Every year the Lariat editorial board interviews student body officer candidates in order to understand platforms, gauge abilities and represent the student body’s voice. This year’s editorial board has chosen to continue the endorsements. We are endorsing junior Kelly Rapp for student body president on a 5-0-0 vote and Raechel Adams for external vice president on a 5-0-0 vote.
Brian Kim is running unopposed for internal vice president, though we still spoke with him to assess his plans for the upcoming year.
Student Government Elections
The Lariat interviewed the candidates running in this year’s elections. Read about their positions and experience here.
Current IVP Michael Lyssy wrote a letter endorsing a candidate for student body president. Read the endorsement here.
Student Body President
Out of the three candidates, candidates, Kelly Rapp brings the best balance of a strong platform and professional attitude needed to enhance student life on campus. Rapp also supplies a wealth of experience after working on both the external vice president and internal vice president’s cabinets and serving on Steppin’ Out’s steering committee.
Rapp’s platform directly answers students’ concerns. First, he wants scholarships to increase on a yearly basis by the same percent as tuition. His second goal of improving safety off campus comes at a time when crime around Baylor has some students worried. Finally, Rapp’s desire to bring in more high profile speakers has proved meaningful after events like Condoleezza Rice’s visit packed Waco Hall to full capacity.
Rapp currently works in the president’s office and has worked with Vice President for Finance and Administration Reagan Ramsower and Senior Vice President for Strategic Initiatives and partnerships Kathy Wright. This working relationship with vice presidents can translate to more student input turning into positive changes on campus.
We also felt Nick Pokorny’s platform had solid points. Pokorny said he wanted to see an increase in Baylor alumni donations, improvements to on-campus buildings and equipment, an increase in Baylor product licensing and more public input in student government.
We sensed a lack of professionalism in Pokorny’s interview responses, though, that would concern us if he were elected student body president.
For instance, it’s perfectly fine to constructively criticize the current student body president, Zach Rogers. But Pokorny seemed to have personal disagreements with Rogers and casually referred to the legislature and executive branch as “rival branches” in the interview. We cannot have a student body president who views the branches that way.
When asked about tension in student government, Rapp simply replied he chooses to stay outside of gossip within student government.
We did not see a strong enough platform from student body president candidate Tyler Tribble to endorse him. When asked about his platform, his answer included eight different goals, ranging from increased parking to lighting on the Bear Trail to individualized career fairs. Individualized career fairs would serve the students well, but that is not enough to substantiate a candidate’s platform.
External Vice President
Because of a much clearer, stronger set of goals than her opponent, we want to see Raechel Adams as external vice president next year. Adams’ platform, commitment to community, focuses on improving off- and on-campus safety, getting students more involved in community service and working more closely with alumni to transition students to the real world.
Her points were well researched and she was able to explain how previous experience has helped bring positive ideas to Baylor. For example, after attending a Big 12 student government conference, she brought back the idea to host student government coffee in Fountain Mall to increase student input.
She also promoted an ambitious idea of a “free speech zone” on campus.
We favor Adams over Briana Treadaway because of the lack of clarity in Treadaway’s platform. When we asked Treadaway to describe her platform, we did not receive a definite set of pillars in her plan. Treadaway did not offer many ideas on how she would help make a greater difference in the community.
Internal Vice President
Brian Kim is running unopposed for internal vice president. Even if he were opposed, however, he would be a tough candidate to beat.
What we liked immediately about Kim’s attitude was a strong desire to see student senators gathering student input. We asked if he meant senators conducting surveys via the Internet or senators physically going out in public to talk to students. He emphatically replied, “Physically!”
Kim was also candid about the problem in student government of turnover rates. He wants to change the internal environment and discuss issues that matter instead of sitting “for three hours discussing something that probably won’t happen.”
Kim acknowledged that student senate needs to listen more to students before making decisions such as the DREAM act bill.
We hope these candidates turn their plans into reality and lead Baylor boldly into the future.