For the 2016-17 student government elections, the Lariat editorial board is endorsing Port Barre, La., junior Lindsey Bacque for student body president and Katy junior Amye Dickerson for external vice president. Old River Winfree junior Joel Polvado is running unopposed for internal vice president.
The board conducted interviews with each of the candidates and heard their platforms and aspirations for student government. These endorsements are based upon who we believe will best serve the campus and represent the student body.
Student Body President
The race for student body president is between Bacque and Tomball junior Alex Plott. Both candidates bring well-thought-out plans to the table, but the board found Bacque’s platform to be more comprehensive.
According to her slogan, Bacque aims to help “create a culture of unity.” This involves three parts: increasing the affordability and access of Baylor, enhancing the student experience and strengthening the Alumni Network. While even Bacque admitted that not all of this would be feasible in one year, she did have reasonable goals for the next two semesters, should she become president.
One of the goals that particularly stood out was her aim to bring a Title IX liaison to campus. The Title IX office is located in the Robinson Tower and may be less accessible for students without a car. By bringing a liaison to campus, Title IX needs could be more easily met.
We wrestled with her scholarship initiative, as many of us found it unrealistic. The aim to make Baylor more affordable is obviously appealing, but seems far out of the realm of power given to anyone in student government. However, Bacque’s experience as internal vice president has proved that small gains are possible. Bacque has worked side by side with current student body president Pearson Brown with his scholarship initiative. We see this goal as a continuation of what Brown has been working on, and we support it. We love the idea of student body presidents picking up the banner of past leaders and carrying on the initiative. It’s hard, if not impossible, to get every goal done in one academic year. Lariat editors find this out for themselves every semester.
Plott’s platform was based on creating a safe and caring community, forming a renter’s association and bringing back old traditions. We were especially intrigued by the second point. His idea of a renter’s association at Baylor was a group that would help with the transition from on-campus to off-campus living. This was the most unique, and perhaps most thought-out, part of his platform. However, his platform fell apart at the third initiative. One of his goals for bringing back old traditions was getting the bears, now Lady and Joy, back to games. For this, Baylor would have to build a habitat at McLane Stadium. This would be expensive and unnecessary. He also mentioned creating a senior week, in which graduating seniors would have a chance to return to Independence and revive school spirit that was introduced freshman year. While we loved the idea, we also had to acknowledge that a senior week is already in existence for this year, thanks to the work of Brown.
Both candidates were professional and had clearly spent time and effort on their platforms. However, based on experience, Bacque is more prepared to represent the student body. Her platform highlighted solutions to issues that are of high importance to many students. Both candidates talked about ways to make Baylor more accessible. Bacque looked at accessibility from a financial standpoint. Plott looked at literal accessibility for the disabled and highlighted some areas on campus that could use improvement. We believe both of these areas to be valid concerns.
With regard to safety, both candidates turned their attention to interpersonal violence. Plott suggested a communication system that allows people to submit anonymous tips regarding attackers or predators. Tips would be taken more seriously if the offender was reported more than once. While he said that such systems are in place at other universities, we felt uncomfortable with this idea. Anonymity often takes away accountability. While it is clear that there is a need for action with regard to sexual assault, this system could lead to a lot of false accusations, even if the tips were meant as a prank.
External Vice President
Dickerson and Lubbock sophomore Montgomery Miller are running for external vice president. Both candidates had a good grasp of what their position required of them and had strong platforms. Dickerson’s slogan, “experience, leadership and effective change,” is an accurate summation of what she plans to do. We were particularly pleased with her aim to bring in leaders from Austin, Dallas and Washington, D.C., to talk to students. Her vision, while including Waco, also extended beyond the area. She, as did Miller, brought up the issue of safety. This was a recurring theme for most of the candidates.
We were impressed with Miller’s idea of extending the bus lines, which fell under “mobility” in his slogan, “opportunity, mobility, safety.” The part he seemed most focused on, however, was a part we did not see a great need for. Miller greatly pushed the opportunity portion of his platform. With this, he aims to create a system in which students can get internships in Waco for class credit. He mentioned a type of partnership with places in Waco to make this happen. While we see the importance of internships, for many majors there is a system already in place that allows students to intern for class credit. We like the idea of local businesses being more readily available to take on student interns, but once again, we believe that this largely already exists.
The editorial board greatly appreciates the time each candidate set aside to talk to us. We wish them each the best of luck in their endeavors. We encourage students to vote online Thursday and Friday at baylor.edu/student_government.