The PHOENIX Editorial Board endorses Poirier/McDowell for USGA 2012-13

by the PHOENIX Editorial Board
phoenixdiscourse@luc.edu

[media-credit name="The PHOENIX/Nell Seggerson" align="alignleft" width="300"][/media-credit]Apart from the recent push to ban Loyola’s sale of water bottles, United Student Government Association’s presence on campus is merely a blip on many Ramblers’ radar. Throughout the school year, the student body is largely unaware of legislation passed and issues discussed by the USGA.

With the annual rise in tuition, unimpressive four-year graduation rate, the lack of options in dining halls and other issues, students deserve a student government capable of making changes within the university that advocates on their behalf. But as of right now, it seems the lives of average students have been largely unaffected by the work of USGA.

The PHOENIX Editorial Board is tired of a low-key student government. So with annual USGA elections less than a week away, we want to endorse a presidential ticket that has concrete plans on how to enact real change within the university and promises to continue voicing student concerns throughout the year.

In its decision, the Editorial Board considered The Phoenix’s interviews with each of the presidential and vice presidential candidates about their qualifications and goals for the upcoming academic year. We also took into account research into each ticket’s platform on their websites and consulted with people familiar with the candidates. After consideration and discussion, the Editorial Board believes rising seniors Julia Poirier and Sarah McDowell are the best team for the job.

Instead of describing their goals and ideas with vague political jargon, the duo was able to state specific problems and outlined unambiguous steps to address those issues.

Poirier and McDowell have three main initiatives. First, they hope to make dining more sustainable and receptive to student needs, including promoting more organic, vegetarian and vegan options. They want to increase the diversity of the student body so that its makeup is more representative of Chicago as a whole, in part by recruiting more from high schools in city neighborhoods where Loyola has little connection. They would like to ease the burden of tuition on students by enacting grandfather clauses; clauses would mean that enrolled students would pay the same tuition each year even as the university raises tuition costs for each incoming class.

These goals, and the rest of the agenda they detailed, are certainly lofty, and we hope that they are more than just empty promises made to secure votes. The Editorial Board had its reservations about the practicality of Poirier and McDowell’s ambitious plans. But to provide the change in USGA that we’ve all been hoping for, Loyola needs a president and vice president who are willing to aim high and are passionate about the issues that students find important.

The team has already shown they can make tangible improvements on campus. Poirier, chair of the Justice Committee for two of the three years she’s been on USGA, worked to get water bottle refill stations installed around campus. She has spearheaded the water bottle ban (which is also up for a vote on next week’s ballot and has been previously endoresed by the Editorial Board). Serving her second year in USGA and currently chairing the Residence Life and Dining Committee, McDowell has made small changes within Loyola dining through the creation of the Cuisine Team, a liaison between students and Aramark.

Presidential candidate Matthew Razek and running mate Tori Spears also boast some impressive accomplishments within USGA. Razek, who has a reputation for being easy to work with, has been on USGA for three years and served his last two as Speaker of the Senate. He also has a working relationship with many of the administrators on campus. Spears has leadership background in Greek Life and within the athletic department from her time as a student-athlete. Though this is Spears’ first year on USGA, she co-sponsored the water bottle refill station movement and water bottle ban legislation as a member of the Residence Life and Dining Committee.  While the Editorial Board finds their experience impressive, these candidates failed to communicate exactly how they would combat rising tuition or lower major requirements, issues they said were important to them. The vague nature of their platform does not convey the level of knowledge and passion expressed by Poirier and McDowell.

Junior Eftiola Trebicka and sophomore Nicholas Ramirez are also running. With a driving personality and sense of responsibility, Trebicka is known to accomplish the goals she sets. They have admirable aims, such as improving four-year graduation rates and making sure students are prepared for life after Loyola, but this team of candidates did not clearly articulate how they would go about achieving these goals. As part of the Academic Affairs committee, Trebicka worked to lower the graduation requirements to 120 credit hours. Nevertheless, this duo has not been involved with USGA for as long as the other candidates and lacked a defined vision for their administration in their interview.

