The staff editorial board represents the opinion of The Flat Hat. The editorial board consists of Anu Desai ’24, Sarah Devendorf ’25, Jake Forbes ’24, Daniel Kalish ’25 and Molly Parks ’24.
Thursday, March 30, the College of William and Mary Student Assembly will hold its annual elections for SA president and vice president. Amidst the construction of several campus facilities in line with Vision 2026, a housing waitlist of over 500 students, transitions within the College administration and the COVID-19 pandemic officially set to end in May, the year ahead represents a year of change for students at the College. The student body needs an empowering and empathetic SA president and vice president who have experience affecting change within the SA process to lead us through these consequential campus developments. Therefore, The Flat Hat chooses to endorse Sydney Thayer ’24 and Taylor Fox ’24 as SA president and vice president.
With several years of experience on SA and an extensive understanding of both the student body and administration, Thayer and Fox will fiercely advocate for the needs of students while representing the diverse experiences of the campus at large. During the 330th administration, Thayer has served as Secretary of Sustainability and Senior Advisor for Internal Affairs and Logistics while Fox has served as the Senior Advisor for Community Engagement and Outreach. Prior to this term, Fox was also a senator for the class of 2024 during the 329th administration and held the positions of Secretary of Student Life, Secretary of Outreach and Executive Liaison. Thayer has been involved with SA since her sophomore year, starting as an Undersecretary of Food Waste and Policy. The Flat Hat is confident the two are committed to listening to students and striving for tangible positive change and that their extensive experience in SA gives them the institutional knowledge to pursue such change efficiently.
The candidate ticket of Thayer and Fox is the only ticket officially recognized by the SA elections commission. However, Max Beers ’24 and Ian Chen ’24 are also campaigning as a write-in candidacy for SA president and vice president.
Beers and Chen, having never served in SA, lack experience in student government. Their candidacy is largely humorous, exists without a campaign website or written platform and is not outspokenly comprehensive of any serious issues; it instead relies primarily on the idea of making the College “fun.”
Although the Beers-Chen ticket’s position as SA outsiders represents a fresh perspective that could uniquely impact the representative body positively, Thayer and Fox are also extensively involved in community-building outside of SA. Between serving as Orientation Aides, organizing cultural and student’s rights’ initiatives and serving as campus leaders in sustainability and student-led advocacy, Thayer and Fox have cultivated the ability to recognize and effectively bridge gaps between the perspectives of SA members and the rest of the student body. Thayer and Fox told The Flat Hat that they plan on prioritizing this sense of transparency if elected.
The Flat Hat asked both the Thayer-Fox and Beers-Chen tickets about their plans for addressing increasingly pervasive issues around campus, including housing, campus safety and mental wellbeing. Although Beers and Chen touched on these ideas, Thayer and Fox provide fleshed-out initiatives and concrete methods of implementation for not only these topics, but many others that Beers and Chen have not yet outlined a platform for.
For instance, Thayer and Fox have a comprehensive campus safety section of their platform. Thayer and Fox intend to work alongside the campus administration and the William and Mary Police Department to push for active shooter trainings, the creation of clearer guidelines surrounding the Good Griffin policy and a compilation of easily-accessible pamphlets detailing Title IX resources. The Beers-Chen campaign told The Flat Hat that one of their top priorities is the renovation of the blue emergency light system on campus and the introduction of a safety app but did not expand beyond this point.
Thayer and Fox have created an accessible, inclusive and impressively thorough online platform, detailing 11 issues on their agenda such as academic experience, advocacy with administration and accessibility and student services. Thayer and Fox spoke on how they plan to prioritize certain issues that students care the most about, including advocating for more accessible and sustainable dining and creatively working with the local community to tackle the housing crisis. The two told The Flat Hat that many of the issues they will address if elected will stem from keeping a constant pulse on student body concerns and ensuring that the College administration listens to and legitimizes student feedback. Thayer and Fox will rely on their existing relationships with members of the College administration, the Board of Visitors and the Faculty Assembly to achieve these policies.
Thayer and Fox also include several tangible initiatives to advocate for diversity, equity and inclusion across campus. According to their platform, the two plan on implementing DEI training for all recognized student organizations while also holding town halls focused on the classroom experience to inform DEI task forces and training. Furthermore, Thayer and Fox intend on pushing for expanded access to gender-neutral bathrooms in every building and residence hall on campus.
The Flat Hat does appreciate Beers and Chen’s emphasis on positivity and efforts to minimize “stress culture” on campus. We hope that should Thayer and Fox be elected, they choose to incorporate some of these ideas into their initiatives.
The Flat Hat endorses Thayer and Fox because they have put together a comprehensive platform that we believe most accurately reflects the priorities and shared values of the College community. If elected, a Thayer-Fox president and vice president administration will represent the student body with the utmost respect, empathy and efficacious leadership.