Despite what some might say, the Undergraduate Assembly is a body of students that has the potential to have a large amount of influence at Penn. Members hold substantial influence with administrators, take on important projects throughout the year, and are generally tasked with bringing together the voices of different student groups across campus.
Whether they’ve succeeded in having “responsible and effective participation in the organization and control of the affairs of the University,” as their constitution states, is another story, and has historically depended on the body’s leadership. Therefore, when evaluating the candidates running in the upcoming UA election, we looked for those who have proven to be advocates for the Penn community and its many disparate voices, and those who seem like they will be able to bring effective, realistic change within the next year.
With this in mind, The Daily Pennsylvanian Opinion Board endorses Ray Clark and Andrew Gegios for the UA Presidency and Vice Presidency.
It wasn’t an easy decision. All three of the running pairs have strong platforms and valid reasons to be supported, and also provide cohesive, intelligent plans for the next year. Refreshingly, all three pairs have also run largely positive campaigns.
However, we feel that Ray and Andrew provide the best balance of institutional knowledge and forward-thinking representation of their constituency. To put it simply, with Ray and Andrew, we know what we’re getting.
Ray has held himself accountable for taking on ambitious projects in the past and has consistently answered publicly for causes he has advocated for, both within and outside of the context of the UA. Coupled with Andrew’s role in restoring the UA’s Annual Report, this history lends credence to the duo’s promises of advocacy and accountability.
Given their experience — particularly Ray’s as the previous Vice President — Ray and Andrew are well positioned to take the reigns with a minimal institutional learning curve.
Furthermore, the projects that they are suggesting — such as expanding mental health initiatives, advocating for the unlimited SEPTA deal and building a social justice center — are changes to the community that are both plausible and meaningful in scope.
Their goals of empowering student voices and engaging existing communities are appealing, and Ray and Andrew’s commitment to 100 percent transparency is commendable. Effective UA leaders are able to balance advocating for their own personal ideas with engaging and uniting the disparate voices that make up their constituency, and Ray and Andrew have the public communications experience and connections necessary to strike this balance.
Overall, we believe that Ray and Andrew are the right candidates at this moment in time to lead the UA, and are more than qualified to take office. We hope to see the student body as a whole hold them and other candidates accountable for their promises and platforms to promote meaningful change within the Penn community moving forward.
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