The It's Time campaign manager, Charlie Stephens, responds to an April 4 column titled "Opinion: Gov. Edwards' SG endorsement was inappropriate, sets poor precedent."
Claiming that Student Government is nothing more than a mock government is a disservice to the students at this great university. SG makes real decisions that affect real students every day. It also holds a real seat on the Board of Supervisors.
The principal responsibility of the student body president is to be an advocate who not only works with the University president but with the governor and state legislators.
This is a line I have riddled off hundreds of times in the last six months as campaign manager for the It’s Time ticket. This statement was the core of what we believed as a campaign and what we hoped to see SG embody moving forward.
The student body president and vice president have ignored what goes on in the capitol for far too long. This has had disastrous results for students at the University.
A recent Reveille article noted that Louisiana has cut support to higher education institutions more than almost any other state — a whopping 37.7%, or $4,340 less spent per student today than in 2008. We all see how budget cuts have materially affected the University and our experiences here.
Yet, SG leaders and writers at this paper are quick to attack candidates who reach out to the only people that can fix the predicament our University finds itself in — state government leaders.
Maintaining an open dialogue with the leaders of our state is crucial to the future of our University. The fact that the It’s Time ticket was the only campaign in recent memory to do so is disheartening.
Our grad students, international students, students of color, female students, LGBTQ students and more deserve an advocate who is not afraid to challenge the status quo so they can see brighter days at the University. That is the core of public service at all levels — challenging what is good so we can achieve what is great.
Working with other politicians does not mean you will always agree with them.
You can watch my or Mia LeJeune and Angelina Cantelli’s testimony to the Senate Select Committee on Women and Children for an example of our displeasure with current lawmakers, including Edwards.
After our testimonies, several members of that very committee agreed that the students shaded by these stately oaks need representatives who are willing to talk to state leaders about policy and the issues, especially those who are critical of their legislators’ decisions.
For Mia LeJeune and the It’s Time ticket to receive an endorsement from Edwards should be an honor to other students.
He recognized that SG could take their leadership to the next level. Instead, SG leaders chose to mock and ridicule the new goals Mia set for student government and missed an opportunity to tackle real issues at the University.
Politicians endorse each other all the time. It is nothing new.
Different rules for “angry women,” I guess.