The remaining pair of candidates is Matthew Smith and Derek Gliwa. The Editorial Board questions whether these two take the issues seriously or could efficiently lead USGA when they are not currently in, nor have ever been, part of the organization.

Despite their differences in experience and the variety of goals each of these teams have, we commend each of the candidates for their plans to keep students in the loop about actions throughout the upcoming year, something that USGA has been sorely lacking. Plans ranged from Smith/Gliwa’s suggestion of placing comment boxes on Loyola’s campus or the USGA website, to Razek/Spears’ plan to hold special forums where student can meet with administrators and USGA, to Poirier/McDowell’s Twitter hashtag #JumpOnItUSGA for students to send direct complaints and suggestions. Having a medium where students can voice their concerns is essential for enacting campus-wide change via social media.

We find Poirier and McDowell the most impressive of the contenders to lead USGA next year. Out of all the candidates, these two most clearly laid out their plans for the upcoming year and were the most passionate about their goals. Whether or not they can follow through on their promises remains to be seen, and we hope that inaction does not cause us to reconsider our endorsement. But Poirier/McDowell’s agenda and attitude are the right ones for Loyola, and their knowledge and energy give us hope that it can become reality.

To learn more about the candidates, check out the full-length videos of The PHOENIX’s interviews with each ticket. Voting takes place via email on March 27-28.

28 Comments

  1. ConcernedStudent says:

    This shows just how completely out of touch the Phoenix is with reality. Julia Poirier leading anything? Please. She spends half the week partying and the other half recovering. 

    She would be an absolute joke to any administrators she would need to deal with. 

    • unconcernedstudent says:

      That is simply not true. Having worked with Julia Poirier in numerous campus organizations, Im constantly amazed at the amount she gets done and the quality of her work. 

    • Not_Okay says:

      I’m glad someone said it. But thats not the issue. I am a member of USGA and a member of her committee and I am offended and hurt at the fact that she has taken so much credit for work that I also done, its not okay. 

    • Kwalker6 says:

      This is not okay. First off, I Julia works her ass off for what she believes in. She came to the debate today (were you there?)  from Springfeild where she was lobbying our senators for environmental issues, ran to the event and is driving back to springfeild in the morning. So before you say blantant lies you should really befriend her, or at least have a conversation with her be you will be rudely awakened.
      And does she lead things?  you are so misinformed. the fact that you posted this is insulting.  She’s the head of Justice committee, a strong member of oxfam, a powerful leader in LIFT and much more. She’s involved more than just USGA.

      Before you make personal attacks you should get your facts straight. This a Low blow and uncalled for.  Attacking the person is the lowest form of argument. If you’re a student of Loyola wouldn’t you want to talk about the issues?

      • Voice of Reason says:

        First of all, I want to say that I agree that it is not right to personally attack a person. That being said, you seem to know Julia pretty well but all you are doing is talking about personal issues as well (that is what a great person Julia is). Now, I have a couple friends in USGA who have really expressed their hurt because of how Julia is taking complete credit for something that was a group effort. Does that seem right to you?
        Also, if we are to actually focus on the issues and read about the campaigns and experience, which I have done, we will find that Poirer/McDowell are not the best candidates for the job. I do think they hold the advantage because many students read the Phoenix and do not realize how uncreditable the Phoenix actually is, but I hope that students can look past this.
        In the end, it is a popularity contest. Only 20% of the students vote, and 19% of those students are basically direct friends with a candidate. Hopefully, we can get more student involvement in the future in regards to USGA elections, so that the wrong candidates do not take up the Presidential posts, like Poirer/McDowell possibly.

  2. Confused says:

    Poirier/McDowell has selected the most obvious issues to base their campaign on and have said surface level things in regards to them. I won’t be surprised if they can woo votes from people. But where is the higher level thinking and capability behind these candidates?  I am not sure if they really know what the university has to offer on some of the issues they pointed out. Poirier/McDowell cannot handle the job. They would be worse than some of the predecessors … which is bad.  I hope they do not take too many votes away from the team that could actually do some good for Loyola.
     

