Mustang Daily editor in chief Marlize van Romburgh and managing editor Giana Magnoli sat down for an exclusive interview with ASI presidential candidates Kelly Griggs, Jon McElroy and Jacob Alvarez.
Although the Mustang Daily has endorsed a candidate for ASI president in past years, we will not be doing so this year. An endorsement is a sought-after stamp of approval and a significant statement to make regarding someone’s qualifications — which is exactly why we choose to endorse nobody this year.
Jon McElroy, Kelly Griggs and Jacob Alvaraz would each bring their respective qualifications and ideas to the position and would each be assets to ASI and the student body — but simply put, nobody shines enough for us. We can’t endorse anyone this year because no candidate is clearly worthy of an endorsement.
It’s hard to even pick out distinct platforms amongst the three. McElroy, Griggs and Alvaraz all have commendable goals for improved student-administration communication, greater transparency of ASI processes and campus sustainability and diversity ideas. All three have addressed some budgetary and student fee concerns. Yet nobody in particular sets him or herself apart from the other two. Before we would endorse, we wanted to know exactly what this new leader would bring to the student body. What we found was that although each candidate brings ideas to the table, none of them presented long-term, actionable plans to bring those ideas to fruition.
McElroy has fresh and innovative ideas but a lack of experience. His 10-point platform is full of initiatives designed to improve student experience and he’s emphasized the need for greater transparency within student government. Specifically, he’s said that he’d like to utilize the Web to make more information, such as the ASI budget, readily available to students online. While these are good ideas, they still don’t add up to a complete and solid platform. McElroy’s lack of leadership experience is cause for concern as the university faces daunting and unprecedented new challenges. The ideas are there, but he fails to paint the big picture.
Griggs is running her platform based on the idea that, if elected, she would have no personal agenda. She sees the job of ASI president as a mere conduit between students and administration, and while this is a noble idea in theory, in practice a president must have clear and actionable goals for her tenure. Griggs does promise to pursue registration reforms if elected. However, she outlines no plan of how to implement the changes she’s pushing for, including better class availability and a clearer registration process. Her background in student government is admirable, but she gives no clear path to the changes she promises and relies too heavily on the ‘no agenda’ motto.
Alvarez’s commitment to budgetary transparency is encouraging, especially during a time in which Cal Poly students are more concerned than ever about where each dollar of their tuition money is going. However, most of his ideas seem more like quick fixes than long-term solutions. And he gives no realistic outline for his larger ideas; giving registration priority to graduating seniors sounds great, but how will it be achieved? Like Griggs, he too has previous student government experience, which while an asset, doesn’t supplement the lack of actionable goals.
We encourage you, if you have not yet done so, to review the campaign coverage so far (conveniently located in one place on our site) and to make your own informed conclusions, because this year we simply can’t tell you who to vote for. And since this is an instant runoff election, choose your second choice wisely; without a clear frontrunner, this vote could come down to who has the most second place votes.
This year, instead of outlining their platforms in detail during the campaign process, the candidates relied too much on campaign buzzwords like ‘diversity’ and ‘sustainability’ to do their talking. They’re too much alike to differentiate between their overlapping plans and platforms. And, while all of them have good ideas, nobody stands out as a leader with the ability to follow through, certainly not enough to warrant a staff endorsement. Maybe next year ASI elections will feature someone with a little less rhetoric and a little more sparkle.