Vote Williams for MSA President

Drew Horwood, MSA speaker of forum

 

The greatest mistake when approaching the student elections is to think they are in any way similar to a standard political race. The constituency is largely homogenous and the issues are mostly one-sided. However, we still spend our time focusing on candidate A’s stance on medical amnesty or whether candidate B is in favor of tuition decreases. The job of student body president is much more nuanced than this.

Following the debates held on Tuesday, I found myself wondering how anyone can be expected to make an informed decision based off the information we were given. This is not to say there are not differences but rather that we need to be asking different questions. The job of the Minnesota Student Association president is more that of a CEO than an elected official. The skills needed to succeed are not those of a senator but those of a good manager.

With this in mind, there is only one option: Taylor Williams. While both candidates can talk about the desire to reach out to and organize more students, Williams is the only one to have actually done it. This year, MSA’s membership has expanded to more than 80 members — many from groups with no prior involvement with the student government. Most of this expansion is directly traceable to Williams’ efforts as director of student outreach and engagement. While Williams and his running mate, Jilian Koski, have worked tirelessly to make more student voices heard, his opponent found his efforts within MSA so ineffective that he voted to eliminate his own position.

As a three-year member of MSA, I have been able to witness the actual outcome of the elections on a daily basis. Some student leaders have insulted the job of student body president, using their increased visibility to leverage “better opportunities” down the road in the most shameless form of résumé padding. Others have entered into the job full of energy and ideas only to discover they were woefully unprepared and unqualified. Only a few have reached a point from where great leadership is visible in the distance.

Williams has already reached this point. A vote for Williams is a vote for a proven leader within MSA and a dedicated advocate for students. I believe the most honest endorsement I can give is that, as a graduating senior, nothing would reassure me more about the future efficacy of MSA and the future security of the 30,000 undergraduates at the University of Minnesota than to see it left in his hands.