In years past, synthesizing the single word or phrase that encapsulates the heart of the race for student body president and vice president has been fairly simple. With six tickets and several important voting issues to debate this season, that task is significantly more complicated.
Per annual tradition, Scholastic interviewed each ticket to give the student body a picture of who the candidates are beyond their platforms and to consider how they will seek to represent the student body if elected. With a wide field of qualified candidates, the decision of who to endorse was challenging.
The tickets for the 2020 student body president and vice president election are Michael Dugan and Ricardo Pozas Garza, Zachary Mercugliano and Aviva Lund, Noble Patidar and Connor Patrick, Connor Whittle and Jack Rotolo, Rachel Ingal and Sarah Galbenski, and Hank Bates and Tom Henry.
Each of their platforms provides unique and creative solutions to on-campus issues. They all have the potential to generate positive action in the highest offices of student government. With many important issues affecting the student body, voters should pay attention to candidates’ policy proposals.
As is the case most years, all of the candidates have proposed policies on student government transparency. Because many students remain unaware and apathetic to the inner workings of student government, the feasibility and practicality of these proposals are important considerations. Voters should look critically at how candidates are able to be present, salient and responsive on campus.
Club funding is one of the most highly debated issues in this election. While the topic, at first glance, may seem difficult to digest, the way money is allocated to clubs affects a large population of students, and many clubs have been short-changed in recent years.
Sexual assault prevention and support for survivors was also frequently discussed in the candidates’ platforms, though at varying lengths. This policy debate impacts the safety of all students at Notre Dame, making it arguably one of the biggest voting issues this year. The incoming administration will need to understand the intricacies of the Title IX process and challenges with the implementation of Callisto, a technology used to identify repeat offenders and support survivors.
Residential life, a topic that was addressed to differing degrees by the candidates, is, of the voting issues this season, the concern that impacts every student, on and off campus. The dorm swipe access policy, as well as the off-campus senior exclusion policy, are both controversial administrative decisions which students have vocally opposed. The approach a ticket takes to negotiating their relationship with the administration and advocating for student interests is of special concern.
Like last year’s election, diversity and inclusion are priorities in this year’s platforms. The programming and awareness campaigns proposed here should reveal the degree of investment the candidates have in promoting these ideals.
Accessibility and sustainability were other recurring themes, as was reform to the Moreau curriculum.
With so many voting issues in mind, Scholastic attempted to inventory the most defining features of each platform and ticket.
Michael Dugan and Ricardo Pozas Garza present the strongest platform on sexual assault prevention and survivor support. Their personal experience with the Title IX process and their passion for effecting change is extraordinarily salient.
Zachary Mercugliano and Aviva Lund are youthful and energetic. Their unique perspective on the campus as newcomers should not be underwritten and neither should their commitment to fostering dialogue on topics of diversity and inclusion.
Noble Patidar and Connor Patrick stand out in their commitment to feasibility. Their platform prioritizes inclusion, specifically of religious and political diversity. Their actionable ideas are creative and reflective of a campaign that understands student interests and needs.
Connor Whittle and Jack Rotolo are as sharp as they are approachable. They have a clear sense of what these positions are capable of doing and intend to push those boundaries to the fullest extent. Their residential life policies demonstrate their extensive knowledge of how the Notre Dame administration makes decisions, and the fact that they have already made strides to cultivate this relationship is compelling.
Rachel Ingal and Sarah Galbenski present a targeted platform filled with clearly outlined courses of action. Their ideas on club funding stand out as impressive and convincing, as do their policies on sexual assault prevention.
And finally, Hank Bates and Tom Henry could not be more serious as they outline their satirical platform. For voters drawn to shag carpeting and meat sticks, this ticket is a tempting choice.
Scholastic recognizes that reading through and understanding every platform is a daunting task, especially with six tickets. For this issue, our staff compiled profiles of each ticket to help our readers better understand the candidates and their goals. We have also offered an endorsement for the ticket we believe is best capable of successfully representing the student body.