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The Daily Tar Heel

Column: How we made Student Body President endorsements

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Opinion Editor: Caitlyn Yaede

Every year, the Editorial Board is tasked with endorsing a candidate for Student Body President – a liaison for students to the Board of Trustees and a representative for the campus as a whole.

We are honored to use our collective voice to express what we feel is best for our fellow students, faculty and staff of the University. This year’s race, however, looks different than in years past.

With one prominent candidate dropping from the race soon before the petition deadline and a second suspending their campaign after the deadline (as well as resigning from their current position as Student Body Vice President), we were left unsure about how to proceed.

The Editorial Board first met to compile a list of policy goals that we hope to see out of a Student Body President. The following are among the most important:

  • Advancement of diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging efforts on campus and in the greater Chapel Hill community
  • Preventative sexual assault policies that hold perpetrators accountable
  • Minimizing the role of police on campus
  • Accessibility of campus facilities
  • Support for workers’ rights and livable wages
  • Fair compensation for graduate student labor
  • Willingness to connect with and listen to student leaders for the duration of their term

I had the privilege of interviewing the two candidates on the ballot – Christopher Everett and TJ Edwards – as well as Theodore Nollert, the current Graduate and Professional Student President who is running as a write-in candidate in this year's race. Editorial Board members also attended the Student Body President debate on Feb. 16.

Interviews were made available to members of the Editorial Board, who met again to discuss the insights shared by Everett, Edwards and Nollert. While we were impressed by policy proposals across the board, and feel confident that any outcome would bring positive change to the UNC student body, we do not feel comfortable endorsing a sole candidate. You can read our entire endorsement decision here.

This is not an excuse to sit out on campus politics, though. We encourage every student to vote for the candidate they feel best represents their interests and goals for the University.

We also hope the UNC community can use this tumultuous election cycle as a time to reflect on our current system of student governance, how we can hold our leaders accountable and how we can uplift those who are traditionally left out of powerful roles in our community.

@caitlyn_yaede

opinion@dailytarheel.com

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Caitlyn Yaede

Caitlyn Yaede is the 2023-24 print managing editor of The Daily Tar Heel and oversees weekly print production. She previously served as the DTH's opinion editor and summer editor. Caitlyn is a public policy master's student at UNC.