The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Wednesday February 8th

Shruti Shah for SBP: Shah’s experience, honest perspective are impressive

Shruti Shah should be UNC’s next student body president.

Next year’s leader needs an independent perspective to recognize student government’s faults but also the institutional knowledge to effect change.

Shah has both the vision and experience necessary to do this.

She has been involved with student government since her freshman year. But she’s avoided drinking the institutional Kool-Aid.

She acknowledged that the bloated cabinet hinders student government’s effectiveness and stressed that restructuring the executive branch will be her No. 1 priority.

Under her administration, student government would be more accountable and more connected to the student body.

Further, she aptly recognizes that student government is “not an events planning organization” but rather one that directs and implements policy.

On tuition, arguably the most important issue a student body president deals with, Shah elucidated a practical approach.

She would work to engage students in the process earlier, with town hall meetings during the fall semester to educate them on the tuition situation.

And next year will be particularly important for tuition. There is speculation among administrators that the trend of smaller increases might no longer be sustainable.

Shah also takes a pragmatic stance on grade inflation — an issue the student body president will address early in the term — by recognizing that it is not an isolated problem and must be addressed along with peer institutions.

In her interview, Shah stressed the need to set definite objectives, and she recognized that an all-encompassing platform was not always the key to a successful administration.

As many years of student body president elections have illustrated, large platforms do not necessarily predict an effective administration.

In the end, a candidate’s temperament and approach to solving problems are more important than the bullet points listed in a platform.

Shah’s interview revealed an engaging personality. She defended her ideas with candor. In this year’s field, Shah stands out as the clear choice for SBP.

Why not Hardin

Monique Hardin has had nearly a year’s experience as current Student Body President Jasmin Jones’ executive assistant. She knows firsthand what the workload entails.

She knows the structure of the University and its problems, but we’re concerned that she doesn’t have the necessary executive leadership experience.

While she is not ready for prime time, any candidate would be foolish not to ensure that she hold a significant position in next year’s executive branch.

Why not Medlin

Hogan Medlin has run a formidable campaign and clearly has both a strong grasp of the University’s structure and wide-ranging contacts — and his extensive platform illustrated this.

But lengthy platforms do not a candidate make. Being SBP is about prioritizing and not getting caught up in every single campus issue, including many things that are simply not under an SBP’s purview.

Medlin has answers for every question, but they seem intended to placate voting blocs rather than to make a statement.

Why not Levin-Manning

While Joe Levin-Manning has had significant experience in student government, he simply has too much baggage to function effectively as the student body’s chief representative.

His tendency to polarize, as demonstrated during his tenure as speaker of Congress, would be a major liability in trying to build compromise within student government.

Why not Strompolos

Greg Strompolos focused his attention largely on two issues: improving the University’s use of technology and increasing its global standing.

However, he was unable to articulate the major challenges that will inevitably present themselves next year and how he will confront them — most glaringly tuition and budgetary issues.

Strompolos is an engaging person, but the position of student body president is not where his energy should be directed.

Why not Keune

Nash Keune ran an unusual campaign, to say the least.

Throughout the past month, he has maintained the same farcical persona to highlight the often frivolous aspects of the election cycle and false belief that student government can be a panacea for the world’s problems.

While we might agree in principle with some of his sentiments about the election process, his desire to serve as student body president was clearly absent.

Electing Keune would strip even the most basic credibility from student government — something the student body can’t afford.

We invite you to comment below and share who you are voting for and why, but we ask that you do not attack any of the candidates. We will close comments if we see that the spirit of open-minded discussion isn't being honored.

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