The Flat Hat endorses Chang-Aqeel for SA presidency


Thursday, March 28, students at the College of William and Mary will vote for the Student Assembly’s next president and vice president. This upcoming administration will be tasked with responding to several pressing issues on campus, including the housing shortage, tensions over the violence in Israel and Palestine and the longstanding challenge of promoting diversity, equity and inclusion in a predominantly white institution. Now more than ever, SA’s responsibility to comprehensively represent the student body and to bridge the gap between students and administration is crucial. For these reasons, The Flat Hat chooses to endorse the fierce advocacy and experience of Yannie Chang ’25 and Hashir Aqeel ’25 for SA president and vice president.

Chang and Aqeel would bring a wealth of experience to the SA executive branch. Chang has served as class of 2025 president for the past three years, with Aqeel as a three-time class of 2025 senator. Their tenure has honed their ability to listen to the needs of the College community, to formulate relevant and tangible policies and to see them through to implementation. 

The Flat Hat was impressed by Chang and Aqeel’s transparency and strength in explaining to outsiders the steps they will take to pursue future changes. We are confident in Chang’s abilities as a passionate and genuine advocate for the interests of students, as has already been proven by her zealous representation during meetings with administration and the board of visitors on issues such as the housing crisis. Additionally, Aqeel’s senate know-how will allow him to deftly facilitate productive debate during legislative meetings. In their time on the senate, both Chang and Aqeel have authored and sponsored a robust slate of legislation, from promoting events for marginalized communities on campus to accessibility infrastructure to access to health resources. 

Beyond their established experience, Chang and Aqeel will bring a much-needed openness to the SA executive branch. While both tickets highlighted the importance of listening to the student body, The Flat Hat found this particularly upheld by Chang and Aqeel. The pair have a history of collaboration with a broad range of community perspectives on their legislation and truly emphasize their desire to let those students who are directly impacted take the lead on every issue. Chang and Aqeel recognize both their strengths and weaknesses, and we believe they will know when to rely on the expertise of others. 

The Flat Hat thoroughly believes that Chang and Aqeel have the skill to transition their platform to full-fledged and implemented policies. The pair have fostered many strong relationships with groups on campus and demonstrate a committed interest in giving students a seat at the decision table and uplifting individual stories. Chang and Aqeel’s unmatched experience in every part of the governing process will allow them to navigate SA’s three branches and put them in conversation with one another. These strengths have helped in their development of actionable and realistic policy plans. 

A main priority of Chang and Aqeel is to give representation and power to student voices. A tenet in their DEI initiative is to ensure that those from all backgrounds have the opportunity to speak for themselves in key moments, especially in meetings with SA, the Board of Visitors and administration. The Chang-Aqeel ticket truly values the power of student leadership. The duo intends to adjust SA budgeting so that less money goes to SA-sponsored initiatives and more is available to registered student organizations. This actionable change would allow Registered Student Organizations to organize events how they see fit, rather than depending on SA representatives. 

Another focus of the Chang-Aqeel ticket centers around reevaluating the internal workings of SA itself. Chang and Aqeel wish to bridge the gap between the expectations SA holds for other organizations and the standards to which it holds itself. In addition to enhancing SA transparency, Chang and Aqeel hope to mitigate the disconnect between SA’s legislative and executive branches and combat the body’s often-stressful or competitive culture. The Flat Hat appreciated Chang and Aqeel’s candid acknowledgement that SA is ultimately a student organization. We believe that the duo’s plans for greater cohesion will result in effective policy.

Current SA Secretary of Health and Safety Terra Sloane ’25 is running for president on the other ticket with SA Secretary of Diversity Initiatives Oscar Lazo ’25 as her vice president. Sloane and Lazo highlight three desired focuses for their administration: the relevance of SA on campus, the accessibility of SA resources and the institutional sustainability of SA initiatives.

Individually, Sloane prioritizes addressing sexual violence prevention and Lazo focuses his passion on DEI work. Despite Sloane and Lazo’s mutual commitment to student advocacy and their many policy overlaps with Chang and Aqeel, The Flat Hat believes their personal objectives and experience are too narrow to most effectively accommodate the entirety of the student body. Ultimately, Chang and Aqeel’s three years collaborating with SA, administration and their constituents set them apart from their similarly-passionate opponents, who began working in their specialized departments within SA in 2023. 

Should Chang and Aqeel be elected, we hope that Sloane and Lazo will continue their work as members of the cabinet. The latter ticket has many important policy goals that would closely align with Chang and Aqeel’s mission. Sloane in particular has made impressive strides in sexual health and sexual violence prevention, and her continued leadership in those fields will be necessary on campus. Chang and Aqeel’s public history of supporting sexual health resources and contraceptives and pushing for those policies to be as informative and widely-inclusive as possible indicate that the pair will work well with Sloane. 

The Flat Hat believes Chang and Aqeel’s transparent initiatives and experience in SA best address the William and Mary community’s interests, ultimately empowering the student body.

The staff editorial board represents the opinion of The Flat Hat. The editorial board consists of Anna Arnsberger ’25, Sarah Devendorf ’25, Agavni Mehrabi ’26, Clare Gifford ’26 and Maddie Mohamadi ’27.


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