SGA Executive Endorsement

Photo courtesy of Rohan Sohani and Grace Swift

In Technique tradition, the Editorial Board endorses a candidate as the opening of the polls nears on March 14. After extensive discussion, the Board has decided to endorse Rohan Sohani and Grace Swift as candidates for the 2022-2023 Student Government Association (SGA) President and Executive Vice President. Before discussing the merits of each candidate, the Board would like to recognize that compared to previous campaigns, this year’s campaigns have progressed much slower than previous years — specifically the research, the communicating and the campaigning. Rather than a reflection of the candidates, the Board believes this is a symptom of a much larger problem — the flaws of the internal structure of SGA.

The stagnancy of SGA as a productive organization on campus is not a new phenomenon. As the Board mentioned in the review of this past year’s executive officers, it is one of the most pressing issues facing this year’s candidates. As apathy from the student body towards SGA rockets and internal positions become more and more difficult to fill, if a change is not made within the organization, the students’ trust in SGA’s organizational capacity will deteriorate.

Faced with this issue, both campaigns gave minimal information on how they planned to solve this. Sohani and Swift pointed towards a conservative approach — encouraging the continuance of current projects without incorporating any substantive solutions to the internal issues into their platform. Srija Somaka and Granger West advocated for the addition of new positions, including approximately twelve seats in the Undergraduate House of Representatives and a Vice President of Student Organizations. SGA is barely filling its positions now, so it is unrealistic to base internal restructuring on the contingency that more students will join. 

Outside of the realm of the internal workings of Student Government, both candidates have encouraging, but overlapping, campaign promises for changes on campus. Both teams emphasize diversity, access to campus resources and prioritization of the health and well-being of students. Even though their campaigns focus on similar issues, both teams’ approaches were vastly different. While Sohani and Swift’s campaign purposely focused on making large, overarching promises (their pillars), Somaka and West created a very specific list detailing all their complaints. Both of these approaches have their own benefits and drawbacks, but we believe that Sohani and Swift’s promises, while vague, were far more actionable and efficient than Somaka and West’s. 

Moreover, the work that Sohani and Swift have already managed to complete in a flawed system makes us more confident in the progress they will be able to make. Two notable highlights from the Board’s recent review include the creation of a MyDaq lending program and the Midtown Free Fridge. Sohani and Swift, respectively, were driving forces behind these initiatives, and the Board recognizes the work they put into their projects. The Board  believes and hopes they will bring this same energy to their potential presidency. 

Moving forward, the Board encourage Sohani and Swift to flesh out the smaller issues, as Somaka and West have done, in addition to the bigger problems their pillars address. Some of the biggest impacts created by past administrations have been from solving small problems that have been affecting Tech students without their knowledge. For example, as mentioned in last week’s executive review, one of the highlights of Sam Ellis and Ajanta Choudhary’s administration was their work to staff the Office of the Student Integrity (OSI). These small changes, while not as publicly large as other campaign promises, have had far-reaching impacts. For example, we urge Sohani and Swift to incorporate various portions of Somaka and West’s campaigns such as zero-waste game days, integrating pronouns into professional spaces and adding lights to Couch Park. It is easy to promise to fix mental health or put a bar on Tech Square, but it’s much harder to take a step back from the glorious promises and fix the real problems plaguing the system. This election, more than any other, has made it increasingly apparent that SGA is at a pivotal moment where they can choose to change the narrative that SGA previous administrations have set. More than anything else, we endorse Sohani and Swift because we believe that they have a better chance to enact change–for student government, for this campus, and for the students.