November has rolled around, and with it the beginning of a new Undergraduate Council election season, soon to be filled with a litany of campaign speeches, flyers, and promises by candidates across campus. In view of the unfulfilled promises of previous UC presidential and vice presidential candidates, we hope that this vote will bring new and relatively more substantive actions.
The last few years have not given us much hope and trust in the UC’s campaign promises. We have been skeptical of lofty proposals and schemes that sound great on a flyer but which have not resulted in concrete progress, let alone deliverables for the student body. We therefore have no reason to believe that the next iteration of UC candidates will be any more likely to achieve the goals they set if those goals remain big, abstract promises.
For this reason, we believe the candidates should not focus on grand schemes, but instead only make promises if they are certain they will be able to fulfill them with concrete plans of action. We also hope they focus on the ways in which they can best exercise their influence, namely in their role as representatives of the student body.
As we have opined in the past, however, accountability and engagement are a two way road. The student body has largely been apathetic in its dealings with the UC, with stories of whole Houses not voting at all. It is the duty of the student body to vote in all UC elections and become engaged with their representatives and their policies throughout the year. After a national election cycle in which citizens were criticized for being apathetic and uninformed, we should be critical of the fact that our own campus has acted similarly.
Likewise, we believe that all UC leaders should stay engaged with all areas of student life, regardless of whether or not they are in the UC’s “traditional” realm of scope. The UC president and vice president, specifically, should stay engaged with issues beyond those that affect them personally.
This is not to say that the current UC leadership, one of whom is a member of a final club, has not focused on other issues—far from it. But the issue of the sanctions has had outsize importance in considerations of the UC’s role as representatives of the student body.
We encourage future UC leaders to consider these as major responsibilities of their office. This should matter both during the campaign season and during their tenure. After all, they have a mandate to serve as a mediator between the administration, faculty, and student body. As a result, it is important that UC presidential tickets have prior experience in the body, as they are likeliest to know how the Council’s system of governance and student-administration relations work.
We hope all candidates are willing to discuss the issues at hand and work to truly effect change for the College’s student body. To that end, it is important that the UC has a substantive, didactic, and constructive campaign season this year.
This staff editorial solely represents the majority view of The Crimson Editorial Board. It is the product of discussions at regular Editorial Board meetings. In order to ensure the impartiality of our journalism, Crimson editors who choose to opine and vote at these meetings are not involved in the reporting of articles on similar topics.
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Catherine L. Zhang ’19 and Nicholas D. Boucher ’19