Although she has all the official power as student body president, Eve Carson has relied heavily on her appointed administration this year to tackle a range of decisions.
She has taken on the responsibilities of her office with a methodical, compartmentalized approach, creating a large Cabinet and dividing her officers’ responsibilities when dealing with different aspects of student government.
“There’s been so much on our plate this year that everyone has taken on a very specific role,” Carson said.
She says her Cabinet, which includes the chairmen of various committees, gives the voice of students to her team. She generally devotes a lot of time to consultation and committee input.
“For us, the main theme has always been, ‘How are we getting other people connected to what we’re doing?’”
Carson has succeeded in getting people involved in student government affairs, assigning 41 students to lead her 20 committees and projects. Her predecessor, James Allred, took a different approach, cutting the number of students in the Cabinet.
Leaders said they have been striving to make student government more accessible to students this year. And Cabinet members praised Carson’s deferential nature.
“I’ve never seen her make a decision without consulting a group of students first,” Executive Assistant Ron Bilbao said.
Carson’s deliberative method differs from Allred, who set out to be a strong, decisive voice for students.
Carson’s role also extends to working with student leaders, including those in Student Congress.
Her administration began working with Congress leaders productively on a bill to reform the Carolina Athletic Association. But her early veto on another matter iced relations between the branches.
Carson had indicated her support for the bill then vetoed it after asking her officers for advice.
“Since the veto, there hasn’t been much in the way of compromise,” Congress Speaker Tyler Younts said.
He said Carson’s executive-by-committee approach made it difficult to anticipate how the administration would act.
“I don’t know who to talk to for a straight answer anymore,” he said.
Younts said the relationship is complicated by Carson’s conspicuous absence from Student Congress and its committee meetings. Carson said she delegated Student Body Treasurer Jordan Myers to speak for her on Congress matters.
“Pretty much all decisions I make, I make with the officers,” Carson said, referring to the positions of vice president, Graduate and Professional Student Federation president, treasurer, chief of staff, secretary and senior adviser.
“We’re an incredibly close-knit group, and I think everyone shares our ideas and our criticisms freely,” she said. “I don’t think we’ve made any decisions this year that all of us haven’t felt comfortable with.”
Myers also recently took steps that could ease some opposition between the two branches. He reversed the position of the executive branch on the student fee referendum that was on the Feb. 12 ballot, bringing it in line with the majority congressional opinion.
“I definitely think that was a step in the right direction to giving students more control over their fees,” Younts said.
But arguably the most important role for a student body president is acting as the administrative liaison. To represent student concerns, Carson combines her committee methods with a personal approach.
“Some of the Board of Trustees members are more removed from campus,” she said. “It’s really important that they become reacquainted with the stories which are present on our campus right now.”
And throughout her term, Carson continued to bring her own brand of governing to the executive branch, focusing most on inclusion and student input.
“This year has offered a lot of lessons in rallying people in a group around an idea and working with them to get things done,” she said.
Evaluating the Carson administration
Today: Carson as a delegator
Wednesday: Carson’s platform
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