After two uncontested elections in a row, the election for the 2022-23 Student Assembly president and vice president presents three tickets for the College of William and Mary campus to consider. The campaign focuses on a core group of issues, with outreach and transparency, diversity and inclusion, health and wellness and campus safety being central concerns.
All three campaigns offer strong platforms complete with ideas which would serve the College’s student body well. However, The Flat Hat believes that the administration of John Cho ’23 and Jasmin Martinez ’23 would provide a thorough set of initiatives in tune to current campus needs and would best represent the totality of the student body. For these reasons, The Flat Hat chooses to endorse Cho and Martinez for SA president and vice president.
Despite having never served as elected officials in SA, The Flat Hat has full confidence in both Cho and Martinez’s abilities to navigate the policies and procedures of SA. With two years in the Committee on Sustainability under his belt as well as the experience of serving as chief of staff to the Boojala-Goodman administration, Cho brings forth a unique perspective on SA policy-making to the office. While in these roles, Cho’s responsibility was implementing policy and networking with other committees and organizations, which we believe inspired the attention to detail and practicality shown in the campaign’s platform.
Although Martinez has never been directly involved with SA, we believe her perspective as an SA outsider only adds to their ticket. Martinez says that she understands the disconnect between students and their elected representatives, so we have full confidence that she will use her extensive leadership experience to help mend this gap.
Like the other two campaigns, the Cho-Martinez ticket hinges on improving outreach and transparency between SA and the broader student body. All campaigns present similar ideas on how to achieve a more accessible SA. However, we believe that Cho and Martinez’s initiatives stand out among the rest. In addition to inviting the community to SA by proposing SA office hours as well as open invitations for student organizations to Senate meetings, Cho and Martinez plan to have SA go out into the community by sponsoring coalition building among student organizations and hosting roundtable discussions with student leaders.
The Flat Hat does hope that, if elected, a Cho-Martinez administration would work with prospective candidate Mikayla Fulcher ’23 to incorporate a portion of her transparency platform. Fulcher proposes more direct involvement and participation of SA members on the organization’s social media pages to encourage accountability and inform students on the daily occurrences of SA. We believe that this initiative holds promise and could aid in educating the community on SA’s actions.
As for diversity, equity and inclusion, at time of publication only the campaigns for Cho and Martinez and Conor Sokolowsky ’23 and Bryce Earley ’23 have released official platforms on these issues. While Sokolwsky and Earley have an exhaustive list of initiatives surrounding DEI, many of these initiatives seem surface-level or are projects already in motion/already attempted by other student organizations. For example, the Sokolowsky-Earley campaign proposes “amplifying the voices of the First Generation, Low Income (FGLI) community to be represented in campus-wide discussions,” but offer no concrete plans on how to do so. In contrast, Cho and Martinez offer more fleshed-out ideas, such as creating a permanent staff position for a FGLI representative in Student Affairs as well as proposing that SNAP benefits be accepted at on-campus dining locations.
Both campaigns feature strong platforms on health and wellness and campus safety that include valid proposals and ideas. We believe both campaigns could benefit from viewing each other’s plans in these policy areas and incorporating them within their own administration if elected. However, we are most optimistic about the proposals of Cho and Martinez. Within their platform, Cho and Martinez offer increasing counseling opportunities at the Wellness Center in order to include services that would especially benefit students of diverse backgrounds, which we believe would provide necessary resources to students who face specific challenges because of their identity.
The Flat Hat does want to recognize Sokolowsky and Earley’s work as well as their platform regarding improving sexual assault resources on campus. Sokolowsky has spent months researching and reaching out to others on this issue after a personal experience brought this matter to the forefront of his life. When talking about the platform that he and Earley created following his research, Sokolowksy spoke with a devoted passion and interest that stood out to the members of the editorial board. No matter the outcome of this election, we hope that Sokolowsky and Earley continue to advocate and work to implement their ideas on campus.
In general, The Flat Hat believes that a Cho-Martinez administration will be better representatives of the whole campus community because of their respective backgrounds, experiences, outlooks concerning the role of SA, and goals for these positions.
The staff editorial board represents the opinion of The Flat Hat. The editorial board consists of Callie Booth ’24, Lulu Dawes ’23, Sarah Devendorf ’25, Ashanti Jones ’23 and Molly Parks ’24.
Editor’s Note: Dawes abstained from voting in order to ensure objectivity in her reporting.