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Observer Editorial: The Observer endorses Camacho-Haas

| Wednesday, March 16, 2022

As Saint Mary’s students returned from spring break, they were welcomed back to campus by this year’s Student Government Association (SGA) elections. Two tickets are running for student body president and vice president. Hannah Yeager and Veronica Blackburn focus on rebuilding the College community in their platform while Angela Camacho and Josie Haas emphasize more effective communication and programs for underrepresented students.

Early this week, The Observer Editorial Board sat down and interviewed both tickets. After evaluating both platforms, the Board unanimously endorses Camacho-Haas.

Camacho currently serves as SGA’s vice president of operations and president of the Residence Hall Association (RHA). She is a sociology and psychology double major with minors in Spanish and film studies. Haas, a Spanish and secondary education major and English as a second language minor, currently serves as co-president of RHA’s Hall Improvement committee.

Their platform puts forth many concrete ideas for improving student life on campus, including streamlining communication through a suggestion box and collaborating with various College departments to create new programming. In addition, we believe Camacho-Haas’s combined experience in both RHA and SGA has equipped them with a strong foundation for leadership positions and an understanding of key committees across campus.

The Camacho-Haas ticket also directly mentions methods to support historically underrepresented communities in their platform, including the creation of a mentorship program for LGBTQ+ students, while Yeager-Blackburn had no specific written proposals for this area of student life.

It is clear that Camacho and Haas have set realistic expectations for what they can accomplish in their term — yet they seem determined to consider solutions that might not come into fruition in one year. “We may not see an end result at the end of our term,” they said in their interview with the Board. “We want to let the administration know what needs to be set in motion, in one way or another. [We want] to put [student issues] on their radar.”

We were impressed with Yeager and Blackburn’s dedication to the student body. The pair’s involvement in RHA, along with their ideas for a more cohesive tri-campus, demonstrates their commitment to the entire community.

While the ticket had admirable goals, such as restoring on-campus traditions lost during the pandemic and establishing strong ties with the Notre Dame and Holy Cross student governments, much of their platform relied on gathering student input — rather than advancing specific goals of their own.

Our endorsement of Camacho-Haas doesn’t come without reservations. During their interview, Camacho-Haas seemed wavering in regard to their potential relationship with the Saint Mary’s administration, in one instance admitting that they were powerless to the College’s decisions. While Camacho-Haas were willing to collaborate with the administration, they seemed resigned to the fact that they would always need their approval, as opposed to standing up for the student voice even in the face of pushback..

In addition, we believe Camacho-Haas could have provided additional clarity on how exactly they plan to communicate with students. The ticket’s plan to implement a suggestion box and regular newsletter seems like feasible avenues for interaction. However, we would have liked more details about the logistics of these plans.

Still, we are confident in Camacho-Haas’s ability to lead the Saint Mary’s student body and enact positive change in the upcoming school year.

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