Student leaders react to all-Greek platform
Posters, fliers and chalkings are plastered across campus doors, walls and sidewalks reading: VOTE GREEK, VOTE VALUE.
Out of 19 candidates running under the “Pursuit of Value” platform in the current University of Colorado Student Union elections, 19 are part of some Greek institution.
The Tri-executive candidates running on the all-Greek ticket and those on other platforms have strong opinions regarding this issue.
Taylor Portman, one of the Tri-executive candidates for the Value platform, feels that the status of he and his fellow candidates as Greeks does not hamper their ability to represent the student body.
“We certainly don’t want to be considered a special interest ticket in any way,” Portman said. “Jamie (Smolski) and I are part of the business school student government and we, of course, want to represent business students when we are Tri-executives we want represent students from the music school and the school of arts and sciences, college of engineering, all of those. We really support every student group at this campus, we support people getting involved in student groups at this campus and we want to value every student voice at this campus.”
Portman’s fellow Tri-executive candidate on the Value platform Jamie Smolski agrees.
“It’s about all coming together as students of this university not necessarily with special interest group in particular,” Smolski said. “It’s definitely students leading students together rather than separating us off and putting us within labels. We want to come together as one.”
The Unity platform says that it prides itself on bringing in candidates from a vast multitude of student groups and affiliations across campus each of whom is a member of minority student groups.
Sara Davine, one of Unity’s Tri-executive candidates and director of Greek relations for Panhellenic Sororities, takes a different view.
“I think that it is a really good thing to see Greek’s taking their own prerogative and really working hard to represent their community,” Davine said. “But on the same token, I think it’s important that we remember that the student government is for the students and we are a very large student body and diverse student body that needs equal representation. We’re all here to fight for the things that matter most to us in our communities.”
Thomas Nelson Rowe of the “Hawkins and Homies” platform has a similar opinion.
“The value ticket has some good things to offer,” Rowe said. “However, they do represent only 15 percent of the student population trying to represent an entire student body. I believe that electing a single ticket is going to vertically integrate UCSU which will give (the Greeks) too much power over the entire UCSU budget.”
The issue of Greek involvement in UCSU has been a contentious issue this semester and has lead to polarization among the current Tri-executives as well.
Ashley Nakagawa and Charles Johnson, two of the current Tri-executives, released the following statement in support of the Unity ticket:
“We fully support the Unity ticket because it is representative of the whole campus, not just one community. By having Tri-executives from different communities, the potential to make change is multiplied exponentially. An all-Greek ticket cannot create and improve relationships as effectively as a more representative ticket. If we look back to UCSU budget hearings a few weeks ago, Inter-Fraternity Council leadership and supporting fraternities introduced the Fair and Equal Access Bill, which threatened to close the Rec Center, Wardenburg Health Center and the UMC, unless fraternities were allowed free access to these facilities. This was in spite of the fraternity’s refusal to abide by campus guidelines. We support the ticket that embraces our university’s nationally recognized programs and helps students get the most for their fees. CU is considered a ‘Public Ivy League School’ in part because of our student run programs and unique student government. We cannot keep our stellar national reputation if we constantly cut our successful programs. The true value of your student government relies on its ability to represent all students. For the future of your degree, Vote Unity.”
The third Tri-executive and member of Sigma Pi fraternity, Andrew Aitchison, has shown his support for the Value ticket. Aitchison has taken a role as mentor and press spokesman for the Value candidates.
“The Pursuit of Value ticket is fully committed to representing the interests and needs of all of our campus’ students,” Aitchison said. “Not a single Value candidate is running in this election to represent only one perspective; in fact, one of Value’s primary concerns is to ensure that all students’ views are heard and represented. To insinuate that this ticket has a Greek agenda is insane, as Greeks only represent less than 15 percent of our campus and the Value ticket’s primary goal is to represent the needs of our campus in its entirety.”
Despite differing opinions of an all-Greek ticket on every side, the Value platform maintains a following that is neck-in-neck with that of their competitors. While no election results have been released this early into the election, member figures for each platform’s Facebook group (as of Tuesday evening) are very tight. “Value’s” 1,335 members to “Unity’s” 988 members and “Hawkins and Homies” page at 308 members.
Contact Campus Press staff writer Brandon Springer at firstname.lastname@example.org