Not resting on laurels
Election of McMahon means it's time to prove himself
As the result of the Student Association presidential election was announced Wednesday night, we finally saw manifest what we had been waiting to happen for some time now - for the student body to make an informed decision.
With 1,087 votes, Sam McMahon was declared SA president. And his election is historic in a particularly interesting way - he broke The Spectrum curse. For the last three years, the students have gone against our endorsements.
This time was different.
It was clear during our meeting with the candidates that McMahon was the best qualified and most capable of taking over as president for the remainder of the year. And it wasn't just a matter of degree - none of the other candidates were fit for the presidency. As we indicated before, it would have demonstrated a total lack of judgment for the student body to vote any other way.
Now, we can all share a large sigh of relief - but not for long.
As McMahon was acutely aware, the new president would be immediately thrust into the role and would not have any grace period as a learning process. And in an interview with The Spectrum after he won, he recognized the need to get started immediately.
There is no time for SA to rest on its laurels; it is now time for action. It is time to for McMahon to fulfill the promises he made during his campaign and not let his plans dissipate now that he has secured the presidency. And this is something for which The Spectrum will hold him accountable.
At the moment, McMahon is in the spotlight. And we are watching him closely.
As we said in our endorsement, we believe in him and his capacity for rebuilding SA. We think he has a strong vision for our student government, and we want his vision to become realized.
We are SA's watchdog and we consider it our solemn obligation to put pressure on power - which is precisely what we will do with McMahon. And it is because we feel so strongly that he is the right person to be president that we will make sure he is under scrutiny to fulfill his presidential duties and promises.
We have had a long history of presidential hopefuls making promises during the campaign that they have been unable to follow through on once they have stepped into office. Most recently, former SA President Nick Johns, who resigned Sept. 18, promised to completely revamp SA's website - something that never came to fruition.
McMahon's initiatives do have potential and, most importantly, they are practical. We want him to know that we expect the promises he made of the airport shuttle and the subsidized taxi services to happen. And we will be following the progress of these two plans extensively.
"I talked about my bus service, and that is something I want to plan immediately, within, like, the next week for Thanksgiving and let students know," McMahon said Wednesday after the election results were announced.
We also expect him to deliver his promise to expand the presence of UBLinked on campus - it is a worthwhile resource for students.
This election represents an important victory for the student body - let there be no ambiguity about that. But there was a level of misconduct pervasive throughout the process resulting in a vast amount of complaints filed against competing candidate Mohammad Alwahaidy's campaign supporters.
Elad Eliahu's behavior was completely unacceptable. His consistent pattern of carnival barking since he unsuccessfully ran for SA Senate has lost him any and all credibility.
McMahon's response to Eliahu's antics is somewhat understandable, but he should have kept his composure. It is important to keep in mind, however, at the time, it seemed to be a strong possibility that McMahon wasn't going to win. Eliahu's disorderly conduct may have influenced the election, which is reason for McMahon to express umbrage.
But it is also the role of a leader to rise above small-minded remarks and actions and conduct himself in a manner worthy of the position he seeks.
Now that McMahon is president, he must act above the fray. Allowing himself to become agitated by an outspoken adversary is not a sign of presidential authority. Can you imagine President Obama telling Donald Trump to "go [expletive] himself?"
The main story of this week, however, is McMahon's victory. There is no denying that elections are difficult and demanding processes, but they are also designed to prepare candidates for the intensity that accompanies the position. And as we have crossed this threshold, we have approached the true test.
In the last three years, two SA executive board members have been forced to resign due to misconduct. We are hoping that tradition ends here.
What McMahon and the rest of SA need to be aware of now is that while we are pleased with outcome of this election, we are not satisfied and are certainly not yet convinced.
We have faith in McMahon and are hoping for the best. But just know: We'll be watching.