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The Daily Tar Heel

Editorial: Our endorsement for 2022 student body president

"Connection is our greatest strength — if we're going to make Carolina better, we have to start from a place I can sit across from you."


Taliajah "Teddy" Vann, a candidate for student body president, stands in front of the Old Well on Sunday, Feb. 6, 2022.  

The Editorial Board is endorsing Teddy Vann for student body president.

To make endorsements, the board researched each candidate’s platform, conducted interviews with each candidate and met as a group to assess their qualifications for office. We evaluated candidates on numerous topics, ranging from diversity, equity and inclusion to expectations for the University’s COVID-19 response.

We strongly believe that the next student body president should be able to represent the diverse student body at UNC, and marginalized communities that have historically been silenced on campus.

Vann currently serves as the president of the Black Student Movement and works closely with the NAACP — she has made it clear that service is essential to her work in the community and that she takes a personal responsibility to represent the student body.

“I’m not a person from a very wealthy family; I’m a Carolina Covenant scholar, I’m a first-generation college student, and so service has been a really core element of my identity and my upbringing,” Vann tells The Daily Tar Heel. “I try to live my life in a way where I’m always striving to serve others and provide for them as I’ve been provided for.”

She has first-person experience feeling unheard as a BIPOC student, and hopes to create more ways for students that are not a part of student government to engage and talk to people in power. Vann has made it clear that she hopes to bring in new perspectives from outside of student government into the office, which the Editorial Board believes will allow her to act as a voice for students who are often left out of administrative decision-making.

Vann is able to effectively and heartfully connect, engage and communicate with other students — we found ourselves laughing with her multiple times throughout our interview with her. She was honest about her own experiences with mental health resources on campus, knowledge of UNC and her discussions with administration. Still, Vann is headstrong in her platform — when asked about the role of the UNC Police, she responds succinctly:

“Reduced. No, I’m just kidding. No I’m not, though.”

She is upfront and relatable, creating a connection with everyone in the room and still being able to communicate productively with higher administration. Vann is able to acknowledge her privileges and identities, and is willing to work with other communities to extend her representation where it falls short.

The first phase of her platform includes a critical assessment of current mental health and sexual assault policies, and assess what can be accomplished before Fall 2022. Vann emphasizes the need for transparency not only among the administration, but also student government — she outlines a plan for forward-facing accountability, including monthly reports from student government administration on policy progress.

Though Vann’s platform was extensive, we hope to see her expand upon her plans and policies to increase physical and mental health accessibility across campus — especially given the current mental health crisis at UNC. Additionally, we look forward to seeing a complete financial plan on how the proposed policies will be funded and executed.

While all of the candidates running for student body president this year are well qualified and would do well in the role, the Editorial Board believes that Teddy Vann has proven to be an advocate for the student body and marginalized communities across campus, and believe that her voice is the change that this campus needs.

“I recognize that I am a person who has a resolute voice, someone who is a powerful speaker, a powerful advocate. And I’ve seen my own ability to be able to execute on the issues that are important to me,” she tells us.

The board applauds her dedication to service and accountability, and look forward to seeing what she will do.

We encourage students to make their voices heard by casting their vote for student government on Feb. 8, through the HeelLife website.

Teddy Vann

Sam Robinson

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Sage Staley

Ethan Phillips

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