The 98th session of NC State’s Student Government is nearing its end. While the session was one of confusion regarding student organization registration and controversy with the resignation of the Chief of Staff of the Executive Branch, it was also a session of beneficial policy changes and projects such as Pack Meal Share, the graduation robe closet and more initiatives geared toward the best interests of students. With the Spring Election beginning at 8 p.m. Monday, NC State students are once again tasked with choosing new leadership for their Student Government.
We, as an editorial staff, have chosen to endorse Alex Obiol and Lexie Malico for student body president and vice president. Obiol and Malico’s professionalism, experience and breadth of knowledge across many matters at NC State puts them in a strong position to effectively lead and represent the student body.
Obiol has been a senator, committee chair and delegation head in the legislative branch for two years, then worked in the executive branch in the presidential cabinet as director of university affairs. She has led important initiatives such as the Undocumented and DACA Students Support Act and the Graduation Robe Closet. In addition, she helped orchestrate the Pack Meal Program and student government’s free menstrual product trial program.
At the student body president debate, Obiol displayed her vigor and passion for advocating on behalf of students. She was critical of certain university policies and actions, such as the university’s investment in the fossil fuel industry. As a member of Student Government, Obiol’s work in creating the PACK Meal Share program and expanding the Career Development Center’s professional clothing closet shows that she’s committed to improving accessibility for students.
Malico has been a senator since fall 2018, working to implement protections under Title IX at the NC State and UNC System level. Malico also serves as a representative for the Chemistry Graduate Student Association.
During the vice presidential round of the debate, Malico was well-informed on issues concerning the affordability of a college education and provided clarity on graduate students’ experiences concerning underpaid labor and receiving proper health care. She addressed concerns about parking pass costs, saying that lowering them is infeasible. Decreased costs would lead to fee increases, because the university’s transportation department is almost entirely funded through student fees and parking pass costs. This is consistent with information presented by the Transportation department at the student fees town hall, and it demonstrates that Malico is not only well-informed but thinks realistically.
In their platform, Obiol and Malico highlight the importance of being accessible and visible to the student body, a necessity when not all students have the ability to know what goes on in the “room where it happens.”
Obiol and Malico’s breadth of knowledge about how the university operates and how to achieve their goals makes us believe that this ticket is not only qualified, but the most prepared to enter into their respective roles. Obiol has been thoroughly involved in negotiating between Student Government and administrative bodies through her roles on the transportation task force and chair of the executive department of university affairs.
While both platforms’ focal points are transparency and advocacy on behalf of students, the Obiol-Malico ticket has solid, tangible and achievable goals that can be executed with students’ best interests in the forefront of their minds. For instance, their platform specifically mentions plans to help students with physical disabilities and financial disadvantages access the university’s resources. Obiol plans on collaborating with the administration to improve accessibility and advocate for renovations, pinpointing specific spots on campus like the Tucker and Owen Residence Halls.
In addition, Obiol and Malico think outside of the surface level issues of the university. For example, Obiol and Malico want to offer in-state tuition to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) students who completed high school in North Carolina. Obiol believes that this initiative is realistic, although it may not be achieved in one term.
Both tickets discussed the importance of addressing the needs of graduate, nontraditional and international students, but the Obiol-Malico ticket is well-versed on the pressing issues, and giving specific solutions that would enhance these students’ experiences on campus, such as a Graduate Student Bill of Rights and working to decrease the amount of food and housing insecurity on campus.
As a joint ticket, it is apparent that both candidates have put extensive thought and research into several initiatives and concerns to address on campus such as graduate student compensation, improving communication with the student body through a “What to Fix” feedback area on their campaign website and the accessibility of the counseling center for students.
We believe that their professionalism, experience and drive will help lead Student Government into another year focusing on the best interest of students and will create effective and realistic policies that will improve student experiences at the university.
This unsigned editorial is the opinion of Technician’s editorial board and is the responsibility of the editor-in-chief.