On this year’s ballot, you will see two candidates for UNC's student body president — Jaleah Taylor and Laura Saavedra Forero. Saavedra Forero's candidacy was announced early Tuesday following technical difficulties on the side of the UNC Board of Elections that initially kept her off the ballot.
The Editorial Board researched the two candidates' platform, conducted interviews with each candidate and met as a group to assess their qualifications. After this careful examination and analysis, the board decided to endorse Taylor for the role of student body president.
The candidates have similar platforms, touching on diversity, accessibility and making UNC a place for everyone. Although the candidates' policy priorities were similarly aligned, we found that Taylor's goals — and the paths for meeting those goals — were clearly outlined in her platform. She remained pragmatic about the power given to SBP, yet the importance and depth of her plans were not dulled by that practicality.
The individual who holds this role is our foremost representative as students and will likely be one of the few progressive voice on the UNC Board of Trustees. We believe a willingness to work with University leaders they may disagree with in order to reach compromise is key.
Taylor’s history in the Undergraduate Executive Branch serves her well, and we feel she will be able to build upon the experience she already has to build a better campus for us all.
We also felt that the Taylor administration's policy proposals were thorough and diverse, covering critical issues that need to be addressed on campus. Taylor’s 40 page “Full Policy Platform” is not lacking in solutions or depth. The structure of the policy plans suggests a detailed proposal to form an independent student advocates office serviced by 15 activists to extend professional resources including filing appeals and representing students in hearings in addition to reviewing grade appeals.
Taylor capitalizes on the model of the program’s success at other universities, such as at UC Berkeley and Cornell. Her designs hold weight that are solidified by other positive statistics including the more than 100 student cases documented at these institutions.
She also has specific and detailed plans to bring about improvements on campus, specifically in the grading systems and the meal plan system, both of which are issues that affect students' wellbeing.
With a strong emphasis on enhanced student engagement encouraging the implementation of a Heel Life app, in addition to marketing club involvement in the spring semester, Taylor plans to connect students.