    • Not Confused says:

      It’s much better than the other candidates! What do they have? Not anything near as realistic as the PoirierMcDowell platform

      • That's funny says:

        You’re calling the PoirerMcDowell platform realistic? Good one. News Flash: Lowering tuition is definitely not going to happen because of PoirerMcDowell. All their platform is are empty promises in order to get elected. Sorry you fell for it :(

  3. Sorry says:

    Julia Poirier is a very nice person. But does not have the ability to be the next Student Body President. I really think a team that is qualified should have this position.
     

  4. WrongChoice says:

    Couldn’t agree more with “Confused” and “Not_Okay”. The Poirer/McDowell campaign is simply full of lofty promises that they will never come close to achieving. Not to mention, they are falsely taking credit for USGA achievements and their committee achievements by not mentioning they were only successful due to the work of others. Julia Poirer is way too liberal with no practical ideas on how to support that sort of change. How are those signs of a good leader? Loyola Phoenix, I’m afraid you chose the wrong candidates.

  5. Senor Pancho says:

    Haters Gonna Hate

  6. Really Phoenix? says:

    Julia likes to take credit for everything even if she was only a part of it. She said tonight that she has been the only person to tell Dr. Kelly that she has a problem with tuition. That simply isn’t true. 

    She also said that diversity and tuition were issues that weren’t discussed until she brought them up. ALSO UNTRUE. These are issues that USGA has been tackling for a while (whether or not they have been successful is a different story). 

    Her idea of a line by line statement of where our money is going is simply unworkable. Do you know how many purchases Loyola makes in a month, to think nothing of a year? Does she really think that students are going to read line-by-line what the university has spent money on? Please. Loyola’s financial statements are online. You can read them there going back several years. If she knew anything about how Loyola’s budget works she would know her position is entirely unworkable.
    In the end, people shouldn’t attack Julia as a person. She’s probably a lovely woman and a nice person. But, what people should talk about is the complete unrealistic platform she has, and the fact that many people who have worked with her haven’t liked the results she’s produced, nor do they care for the way she carries herself. 

  7. The Phoenix is Irrelevant says:

    Julia Poirier would probably be a worse president than Tony Catalano was. And that’s saying something. 

  8. TheMinorityVoice says:

    It’s funny to see a candidate so concerned for diversity and not even know what it is like on a personal level. One thing is to be hopeful, but another is to take action. I agree something does need to be done about it, because as Diverse as loyola puts us out to be this campus is not, and I’m saying this as a minority student, in an org that is underfunded, under appreciated, and probably not even known, along with other minority orgs. 

    I would vote for a candidate that has first hand experience with that situation, along with experience in Loyola policies. personally I believe Trebicka and Ramirez, represent not only the minority groups that should be exposed more to the light, but also a team with real hands experience with making all these “expectations” and “promises” come true. It would be nice to see some color in the student government 

    • Don Cheadle says:

      Every club at Loyola thinks that they are underfunded and unrepresented (including the ones I’m in). Talk to students at other universities and ask how much money THEY got for their club, likely next to nothing. 

      Also, why should a club that a minority of students can participate in receive more funding than clubs that all students can participate in?

    • AnotherMinority says:

      I am also a minority student and I would agree with this comment completely, except that I do not believe they are the best candidates.
      If we are looking for experience, Matt Rasek has everything. I am seriously amazed with how much he is involved in. It makes so much sense that someone like him would be able to go into next year and make the biggest impact for the school because he already has so many close relationships with faculty and staff.

  9. The Phoenix is Irrelevant says:

    Julia is campaigning on three issues: dining, tuition, and diversity. Why? Because she doesn’t have a handle on any of the other issues at this university. Academic affairs, shared governance, athletics, registered student organizations, anything to do with facilities or our transportation services like 8RIDE and the shuttle…the list goes on and on.

    And if you look at her platform, you can see that she doesn’t really have a handle on the issues she’s campaigning on. 

