Staff Editorial: Pilchen for president

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March 27, 2007

2:11 PM

The Student Assembly has arrived at a critical juncture. Thursday’s elections will mark the end of seniors Ryan Scofield and Amanda Norris’ two-year tenure as SA president and vice president, and the students of the College face an important choice in determining who will respond to and address their concerns in the coming year. We believe that voters would be wise to select sophomores Zach Pilchen and Valerie Hopkins as the next president and vice president of the Student Assembly.

p. Over the past weekend, members of The Flat Hat’s editorial board sat down with the candidates to hear what they had to say about themselves, their candidacies and their plans if elected. While we were impressed with what both tickets had to say, we find Pilchen and Hopkins to be the better choice. Both Pilchen and Hopkins exhibit energy and enthusiasm that will be vital to an SA that has fallen out of touch with the students it represents.

p. Their platform of fresh, new ideas shows a more creative approach to town and gown issues, sexual assault prevention and education and campus alcohol policy, and we believe that their goals have the potential to rejuvenate an SA that is long overdue for change.

p. We are impressed with Pilchen’s record as both a senator and as an incredibly involved student over the past year. He was ranked at the top of The Flat Hat’s Fall Senate Report Card for 2006, which ranked the senators’ effectiveness. He has responded to individual students’ concerns about the new alcohol amnesty program, often communicating directly with Vice President for Student Affairs Sam Sadler and advocating the creation of a cabinet position on student rights. Pilchen has also been more proactive than any other senator in addressing the issue of city-student relationships, particularly the three-person housing rule.

p. Moreover, his commitment to tackling the bureaucratic complexity of the senate and administration will, we hope, lead to a more even dispersal of power and responsibility within the student government. This will provide a welcome departure from a micromanaging executive branch that consists of government majors with overly complex titles who do little or nothing to help students.

p. Hopkins is a great match for Pilchen’s energy, experience and commitment. As the only candidate not currently affiliated with the SA, Hopkins brings a new and honest perspective to the race, and she is uniquely qualified for the job. Her time as a resident assistant and a member of the College’s Judicial Council gives her a fresh and balanced insight into sexual assault, alcohol and substance policies as well as the general workings of the administration. She will complement Pilchen in addressing city relations and SA efficiency, two of the most critical issues for the next year.

p. It should be noted that Hopkins has written for The Flat Hat on five different occasions, but was never on staff, and the majority of her work was done last fall.

p. The Flat Hat was impressed with the experience of juniors Brad Potter and Brett Phillips, and much of their platform seems original and beneficial to the student body. Ultimately, however, we believe that their priorities are misplaced. We do not question their dedication, but we do wonder if they would be assertive on some of the more controversial issues. We found this question more difficult to answer after our meeting with Potter than after speaking with Pilchen. Additionally, we worry that Potter and Phillips’ experience may be a negative feature of their campaign — that perhaps they represent a continuation of the less-than-effective SA administrations of the past several years. The SA and the students of the College need change. They need Pilchen and Hopkins.

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