The Berkeley Beacon endorses Henderson-West for SGA president


By Editorial Board

At issue: SGA election is an opportunity to shake things up

Our take: A one-on-one approach works best

Over the last two weeks, Christopher Henderson-West’s write-in campaign for the position of executive president of the Student Government Association has set a precedent for write-in campaigns—and executive president campaigns in general. His idea is simple: Each vote he earns will be an effort of conversation and convincing. Rather than letting a tiny fraction of the student body fill in a bubble beside his name at random, each of his votes will infer true support.

All the SGA elections of the past three years have featured the majority of candidates running unopposed. As we’ve written a truthfully irritating amount of times, this indicates how unengaged our student government is with the majority of our student body. Henderson-West’s campaign represents a change to the status quo—an attempt to reach out, in person, and inform students about the role of SGA. Henderson-West’s campaign is what we at the Beacon have been waiting for.

Jessica Guida is technically the only balloted candidate running for SGA executive president. She has run her campaign primarily through social media, specifically focusing on Facebook groups and events. This is the usual route candidates take to bring SGA information to students who wouldn’t otherwise interact with the organization. The philosophy is pretty clear; after all, we are the technology generation. And Guida has spoken about bringing information about SGA to incoming students at this summer’s Orientation—an effort worth commending. But her efforts are too similar to those of the student leaders who recently came before her. It’s time for a change.  

Henderson-West’s efforts seem to stem from his involvement with Protesting Oppression With Educational Reform. The organization is responsible for grassroots efforts to promote change in college through protests, petitions, and forums, like the ones they held just last week. The POWER #ThisIsEmerson walkout last semester had specific demands for what changes they wanted to see at Emerson and POWER is working continuously to make sure those demands are met.

If you’re familiar with our editorial coverage of SGA, you know we often rail against the organization’s perceived irrelevance on campus. This office makes major decisions about our Student Life budget and serves as the main link between students and administration. If Henderson-West can win this election with a write-in campaign, he’ll set a standard for how SGA can get the community’s attention: by going directly to them.