Due to their experience, knowledge of campus issues, goals for the future of the Student Government Association and an unparalleled speaking ability, the Observer has decided to endorse the David Sommers/Jackie Jastrzebski SGA Presidential ticket.
The opposing ticket, junior Peter Siepiora and Danica Gray, who currently serves as the senator representing TLAs, are running as a solution to the streak of Greek students holding the SGA presidency. Siepiora is not Greek. Though non-Greeks technically make up a physical majority on campus, Greeks make up a majority of the leadership positions on campus. We would like to commend Siepiroia for this platform, as his willingness to stand up against this majority is incredibly brave. However, a non-Greek perspective is not enough.
The Siepiora/Gray ticket proposed more open communication between SGA and the student body and clubs it represents, stating that meeting minutes are not available to the public during Monday’s Presidential Debate. While openness and transparency are essential to a governing body or SGA president, SGA meetings are open to the student body. A vast majority of Augustana’s student body simply shows a lack of interest in anything not related to class and alcohol. Instead of focusing on transparency, SGA should use its power to create actual change.
Sommers and Jastrzebski, under the campaign slogan “A Voice for Vikings,” emphasize the college’s need for transparency relating to sexual violence, tuition increases and student accountability.
During the debate, Jastrzebski discussed how the campus has “won battles at Augustana, but (must) keep up the war against sexual assault,” hoping to work with administration and students when the results of the national survey addressing campus climate and safety needs at Augustana are published.
Sommers and Jastrzebski also discussed their hope to hold all students accountable, expanding the current focus on holding Greek Life to such standards. Sommers and Jastrzebski claim they will have campus forums to address issues pertaining to different races, beliefs and cultural practices.
It was unclear who would be leading these discussions. It seems unwise for two white students to take the lead on such a task, being a part of that majority. That being said, Sommers and Jastrzebski promoting such education is still a positive aspect of their campaign. If the correct avenues are taken, campus climate could improve.
Transparency over tuition increases is another Sommers/Jastrzebski goal. It seems doubtful that students would be privy to such information, but perhaps having Student Government put pressure on the administration would cause them to release vital information much sooner.
Sommers, currently the SGA secretary, and Jastrzebski, currently a junior class senator, each have been members of SGA for two years. They have the experience to accomplish such lofty goals, which Siepiora and Gray just do not have. Siepiora has never served as a member of SGA. While it is true that SGA should not be treated as a bank, as Siepiora said during the debate, Sommers and Jastrzebski are the best candidates to enact that change.