Staff Editorial: Confirm Slawter, move on

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September 23, 2008

4:29 PM

Kristin Slawter ’09 probably won’t break anything in the Student Assembly. She’s safe, and at this point, safety is exactly what the SA needs. Presented with more than 45 applicants for the vice presidential slot, SA President Valerie Hopkins ’09 stayed close to home, pulling Slawter from her position as senior class vice president for advocacy. That choice ended a 13-day silence following the resignation of former SA Vice President Zach Pilchen ’09. Today, Slawter goes before the senate for final approval. While we’re not thrilled about the selection process, confirming Slawter will, we hope, bring an end to the turmoil.

By rule, the SA must confirm a new vice president within two weeks of the resignation. That means that Hopkins’ announcement came at the 11th hour, giving senators less than a day to consider the woman who will preside over them until March. If they should balk at the Slawter pick, the deadline will remain. No one is certain what would happen in such an event, though Hopkins suggested she might get more days to choose someone else. Hopkins and her team probably should have notified all senators of the selection earlier in the process to avert this potential fiasco.

It won’t help that Slawter’s substance failed to impress us in an interview last night. Whereas Pilchen twice offered the trifecta of charisma, a deep commitment to student issues and an analytical mind, Slawter lacks his aggressive stance and deep knowledge. That’s fine when the goal is to return trust to the SA, but it’s less helpful when the goal is changing city policy. Collaborating with students, citizens and city officials to rewrite a law will require more than enthusiasm.

Still, she convinced us she’s willing to learn. Coupled with her passion, drive and experience, that’s enough to win our support.

Her position as vice president for advocacy gave Slawter an opportunity to unite students, alumni and the administration to expand Homecoming from a one-day event into a week-long experience. Bringing that networking ability to the senate should allow her to lead more effectively and inclusively.
Over the last several years, we’ve observed that management skills are a crucial requirement in the vice-presidential spot. Slawter will spend much of her time guiding the senate, and we expect her to shine there. Hopkins’ confidence in their ability to work together counts for quite a bit, as well. When Slawter arrives in front of the senate tonight, we hope that body will put an end to the turmoil. We hope they will confirm her so we can all move on from this unfortunate situation.

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