Taylor Dumpson for Student Body President
By: Matt Kelly & Lily Brown
As the Presidents of the Interfraternity and Panhellenic Councils, we must preface this op-ed by saying our words do not reflect an official opinion of the Interfraternity nor Panhellenic Councils. Our councils will not be endorsing a candidate for Student Government President and are prepared to work with the next president to enhance the American University student experience and the safety of our members and guests.
Like most students at American University, we are Student Government outsiders. We respect those who choose to represent their peers in Student Government and make positive changes to the student experience. However, as juniors, we have been utterly disheartened by what we’ve seen in SG politics thus far. Over the last three years, candidates have manipulated others as part of their own political game, creating a bad re-enactment of House of Cards instead of what SG elections are supposed to be about: the qualifications of the candidates and their plans for the betterment of this campus.
This is why I, Matt Kelly, oppose almost all student government candidate platforms. Having served as a chapter president and now a council president, the issues students in executive leadership positions face can not be deduced to platforms that read as a generic prescription of previously accomplished initiatives and unrealistic goals. That is why I firmly support Taylor Dumpson’s decision to not provide a platform and to instead stand by a vision of 5 core guiding ideals to create a greater university. In doing this, she removes constraints, allowing her to effectively run the student government through accountability, accessibility, inclusion, transparency, and support. She will not represent a student government faction, but rather a student population that is intersectional and constantly evolving.
I, Lily Brown, am not involved in student government politics because SG has always seemed removed from the real issues at AU. This year I had to say something — not because my faith in the system has changed, or the way campaigns are being run, but because of one candidate: Taylor. However, Student Government has the potential to be a true platform for change — one that Taylor will uniquely be able to unlock. Her non-traditional platform is devoted to the student body and to ideals that will continue to unite students. Matt talked a little bit about her five core ideals; accountability, accessibility, inclusion, transparency, and support. Taylor represents these ideals each and every day.
Over the past three years, we have unfortunately seen continued polarization of our campus over race. We rephrase bigotry into freedom of speech, and some naively believe that we are a post-racial, diverse campus. To move our campus forward, we need a leader who can bridge that divide. That leader is Taylor. She has been on the forefront of diversity and inclusion on this campus for the past three years, from working within and outside the administration on the new General Education Courses, as VP of SANC, President of the IGC, and countless other large and small roles which have made a lasting impact on our community.
While platforms sometimes provide useful information, they are rarely followed up, and usually contain oversimplifications of complex issues. One greek-specific issue addressed during our time at AU has been the medical transport policy. This is an issue that has landed itself on various platforms, yet there is a massive misunderstanding of how medical transports work on campus and off campus. Distrust, ambiguity, and a lack of clear information has led student organizations to make bad decisions. However, Taylor worked with us to address this issue in the most recent medical transport policy change. The efforts of this change have been the focus of the greek councils for nearly two years. Taylor knows what it’s like to not just make promises, but doing the hard work of creating the necessary change for our campus.
When we heard that Taylor was running for President, there was no doubt in our minds that she would be the best individual for the job. Working closely with her for the last few months has shown us that Taylor holds her values to her core and is willing fight for them everyday. She is involved in bringing diversity and inclusion to many aspects of campus and constantly reminds the student body that there are so many more steps forward we need to take in order to become a representative and welcoming community.
Instead of empty promises and self gratification, we want change. We don’t want empty handed resolutions, stipends, and an expensive and exclusive ball. We want to see our money going to the betterment of our community. We want a campus where we take responsibility for our faults and use these faults as opportunities to progress. Regardless of your candidate preference, we encourage everyone to go out and vote because though it may not seem like it, these elections do matter. We hope you’ll join us in supporting Taylor Dumpson and creating A [Different] U.