By Richmond Dewan
Like many of you, I have seen countless stake signs and social media posts campaigning for Student Body President over the last week, and thought it would all end after elections last week. Well, it turns out, it is not over. There is a runoff between Senator JB Stockslager and Senator Carlton Adams. This made me think: if no candidate was given a majority vote, this must be a close race between two competitive candidates this time. After some researching and thinking, here’s what I was able to find.
When it comes to voting, I put aside friendships and connections and vote solely on who is most fit to lead our student body. That being said, as a member of the SMU student body, I am purely invested in the idea that one of these two candidates will be the Student Body President for the next year here at SMU, representing myself and my fellow Mustangs. All the following information was compiled from each candidate’s websites, social media and the debate that took place last week.
Carlton has three platforms: opportunity, community and SMUnity. According to the paragraph describing his platform on his website, these three were thought of after reflecting on the SMU student value statement. Carlton’s platform for opportunity involves continuing the pursuit of a new student center and an all university calendar. Carlton’s platform for community involves improving GiddyUp, lighting on campus and a safety awareness week. Carlton’s platform for SMUnity involves stronger implementation of the value statements, transparency of Senate and an all organizations day.
When asked in the debate what the difference between Community and SMUnity was, Carlton responded saying that all of his platforms are interchangeable, as it’s how he built his campaign. After thinking of the ideas he wanted on campus, he thought about how each one could tie into opportunity, community and SMUnity.
JB has six platforms: community, spirit, safety, residence life, dining and communication. According to the robust descriptions listed on his website, each of these platforms is supported with a full list of issues on each and potential solutions with a plan to accomplish them.
JB’s robust platform contains too much to print, so here are some randomly selected points: giving student organizations who couldn’t normally afford it the opportunity to have a presence and tent on the Boulevard, fostering graduate organization engagement in the rest of the school, improving student spirit at athletic events, reducing the three month wait period for Counseling and Psychiatric Services’ free counseling system, and incorporating student suggestions into meal options. When asked in the debate if he could complete all of his platforms (as he had the most of any candidate), JB responded that he had already begun work on his platforms by meeting with administrators Dean Vogel and Athletic Director Rick Hart in the last couple of weeks and starting the discussion with fellow students.
My take for platforms: JB understands concerns on campus, has plans to make changes, and has already started working on those plans. Carlton has some great ideas and a vision for how they could make a difference on this campus, but has not stated plan for his ideas in his campaign.
For me, JB wins this round. He has already started working on some of his concerns and he has plans and the motivation to get them all accomplished. Carlton presents some great ideas, but I’m having a hard time understanding how all of his platforms can be interchangeable. I can’t find a definition for SMUnity, and I can’t help but see that his platform ignores some of the largest concerns students have on campus. It will be hard for JB to accomplish all of his platforms, but if he does, the difference on this campus would be staggering.
JB has significant relationships with leaders in the student body and different students from all different backgrounds. As a New Century and BBA Scholar, one of the founders of the MOB program, a President of an IFC fraternity, a devoted member of the Christian community on campus, and a Cox Senator, JB can be found all over campus engaging with a diverse group of Mustangs inside and outside of the Senate chamber. Additionally, for the run off, previous Presidential Candidate Anna Norkett has endorsed JB.
Carlton, a third generation Mustang, has a significant network at SMU. As a member of the prestigious Hunt Scholar Leadership Program, a Dedman Senator, a former Social Chair of his IFC fraternity, a finalist for the Mustang Leaders Senate Scholarship, a student representative at the 2015 United States Naval Academy Leadership Conference and a representative for Leadershape this summer, Carlton interacts within the Senate chamber and with some select groups on campus.
My take on relationships: Both candidates have impressive endorsements from Mustangs at all ends of campus; however, personal action speaks just as loud as endorsements for me. While Carlton has accomplished a lot inside the Senate and has many opportunities outside of Senate, JB has the most engaged leadership experience and involvement on campus outside of Senate.
In order to fully represent the student body, you have to engage with the student body, and the majority of the student body does not sit inside the Senate chamber or select groups. That being said, both JB and Carlton lack leadership and shown engagement in under-represented areas and organizations on campus, so it will be something I look forward to seeing both candidates improve on for next year.
The choice at first glance is not an easy one. In fact, I want to build friendships with both of them; however, the more I researched and compared these two candidates, the more the choice became clear for President. It no longer was who had the best photos taken of them, who was passing out stickers, and who my friends demanded me to vote for. Rather it was finding the candidate who I can see has a proven track record, passion for this school and its student body, and a plan to make the students’ voices heard. In terms of these points, I am choosing to endorse JB Stockslager.
I have been impressed with Carlton’s communication in his campaign, from his photos, to the #SMUnity hashtag, to passing out stickers, to a team of amazing supporters encouraging other students to vote. But I have not found as much substance behind all of the grandeur presenting it. Carlton has definitely run a better marketing and advertising campaign than JB. Yet it’s the issues, passion and track record that ultimately gain JB my vote.
I have been impressed with JB, coming across as a student who has proven he is passionate about the student body and has already started pursuing solutions to solve student concerns. JB has shown a keen understanding of how this school works, and truly understands the importance of reaching out and engaging with students in order to make sure everyone is truly heard and fought for in regards to the issues that matter.
I encourage you to be an informed voter in the run off elections, which start Wednesday the 7th, and end Thursday the 8th at 5 p.m. It takes less than a minute to vote at smu.edu/elections. Check out the candidates’ websites and campaigns like I did or find them and talk with them and then vote.
Let your voice be heard. Let your vote matter. I’m voting JB. He is the president for me.