Hatchet Endorsement: Carlo Wood for SA executive vice president

The two most important jobs for the executive vice president of the Student Association are to lead the senate and work alongside the SA president.


All three of the EVP candidates this year fit that bill: Carlo Wood, Spencer Perry and Casey Syron all have outgoing personalities that would enable them to be engaging leaders of the senate. A president would be lucky to have any of them in his or her corner, and would find in them a strong ally with a passion for improving campus.


Each candidate also chose inspiring issues for their platforms, prioritizing students’ quality of life by focusing on issues like alcohol amnesty, a student bill of rights and a dining tap system.


In our endorsement hearings, Wood, SoB-U, and Perry, the SA's vice president for judicial and legislative affairs, stood out as the two best contenders for the position, and our deliberations after the fact concerning them were exhaustive. In the end, Wood barely edged out Perry by picking issues for his platform that were more suitable for the EVP role.


For that reason, and based on the candidates’ platforms, we endorse Carlo Wood for SA executive vice president.


We recognize Wood might be a surprising choice: He has garnered far fewer endorsements than the other candidates, and his failure to win Greek support puts his chances of a win in flux. But he wowed us in his endorsement hearing with his ability to express his goals concisely and his deep understanding of an EVP’s duties. Despite what popular opinion appears to show, Wood is the best person for the job right now.


Perry is an excellent candidate, and his platform, record and student life experience more likely qualify him, in fact, for a presidential campaign. But that’s exactly the problem: The duties and priorities of the SA president and EVP are different for a reason, and Perry’s proposals are simply too big for the position he wants. We'd worry that, if elected on these goals, Perry would inadvertently break promises to students when the constricting role of EVP prevents him from accomplishing them.


He presented to us a detailed outline of what he imagines mandatory sexual violence prevention training would look like at Colonial Inauguration and what opt-in, peer-led education sessions during the school year could entail. He has experience working on this issue and is aware of the various tasks these trainings must accomplish.


His proposal to expand the alcohol amnesty program – an initiative absent from SA platforms for a decade – is similarly well-researched, with Perry pointing out in our hearing that 66 percent of GW’s 14 peer schools have full medical amnesty.


But it’s concerning that, when pushed about what agenda-setting Perry himself could do on the issue of the University Police Department's push for off-campus jurisdiction, the candidate couldn’t name specifics. Including it on his platform is a bit of a crapshoot, too – being wary of it shows his institutional knowledge about GW, sure, but the issue has been on the back-burner for about a year now. Unless something major happens to bring it back into the spotlight over the next year, that's where it will remain.


Overall, Perry presented a strong platform, with items the student body would be lucky to see accomplished. But they would take the full weight of an SA president to accomplish, and it’s unlikely Perry could achieve them as EVP while juggling the responsibilities of managing a tumultuous senate.


Wood, on the other hand, thanks to his experience in the senate, has a firm grasp on the limitations of the EVP role and has tailored his proposals accordingly.


In our endorsement hearing, he identified creating a centralized room reservation system as his top priority, and cited his experience working toward a similar goal for the business school. That would ease many headaches for student group leaders across campus, and Wood knows from working on it that this initiative is in line with GW’s long-term goal of creating a centralized room reservation system for all its spaces across campus.


He has also introduced two brand new initiatives: a student bill of rights that would gather existing rules to give students a clearer picture of their rights on campus, and an external review of the SA’s financial allocations to student organizations. Wood has done the extensive research required to make these projects feasible, and there is no doubt that they, if completed, would increase transparency and efficiency.


Wood admitted in our endorsement hearing that his platform isn’t sexy and won’t move mountains. But it’s comprised of accomplishable goals that will improve the day-to-day life of students, and student organization leaders in particular. He’s proposing appropriately sized solutions to nagging problems, and his realistic approach is admirable.


He also understands the role of the EVP in relation to the president. Whereas Perry’s platform puts him in the same league as the presidential candidates, Wood articulated clearly that he sees the EVP as a supporter of the president’s goals who uses his remaining time to push for his own, smaller initiatives.


In the end, it’s suitable that Wood’s goals are of a smaller scale because that will free up his time to actually focus on those tasks while running the senate effectively. His personable nature and commitment to open lines of communication – which he, unlike his competitors, articulated in our hearings unprompted – sound like a breath of fresh air for an often politicized senate, and we’d be excited to see what he’s able to accomplish there.


Like his fellow candidates, Syron, CCAS-U, chose spot-on platform points that ranged from the big, like moving to a tap system at J Street, to the medium, like adjusting counseling session rollover policies and expanding the boundaries of 4-RIDE.


Syron had a good handle on what he was proposing, but he admitted that he had yet to discuss his initiatives with administrators or evaluate their feasibility. That should be the first step in any campaign, and we were disappointed that he hadn’t tested otherwise promising initiatives.


Other than a lack of preparation, Syron had what we’d like to see in every candidate – a genuine, unadulterated passion for improving student life through the advocacy of the SA. Students will benefit from his continued participation in student government, regardless of the role.


Among these three candidates, the student body will elect an EVP with a charismatic personality and the energy to get things done. But Wood expressed the clearest understanding of the crucial need to balance his own goals with the requirements of being second-in-command of the SA, and that’s an insight that can’t be overlooked.


Vote for Wood for SA executive vice president Wednesday or Thursday.


The Hatchet's editorial board for executive vice presidential endorsements included opinions editor Robin Jones Kerr, contributing opinions editor Sarah Blugis, managing director Justin Peligri, sports editor Nora Princiotti, copy editor Rachel Smilan-Goldstein and design assistant Samantha LaFrance.


Listen to the editorial board's endorsement hearings with executive vice presidential candidates Spencer Perry, Casey Syron and Carlo Wood.


Photo by Katie Causey | Hatchet Staff Photographer