The Niner Times Editorial Board endorses the Larson-Olusesi campaign for student body president and vice president. Voting runs from March 15-16, and the results will be announced on March 17.
The Niner Times has chosen to endorse a student body ticket during the 2022 SGA election because of the importance of informed voting, including student government elections. The Niner Times Editorial Board interviewed the candidates, evaluated their platforms, and voted on a final endorsement. Choosing a campaign to endorse was a difficult decision, but below, we explain some of the reasons for our decision.
The driving force behind our endorsement is primarily this campaign’s commitment to “tangible, action-based plans.” On their website, in our interview with them, and during the student body president debate on March 1, Larson was specific and thorough in regards to her goals and passions as a candidate. Although the two campaigns have similar goals, the Niner Times feels that the Larson-Olusesi campaign had more specific plans to execute those goals successfully.
In political campaigns, both student and professional, candidates often make promises and statements they cannot always follow through on. The Larson-Olusesi campaign did make promises and explain their plans; however, we did not see any empty promises.
The Williams-Warren campaign did make some promises that we found questionable, such as their statement in a Niner Times interview that they’ve reached out to “all student organizations, not just the top 10 you hear about.” While we understand their intentions, we know from our experiences in many student organizations that they did not speak to all organizations. Therefore, claiming to give small organizations a voice in this capacity made us question some of their plans and promises.
The three guiding pillars of the Larson-Olusesi campaign are progress, unity and trust. In an interview with the Niner Times, Larson discussed these pillars. “For progress, we want tangible, action-based plans. We know you can’t just talk and not do anything,” said Larson. “If we have action plans in place, whether that be for academics, Greek Life or student life, we can make progress,” said Larson.
“For unity, April 30 was the beginning of that. Then we ran into the pandemic, which has not gone away and has been difficult on students’ mental health. And the Black Lives Matter movement, which has impacted our community in Charlotte. We want to bring students together and focus on mental health aspects,” said Larson.
Larson-Olusesi recognizing the many ways that UNC Charlotte needs to maintain unity was an important part of their campaign that the Niner Times found helpful in our decision-making. As a University that has been through so much, unity continues to be important to student leaders.
“For trust, we want to increase our transparency and communication with the University. Something we’ve seen in the past couple of years with the University making decisions is they’re not always transparent with us and [not] taking our input until it’s too late and decisions have already been made. We want to work with administrators and make sure that they’re getting active input from the student body to represent each student in making important decisions,” said Larson.
The “trust” pillar that Larson thoroughly discussed was another major factor in our endorsement. Larson-Olusesi’s commitment to transparency and trust reminds us of one of the successes of their predecessor. The 2021-2022 Student Body President, Dick Beekman, has done an exceptional job maintaining transparency and trust between the University and the student body. In the Niner Times’ experience, Dick Beekman informs the University of the student body’s input and informs the student body of the University’s choices and his role in those decisions. This is one way we believe that the Larson-Olusesi campaign will build positively off of their predecessors’ leadership.
The Niner Times Editorial Board believes that Tatiyana Larson and Tife Olusesi would make an excellent student body president and vice president. As such, we encourage you to vote Larson-Olusesi.