    Let’s take a look at her platform on dining sustainability. She says that she would work with Aramark to ensure students’ needs are being met and exceeded. There is already a Cuisine Team in place for Aramark to get student input and that input has already been used to enact changes in the dining halls. There is also a Dining Services Advising Committee that reports directly to Dr. Rob Kelly and includes representatives from across campus (students, staff, administrators)…Of course that doesn’t mean we should stop expressing dissatisfaction, but that means that the mechanisms to do that are already there. What would she do differently? She also wants to create a bicycle friendly campus. Do we have a bicycle unfriendly campus? There are bike racks everywhere and bicycles available for rent. 

    Now, let’s take a look at lower tuition. Her two solutions are not at all plausible. Grandfathered tuition would be a nice idea, except for the fact that A) it’s unfair to ask one group of students to pay more for the same services as another student just because they got here first, and B) the only school that I know that does this is George Washington U, which has an endowment of over a BILLION dollars. Loyola’s is just north of 300 million. Not to shabby, but the gulf between our endowment and GW’s is fierce.

    Finally, let’s look at her diversity platform. She writes, “It is necessary for Loyola to have more services for promoting diversity and investment from an administrative level. Loyola should be creating an environment that is not exclusive, but thoughtful and expansive.” First of all, the services to engage diversity are already here: STARS, Black Men’s Initiative, Diversity Council, LUCES, The People’s Institute, Men’s Project, and various other programs from SDMA and First Year Experience are there already. They definitely need to be strengthened but Julia doesn’t address how she would do that. Secondly, as a minority student I find her comment that we shouldn’t be creating an exclusive environment to be insulting. If I didn’t want my school to be exclusive I would’ve gone to community college. I want Loyola to be picky about the students it accepts. That doesn’t mean abandoning diversity and it’s insulting to me as a minority that in her mind Loyola has to bend over backwards on this front because apparently students of color can’t achieve on the same level as anyone else – at least that’s the assumption she’s making.

    The fact that the Phoenix endorsed this girl is proof positive of something most of campus already knows – the Phoenix is a complete joke, filled with limousine liberals who find a comrade in Julia Poirier. It’s a shame that the Phoenix chooses to use it’s sounding board in such a reckless manner. It’s quite clear, even from watching the videos interviewing the tickets, that Julia is not at all ready to be president, and that the Phoenix was doing everything it could to swing things her way. If you want a realistic option, vote for Matt Razek or Eftiola Tribecka.

    TL;DR – Julia Poirier and the Phoenix are both jokes. Don’t vote for her and use copies of the Phoenix to keep you dry from the rain instead of as reading material. 

  10. Selfish says:

    All I hear when PoirerMcDowell speak is “me me me me me! i’m awesome i’m awesome i’m awesome”

    • SoSelfish says:

      Yea, all she says is ‘I did this, i did that’
      She does not understand that there is a whole committee that was working on the issue and deserves all the more credit, but she gives no recognition. Completely Selfish!

  11. Karis Hustad says:

    Hello all-  I would like to add my voice to this conversation.  In all transparency I support Poirier/McDowell.  From talking to them, listening to debates and reading their website, I believe they have the experience and passion to make a change that USGA has not been able to do in years past.  I commend the Phoenix for this endorsement and Poirier/McDowell for their campaign. 

    However, this string of comments is very upsetting to me.  Though I am not voting for any of the other candidates, if they had gotten the Phoenix endorsement I would not resort to personal attacks and un-researched conjectures under false names.  I believe if you honestly have a problem with a candidate, you should be able to voice that concern using your real name and in a respectful manner that fosters discourse (hence the name of the section of the paper) and discussion, using factual evidence and logic to back up your points. 

    In addition, the Phoenix is an award-winning newspaper that has covered issues that are very important to students in a highly professional and ethical matter.  I know several members of the editorial board, and I believe this is one of the smartest, fairest groups of students that has ever run this paper. Once again, I commend them for a well-thought out editorial in an election that more of our student body should care about. 

    This is my personal opinion, and I welcome any responses. However, I would request that you use your real name if you are responding to my post.  Thank you. 

    -Karis Hustad, Junior

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