The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Thursday May 19th

Opinion: Why we care about the upcoming Campus Y election

Campus Y Co-President Forum 6-7 on Wednesday night
Buy Photos Campus Y Co-President Forum 6-7 on Wednesday night

This year, the editorial board decided to interview both sets of Campus Y co-presidential candidates, Alexander Peeples and Courtney Staton, and Nick McKenzie and Asha Patel, in order to make an endorsement. While not all of us are members of the Y, we felt that enough students on campus are constituents and the Campus Y represents an important moral compass on campus, so we ought to make an endorsement.

With the way the Trump presidency is shaping up so far and the lackluster response we’ve seen from our administration — and Margaret Spellings actually going so far as to support a particularly harmful cabinet appointee — the moral compass the Campus Y provides us with will be incredibly valuable this coming year.

Because of these tumultuous times, we as a board decided that the things we value the most in a Campus Y co-president pair are both the vision to stabilize and grow the Y and the experience to get their goals achieved.

While both sets of candidates have a clear commitment to the Y, we believe that Peeples and Staton have the experience and vision required to run the Y in such a challenging time for social justice. The board came to this conclusion by unanimous vote.

Staton is both a member of the Coalition for Human Rights and a co-chair for Criminal Justice Awareness and Action. Her proven leadership on the latter and her involvement in the cabinet of the Y points to both a strong commitment to individual committees and an understanding of the larger Y network. She also has a unique insight into activism and art through poetry, which could provide a link to the larger campus community in demonstrations and resistance in times to come.

Peeples, who also serves as a columnist for The Daily Tar Heel, similarly has a proven commitment to the Y and an articulated vision of what the Y would look like under his and Staton’s leadership. Peeples has served the Y first through the Bonner Leaders program and now through his position as the Co-Director of Development, a leadership role on the executive board of the Y.

The pair has an impressive record and understanding of the Y. Their vision of a politically conscious Y in the next year with partnerships across campus speaks to a stronger campus community and resistance. Their current place within the Y speaks to their ability to actually implement change.

McKenzie and Patel seems to be well-intentioned, but they lack experience. Both have served in leadership positions in a number of committees, but neither has run a committee nor held positions in the executive board. Both are sophomores and did not seem to have good reasoning on their choice to run this year as opposed to next year with one more year of experience.

Further, McKenzie in particular buckled under pressure at the Y forum when he referred to people of color as “colored people” and stumbled over an answer concerning voting on a Republican ballot in the primaries. Though both were mistakes, we expect the Y co-presidency to be a stressful situation and for both of our co-presidents to handle pressure elegantly.

As such, we support Staton and Peeples as co-presidents for their experience, vision and strength under pressure.


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