Editorial: The Maneater Editorial Board chooses not to endorse an MSA presidential slate

Both slates showed a lack of preparation and naiveté in the debates leading up to the election.

The Maneater Editorial Board has decided to refrain from endorsing a slate for the 2018 Missouri Students Association presidential election. Both slates showed a lack of preparation for their prospective campaigns. A degree of naiveté was present from both slates in the debates and in their platforms. In our opinion, there is no clear winner, and we are dissatisfied with the lack of initiative we’ve seen so far from the four candidates.

We found it concerning that neither slate included plans to address sexual assault on campus. When asked about this in the second debate, “More to Roar” presidential candidate Julia Wopata said she hadn’t reached out to the RSVP Center until after her platform had been written. “Mizzou for You” presidential candidate Robert Schmidt said sexual assault “probably should be” included in his platform.

“I guess that was an oversight,” Schmidt said. “I think that certainly safety is a very important thing on this campus.”

Neither platform commented on race relations on campus. MU is still healing and coping with racial struggles after the fall 2015 protests. More recently, international students were harassed near campus by members of the community. It is unfortunate that both platforms lack any sort of concrete plan to address these issues. The Wopata platform did mention that “diverse racial backgrounds and cultural minority groups is essential to forming a positive connection with students of those identities.” The slate did not go into further detail besides expressing an interest in working with the Legion of Black Collegians. However, we feel it is naive to assume that LBC is the only organization on campus advocating for black students.

Furthermore, we found it equally alarming that there was no mention of the LGBTQ community in either platform. When asked about this in the first debate, both candidates admitted this hole in their platforms and vowed to communicate with the community.

Both slates continually used vague statements to describe their future policies and actions. Wopata said she would communicate with MU organizations as MSA president to bridge the gaps between organizations. Schmidt said he is “a quick learner” and will understand the roles of his job should he be elected MSA president. It seems as if Schmidt entered the election without formally educating himself on the roles of MSA president and the functions of student government. It is noteworthy that Connor McAteer, “Moar to Roar” vice presidential candidate, served as an MSA senator, but that is the only MSA experience present in the slates.

We acknowledge the circumstances surrounding this election have been unconventional. However, both slates did have spring break to begin campaigning and chose to wait until halfway through the following week. MSA’s executive branch should be ready to put in the work necessary to fully understand the involved roles they wish to undertake, but each slate’s lack of preparation points toward greater insufficiencies that should be taken into consideration.

The election will be held April 16-18.

Read more about both slates from their campaign websites: moretoroar.com and schmidtkahveciformsa.org.

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