Experience should not be deciding factor for voters

Editorials featured in the Forum section are solely the opinions of their individual authors.

Jake Flittner and Sangita Sharma’s platform includes ideas that the university is already in the process of executing: creating a Campus Police night watch to improve safety on campus, adding GPS units to all of the Carnegie Mellon shuttle buses, and improving athletic and performance facilities. This last initiative was just published as part of the University’s 10 Year Plan. Jake, a veteran in student government, must have known this — why does he pass off these ideas as original?

While I’m glad to hear that Jake and Sangita are supportive of these initiatives, the university will see them through whether or not Jake and Sangita are elected. More significantly, Jake and Sangita are dishonest to present those ideas as their own.

They do have original ideas in their platform, but those ideas are largely unrealistic. A glaring example of this is their Diversity Honors Program. The idea that we can quantify diversity with a point system is unfeasible, presumptuous, and offensive. Furthermore, the narrow focus of the program, which includes only “cultural events created by ethnic groups on campus,” reveals the candidates’ own narrow-mindedness. Why should we choose to define diversity as only ethnic differences and ignore areas such as religious diversity, socioeconomic diversity, and diversity of interests? There is so much value in exploring all of these differences and learning from them.

Turi Alcoser and Kelsey Briggs have displayed a more inclusive philosophy. Throughout their platform, they focus on the quality of interaction between the diverse members of our community — not the “quantity.” For example, their platform includes a plan to improve graduate-undergraduate collaboration. Jake and Sangita do not mention graduate students in their platform. The student body president and vice president are obligated to represent both graduate students and undergrads, and graduate student voters should take note of the candidates whose platforms reflect this obligation.

So yes, Jake is the most experienced candidate when it comes to student government. However, voters should consider whether experience is really what matters when it comes to choosing the best student body president. I encourage everyone to check out the candidates’ websites.

Most importantly, please make sure to vote. You should have a say in who represents you.