Editorial: Pros, Cons to Voting RSVP or FACE
Instead we will explain what we have liked, and disliked, about the RSVP and FACE campaigns throughout this election season.
RSVP, led by presidential candidate and Student Trustee Kyle Triplett, Senate Intern Director Roger Jones and State and Federal Affairs Commissioner Chris Wimsatt, is the consummate insider ticket. Two-thirds of its candidates are current student senators or already involved with senate.
FACE is the outsider ticket, comprised of former Sen. Matthew Wallace, mens cross country team Captain Sean Kelly and Chrysten Crockett, president of Black Student Union. Most FACE candidates are not part of student senate or actively involved with the governing body. However, many lead or are part of student organizations including the Latino Student Union, International Student Union and Sierra Student Coalition.
We appreciate FACE’s effort to recruit a diverse coalition of student candidates and believe senate would benefit from new blood, despite concerns that FACE candidates lack experience and know-how of senate procedures. On the contrary, RSVP candidates’ familiarity with senate would make for a seamless transition into action if elected.
But this is not the only consideration voters should make; the campaigns differ significantly on issues.
If elected, Wallace would advocate opening Budget Planning Council Meetings to the press and public, push for Student Trustee voting rights and attempt to ban political parties from forming for each election.
We think Wallace’s proposal to ban political parties is refreshing and worth further exploration but are split on whether BPC meetings should be completely open and Student Trustees given voting rights. We are also concerned that neither proposal is feasible – each would require more action than senate is capable of. The past four senate administrations have campaigned on both issues only to ignore them once elected.
However, Wallace is serious about fighting for each proposal. He promises to work with Graduate Student Senate and Faculty Senate to pressure the OU administration into action, an approach that has not been tried.
Likewise with FACE, some issues on the RSVP platform are equally idealistic, such as ensuring that 90 percent of classes include 50 people or less, and protecting general education courses from being cut due to OU’s budget crisis. Student Senate has no authority or means with which to achieve these goals; we do not see how such promises can be kept.
Overall, though, RSVP’s issue platform includes what we consider to be more realistic policy proposals.
Triplett would focus on making OU safer by advocating to open self-defense classes at Ping and promoting awareness about Safe T Patrol to walk students home at night.
With the recent frequency of late-night assaults on students, these are necessary precautions that should be implemented.
To make OU a bit more affordable, Triplett wants to reinstate free printing and encourage students to use the under-utilized Student Senate Book Exchange program, which allows students to buy and sell textbooks at lower prices than they might find Uptown.
We support these ideas, too. They may be small improvements, but they are more achievable given the scope of senate, and each would affect a large number of students, and quickly.
FACE’s platform calls for more engagement with the student body on issues such as transitioning from quarters to semesters, but lacks these kinds of small-bore proposals.
Platforms aside, we would be remiss to ignore personal controversies that have arisen between both campaigns.
Wallace has been the more open and accessible presidential candidate throughout this election season. Unlike Triplett, he has engaged pointed attacks directly and publicly. Triplett is more politically savvy, but Wallace’s blunt persona makes him an engaging and relatable candidate. It also opens him up to criticism.
Wallace has been criticized — unfairly at times — for being less professional in how he conducts himself publicly compared to Triplett.
Although a $225 fine was issued to FACE for negative campaigning, RSVP candidates and supporters have been equally or more defamatory toward Wallace in comments to our senate stories.
However Wallace has said he will not clearly state why he resigned from senate during winter quarter, until or after he is elected. His refusal is a legitimate area of concern to us. The president, as face of the student body, has an image to uphold. Wallace must be more mindful of that public role — one that Triplett has already perfected — if he is elected president.
Still, we feel that many important issues were lost in the negativity of the campaign, which caused Honors Tutorial College Sen. Christopher Wagner to announce a write-in campaign for president yesterday.
Despite the negativity, we know from conversations with Triplett and Wallace that both care deeply about the future of OU. So do the rest of their candidates.
RSVP and FACE have different priorities, but each is worthy of consideration when you vote Wednesday and Thursday. Elections are May 18-19 online at ohio.edu.
Editorials represent the majority opinion of The New Political’s editors.