Editor’s note: This column is the collective opinion of members of our editorial board. This is not a reported piece.
Every year, the Student Association executive board candidates come to our office and pitch their platforms to our editorial board. This year, that couldn't happen due to the pandemic.
And while the platforms we’re reading about seem incredibly encouraging and a large number of students are hoping to take part in our student government next year, we’ve decided to not endorse candidates for SA president, vice president or treasurer.
UB’s transition to a “distance-learning” model greatly impacted how we operate as a newsroom, leading to our decision to not print physical papers for the remainder of the semester. This also greatly impacted how SA -- our student government in charge of $4 million of student funds -- operates.
On Friday, the SA vice president sent an email to the student body about cancelling all “events, meetings and activities” until May 16. But the email did not mention the 2020-21 SA e-board election, which is still set to take place from Tuesday through Thursday.
We understand the importance of proceeding with certain activities -- like elections -- as planned. And shifting the election online is an excellent way to encourage participation.
But participation can only happen when students are aware of what’s going on.
Right now, many don’t know there’s still an election, as there hasn’t been an update over email -- as of Monday at 1 p.m. -- about a change of plans or the shift to online voting.
While our election preview should offer some insight, our social media platforms do not have the same outreach as a student-body email. With that in mind, we don’t feel comfortable endorsing candidates this year.
Still, many have excellent ideas revolving around advocacy and transparency -- two pivotal aspects of being a voice for students -- and we’re thrilled to see a historic race with a transgender presidential candidate and an all-female ticket.
But if the current state of the campus has limited our ability to fully vet the candidates amidst this pandemic, it's hard to imagine the rest of the student body has enough information to vote on them, or knows that voting will still take place.
We hope, given these circumstances, that our student government pushes back the election, finds a way to give students more time to consider candidates and informs them of how voting will work.
If not, we still hope students read about the candidates’ platforms, think about what they want in next year’s leaders and vote accordingly.
The editorial board can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.