Our View: Ricketts, Patterson both present sharp contrastBy Our View | 03/11/2014 2:02am
Editor's Note: The Crimson White Editorial Board wrote an introduction to all SGA candidate endorsements. Read the introduction here.
For the position of Executive Secretary, the Editorial Board does not find a clearly superior candidate. Polly Ricketts and Khortlan Patterson present radically different visions for the Student Government Association. Additionally, both come with serious concerns that students should take into account before casting their votes.
Ricketts holds experience on her side and boasts an impressive array of diverse projects to prove it. From the addition of bike racks as a First Year Councilor to hosting a large-scale forum – the Alabama Legislative Update – as an Executive branch director, she promises to be a skilled implementer and hard worker who will set a new standard for what the Executive Secretary can do.
Still, she is not without issues. When asked about the existence of the Machine, Ricketts, who has been backed by the Machine, went beyond the simple dodging of her Machine-backed peers and bluntly stated, “I don’t know. I have no awareness of this.” Beyond being patently false, her statement is unacceptable because she is seeking an office that is largely responsible for transparency in the SGA.
Patterson, on the other hand, holds no reservations about challenging the system. If elected, her proven history of standing up to organizational bullying and degenerative forces on campus will serve her well, particularly when combined with her platform, which focuses on establishing transparency in the SGA. In contrast to Ricketts’ implicit defense of an institutionalized system of discrimination, Patterson promises to shake up the SGA and inject a much-needed perspective into its operations.
However, the effects of Patterson’s lack of experience are apparent. In addition to admitting that she “did not know much about the SGA” prior to researching it for her campaign, Patterson’s platform lacks the detail found in Ricketts’ proposals, and when questioned about challenges to her specific initiatives, she was unable to present a clear plan for overcoming them. While Patterson holds leadership experience through the Honors College Assembly, given the steep learning curve of serving in a high-level SGA position, her lack of SGA experience will hinder her ability to effectively enact her campaign promises.
Obviously, students have a sharp contrast on Election Day.
On one hand sits Ricketts, an effective and experienced implementer who is sure to produce programs but unlikely to change the status quo of exclusion and limited perspective that has plagued the SGA for years.
On the other hand is Patterson, a strong-willed fighter who holds the potential to change the culture of SGA but will struggle to overcome the barriers presented by her lack of experience.
After intense deliberation, the Editorial Board has decided that, with the proper oversight, the student body will be well-served by either candidate.
We encourage the student body to read these competing visions and decide for themselves.
Our View represents the consensus of The Crimson White Editorial Board.