Our View: The unopposed candidates

Our View

In short: Some unopposed candidates have impressive plans, others raise more questions.

Grant Cochran, who is running for vice president for external affairs, and Stephen Swinson, the candidate for vice president for student affairs, are both impressive with their visions for improving the University. Nicole Bohannon, who is running for executive vice president, and Kelly Corr, currently campaigning for executive secretary, both still have concerns about transparency to address.

Cochran has spent his time in the Senate fighting for student safety, and he plans to use his position at external affairs to continue that fight by increasing the number of signs on campus warning drivers about pedestrians. His most interesting plan is to hold an on-campus debate with gubernatorial candidates after the primaries, giving students a firsthand look at the future leader of their state. Cochran also plans to work closely with state officials in Montgomery to ensure that the University continues to garner the support it needs to succeed.

Swinson promises improvements for what matters most to many: football tickets. He wants expansion to the stadium to mean expansion to the student section. To go along with those possible seats, Swinson proposes several ideas to improve the ticket system, including expanding the ticket donation program to reduce the number of unused tickets. He also proposes a number of town hall meetings in order to increase communication between students and the SGA.

Bohannon has plenty of experience: She has spent her first two years on campus working on initiatives like RAGE: Students for Scholarships and 348-RIDE Express. She has demonstrated an ability to work with many people around the University to get things done.

When pressed with issues of transparency and ethics, however, Bohannon did not impress us. Asked how she would have handled the controversy involving several SGA members’ trip to Pasadena, Calif., she said the issue was figuring out what was in the best interest of students, but did not know what that would have been. As the chairwoman of the Senate Rules Committee, which has played an integral role in the SGA’s internal review of the incident, we expected a resounding statement of support for ethical leadership. The executive vice president should be able to spot such ethical red flags and make sure to keep not only the best interest of students in mind, but also the SGA Code of Laws.

Bohannon also said that open and public committee meetings “should be considered.” While we commend this consideration, following Alabama’s Open Meetings Act shouldn’t just be a consideration; it should be a policy. Bohannon also expressed a belief that many issues of transparency in the Senate, which she will oversee next year, are the responsibility of the SGA president, not the executive vice president.

Kelly Corr plans to use her position as executive secretary to improve communication with the rest of the campus by putting meeting minutes, the budget and other information on the website. Corr’s lack of experience – she has been on homecoming committee, but has never run for office before – is disconcerting, as is her belief that most issues of transparency, such as open meetings and better communication with students and media, are best left to other officials such as the executive vice president.

While Cochran and Swinson are prepared to assume office as they certainly will, Bohannon and Corr have more questions to answer and more plans to develop.

Our View is the consensus of The Crimson White’s editorial board.