Absent debate, voting is what matters

| Staff Editorial |

Election season for Pittsburg State’s Student Government Association is coming to a close. Unfortunately, The Collegio is unable to perform its usual role and endorse one of the contending parties.
Both parties – Letner/Hebrlee, led by Jake Letner for president and Jaecy Hebrlee for vice president, and Gorilla Alliance, led by Jordan Schaper for president and Jaci Gilchrist for vice president – will, if elected, be well suited for office.
Letner, Schaper and Gilchrist are all SGA veterans who have each played an important role in the assembly.
Letner has devoted the last year to planning for the Big Event, establishing ties to the community and bearing the weight of coordinating the single largest student project at Pittsburg State.
He’s shown himself to be an adept organizer and politician, building a powerful support base that will prove useful if he is elected. Hebrlee is a newcomer to SGA, but there’s an argument to be made for a fresh perspective.
Their opponents, Schaper and Gilchrist, have pushed for significant SGA reforms that will boost the assembly’s efficiency, expand student benefits and improve each senator’s connection to his or her constituents.
They seem best at articulating their message and, as keen students of the political process, have an advantage in the functional side of SGA. It seems unlikely that a Gorilla Alliance administration will have much of a problem with idle hands.
Ultimately, it’s hard to say which side edges the other because all these points are theoretical. Unlike previous years, no debate will be held.
Trying to keep the campaign friendly, SGA’s election board has mandated that both parties avoid negative messaging.
The board later confirmed that its members decided not to sponsor a debate because, they fear, it would foster “personal attack campaigning.” This is a laudable goal, to be sure, but the board overlooked key advantages of having a debate.
Without a closer understanding of how each party can defend its positions under pressure, students will have less cause to be engaged in what those parties want to do.
There should be no question that more ought to be done to engage students in SGA. Participation in past SGA elections has been distressingly low: 10 percent of the student body is considered a good turnout.
When the cost of education is growing steadily higher every year and important political issues are being decided, SGA has key responsibilities. Meeting these challenges is a lot harder if most students aren’t involved.
We are disappointed in our inability to make a single recommendation this year, but under the circumstances, it wouldn’t be fair to either side if we did.
The best advice to be offered, indeed the best thing any student can do for our campus right now is vote. All students may seize their chance to have a say on campus through GUS, starting at 7:30 a.m. on Tuesday, April 8, until 5 p.m. on Thursday, April 10.

Why should you vote for Letner/Hebrlee

In the last two and a half years I’ve spent as a student ambassador, I have learned a lot about the university.
My thirst for knowledge only increased as I became a member of the Crimson Club. My work with alumni constituents at Pittsburg State events and my professional working relationships with Steve Scott, university president, and his staff have empowered and inspired me, as a regular student, to take a more active role on my campus.
I have spent a lot of time in leadership roles, particularly in Greek life, and now I’m looking forward to a new experience. One of the keys to Jake and I being a successful team is our desire to talk with and poll students.
Among the goals we will work tirelessly to accomplish once elected is to hold our elected representatives in Topeka and Washington accountable for their actions and bring all university professors on board with the Canvas system.
This fall, the race for the governor of Kansas will be on.
We want the candidates for the highest office in our state to know that residents of southeast Kansas and students of Pittsburg State care about the issues, many of which directly affect our lives as college students. That’s why we will bring the candidates to campus and host a debate.
The Canvas system represents the future of learning: classroom instruction fully mediated with technology. I am sure you will agree with me that I find it irritating when instructors fail to upload grades to Canvas or use it at all.
As a member of Crimson Club, I know specifically the administrators that I can speak to who can implement a university-wide standard for Canvas usage, which would include mandating that all professors upload grades to the system.
It was Mahatma Gandhi who said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” This is my moment to make a change and be a part of something far greater than myself.
Vote for me because you see me as a capable leader with a genuine interest in what is best for the students here at Pittsburg State.
When Jake asked me what we should call our party, it was my idea that we just stick with our names. I don’t vote for parties, I vote for leaders. And now I’m asking you to do the same. Vote for leaders: Vote for Letner/Hebrlee.

Jaecy Hebrlee is a senior in general studies and the vice-presidential candidate for the Letner/Hebrlee party in the 2014-2015 SGA election. SGA elections are set for 7:30 a.m. on Tuesday, April 8, to 5 p.m. on Thursday, April 10. All students can vote during this time on GUS.

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