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The Observer endorses Shropshire-Davis

Observer Viewpoint | Friday, January 20, 2006

Saint Mary’s students will be asked to choose Monday between two of the strongest student body presidential/vice presidential tickets in recent memory.

Their difficult decision is made even harder by comparable records in leadership roles, and some tickets overlap in campaign goals.

Susan McIlduff and Maggie Seifert largely represent a continuation of Saint Mary’s student government as it stands now – McIlduff, currently vice president, has said she respects current president Kellye Mitros’ record and hopes to build upon it.

That record, however, is somewhat mixed. Mitros’ administration failed to challenge the administration’s decision to drop Pride Week, nor did student leaders communicate the reasons for the decision to the student body.

This lack of initiative, along with a sometimes-unprofessional tone at Board of Governance meetings, has lowered respect for student government in the eyes of many students.

The leadership record of Amanda Shropshire and Annie Davis, however, could not be clearer and makes them the stronger candidates for president and vice president. The pair pack a potent one-two punch with their specialties in diversity issues and recruiting and enrollment.

Shropshire has stated her first priority as president would be to restructure and tighten Saint Mary’s student government, and her record at the helm of the Student Diversity Board has proven her capable of that.

She took what was a ghost of an organization and gave it life, defining the responsibilities of its committee members and sponsoring provocative events that drew increased attendance. Based on Shropshire’s visible success with increasing support for SDB, The Observer believes she can apply the same skills to decreasing apathy and raising the profile of student government at large.

At an institution where at times politeness seems to be valued above all else, Shropshire has repeatedly proven she will not hesitate to play an aggressive role in the face of a contentious decision.

As admissions commissioner, Davis already has a working relationship with Vice President for Enrollment Management Dan Meyer and an understanding of one of the top concerns at the College.

In recent months, Meyer has called on Saint Mary’s students to help with recruiting efforts, and as student body vice president, Davis will be able to help facilitate the process.

While the Shropshire/Davis ticket does not enjoy the same glossy, businesslike image of McIlduff and Seifert, they ultimately seem more willing to pull on the gloves and fight on behalf of Saint Mary’s students. Saint Mary’s is an institution built for students, and Shropshire and Davis will ensure the student voice is heard and understood.

The victor of this tough matchup will exit the election rink and face the challenge of leading the student body in a time of transition for the College. They must work to unite divided opinions on tough issues facing the creation of a unified image for Saint Mary’s. Shropshire and Davis have what it takes “to get down and dirty” to spark a change that will maintain traditions with a twist, boost enrollment and modernize the College image.

The Observer endorses Amanda Shropshire and Annie Davis for 2006-07 Saint Mary’s student body president and vice president.