Endorsements in student communities

Student organizations should not make student government endorsements.

Meghan O'Connor

For as long as newspapers have been in circulation, they have been endorsing political candidates. Although professional newspapers endorse political candidates, it should not translate to the student government platform being endorsed by student organizations.

This week the campus has been bustling with student government campaigns. I would be hard-pressed to remember a walk to class this week that didn’t involve my eyes wandering to the endless posters for candidates or students sporting T-shirts for their chosen student leaders.

This week has also been a time when endorsements for particular candidates have been revealed.

Being a member of a news organization, I can attest that remaining objective and a grounded voice in the community is a trying task. Washington and Lee University student Michael McGuire spoke on the difficulties of being a campus reporter by saying “difficulties are heightened when the papers they work for endorse one candidate or political party over another.”

Additionally, there are limited platforms on the campus where voices can be heard. If the campus newspaper promotes a candidate, where does that leave the other potential candidates? Whereas national election candidates have a marketplace of media outlets visibly supporting them, local or campus elections rarely do.

At the University of Arkansas, the student government itself asked the campus newspaper to stop making endorsements in order to hold a “fair election” and to avoid any “conflicts of interest.”

Endorsements are a bit of a convoluted idea. While the face of the organization is backing a particular candidate, there will certainly be members of the organization who will vote in the other direction. It isn’t an accurate reflection of the overall group.

We are all students and members of this academic community. I admire the students who have put themselves into the public’s eyes for the past few months to be considered for a student government position. It can’t be easy.

With that said, we should all support one another. You may not be able to vote for all parties involved, but it need not be a battle of who can gain the most endorsements from student organizations.