2023-2024 SGA executive endorsement

Photos courtesy of Student Government Association

As per Technique custom, the Editorial Board annually endorses a Student Government Association (SGA) candidate as the elections approach. After thorough deliberation, the Board has elected not to endorse any candidates for the 2023-2024 SGA President and Executive Vice President. However, we still wish to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the platform put forth by Aanjan Sikal and Harrison Baro, the only party on this year’s ticket. 

The most notable motif of Sikal and Baro’s platform is its non-specificity. Throughout their guided principles, they use vague verbiage to describe issues on campus. For example, the pair express their commitment to inclusivity and advocacy for various minorities on campus. However, they do so with a single bullet in their campaign which was not largely actionable since it utilized basic phrases to encompass a nuanced and difficult campus concern. 

The principles also mention how they want to remedy issues such as a need for late-night dining options and stronger Wi-Fi availability. These initiatives, while admirable, face a similar issue and feel like they are underdeveloped and lack background research.

For example, while much of the student body can attest that stronger and more widespread wifi availability would be beneficial, it is an issue that The Office of Information Technology (OIT) has been continuously working on and has subsequently faced many obstacles with potential implementations. The existing work of students and administration that is currently in effect is not addressed, and some very common issues that arise in trying to solve these problems are also not mentioned.

Sikal and Baro run into a similar problem with their principle regarding late-night dining options. A conversation with dining would’ve made it clear that the issues with late-night dining are fairly specific and often logistical in nature, such as with understaffing. However, their simple claim that they will work to bring late-night options demonstrates a lack of research and actionable planning in designing their platform.

The pair also makes note of the importance of improving the reliability and accessibility of healthcare services and proposes a conversation with the Counseling Center. While we appreciate their effort to identify the root of the problem, Sikal and Baro lack further actionable steps to address the deeper structural issues that exacerbate issues with mental healthcare on campus. 

A noteworthy shortcoming of the counseling services at Tech is a lack of competitive pay for counselors which results in understaffing, high wait times and overworked counselors. This is a relatively commonly known issue; other campaigns such as Rohan Sohani and Grace Swift’s 2022-2023 SGA campaign discussed alternative options such as telehealth, but Sikal and Baro’s initiative was simply limited to a conversation.

Overall, we feel that Sikal and Baro’s platform is overly vague which makes it difficult to see how they plan to effectively solve the issues they have outlined. We feel that their platform is filled with unfulfillable promises — not due to a lack of care on their part, but simply due to the nature of the issues they’re taking on.

As we have mentioned before, the yearly term limit of the SGA presidency means that many projects are transitory in nature; it is almost impossible to start and finish a large-scale project within a year, and any effort to do so often neglects other continuing projects and smaller-scale issues. Moving forward, we encourage Sikal and Baro to flesh out their solutions and to lessen the scope of what they believe they can accomplish in a year. 

We believe that Sikal and Baro have the tools they need to succeed; both of their past experiences — as Vice President of Academic Affairs and Speaker of the Undergraduate House of Representatives, respectively — mean that they have a uniquely valuable view and have shown that they have the capacity to enact change on campus through SGA. 

This consensus is in no way condemning their future term; we simply feel that their current platform feels like a bare-bones structure of a campaign and we hope to see more from them moving forward.

With no other candidates on the ticket, Sikal and Baro’s inevitable win does not have to be indicative of the narrative that some of SGA’s previous administrations have perpetuated — one of inaction and stagnancy. Through the upcoming debate and during the remainder of the election, we hope to see the Sikal and Baro campaign demonstrate to the student body that they have a genuine desire to foster positive change on this campus.