The Eastern Echo has decided not to endorse any candidate in this year’s Student Government Presidential election. The three candidates running are Matthew Norfleet, Josh Lowe and David Yanagi. Based on their platforms and what they are promising, they either do not fully recognize the limits of the position they’re running for, or they are pandering to the Student Body and making promises they cannot keep.
All three candidates are running on making EMU more eco-friendly, either by placing a recycling bin next to every trash can or installing energy saving lighting systems. Is there really a recycling problem at EMU? Are the current bins overflowing? The candidates call for tuition savings and longer library hours, so at a time of strained budgets, where will we find money for installing expensive light sensory systems?
Norfleet calls for another 0-0-0 tuition freeze for freshman that will remain in place for the duration of their EMU attendance. Sounds great, except that inflation increases every year. Where is the university going to find the money to keep up?
Besides, according to the President’s Council on State Universities of Michigan’s Report on Tuition and Fees, EMU is ranked 13th of the 15 public Michigan universities in terms of tuition costs. EMU is already one of the least expensive schools to attend.
Norfleet also promises to impose a 125 percent cap on food prices for stores on campus. How is the Student Government president going to set prices for stores? That’s something the U.S. president cannot even do.
Josh Lowe promises to work with EMU and the Ypsilanti City Council to repair Huron Street. It’s true that this is a road in need of repair, but it will take much more than the EMU Student Government president speaking with city council members to get the millions of dollars needed to properly complete such a task.
Yanagi, Norfleet and Lowe also make promises to help solve the parking problem on campus. There is no parking problem on campus. Commuters might have to walk about five minutes to get from North Lot during peak hours, but there is parking on campus.
There are elements of the candidates’ platforms, such as Yanagi’s promise to hold the
Administration and Board of Regents fiscally accountable, that we agree with. But one or two issues we agree with cannot balance the scales enough for The Echo to seriously endorse any of these candidates.
We would liked to have seen a candidate speak more to holding accountable the Board of Regents’ for their decisions and making their meetings more transparent. The closed door and ad-hoc meetings that subvert the Michigan Opens Meetings Act need to be addressed. It is behind those doors that the decisions for where much of our tuition dollars and monies acquired from the state will be made.
A Student Government president should provide students’ voices in those matters, which can actually make a difference, not promising to pave roads and solve non-existent problems. But then again, maybe they are practicing to become politicians.