makes him a worse candidate than Williams. She gives out her cell phone number to any student that wants it and encourages them to call with ideas - that's the kind of leader we want, because we know they'll listen directly to our needs.

When it comes to vice presidential candidates, both Colleen Hoffmann and Jonathan Snipes have strengths and weaknesses. Hoffmann is conscientious, friendly and accessible, and would have few problems communicating with the different groups and auxiliaries requesting allocations. But though Hoffmann is a finance major, she's had little previous hands-on experience with a large budget, which could prove detrimental when she begins attempting to crunch numbers. Snipes definitely has experience, and as the Legion of Black Collegians treasurer he worked directly with funds, but he isn't as inviting upfront. If elected, Snipes must make sure he is open and willing to hear and consider student concerns, and appears so. He'll have to work with a large number of groups and people, so it's necessary that he's able to be cooperative and polite.

As for Joe Fessehaye and Lindsey Abell, neither has dedicated the time or energy to learning what MSA is all about, what the positions of president or vice president entail or what issues are important to students. Both students seem like they're good leaders for what they're involved in and can relate to the average student, and it's refreshing to see candidates coming from outside MSA. But at no point during the campaign have they showed that they're ready to fill the executive office. Williams/Snipes and Paul/Hoffmann have both done their research, at least.

When it comes down to it, Williams/Snipes is the slate best positioned to serve the student body. Williams seems more in touch with students than Paul. Her knowledge and interest in diversity issues has been reflected in her past activities and her actions and comments during the entire campaign. We are confident that Williams will be a voice for all students and will fairly and passionately advocate and work for the various interests and goals of the diverse body of students she could soon represent.


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