First-year EC, SJC candidates prepare for this week’s election

First-years running for office outline goals and qualifications in speeches

Alexandra Cline

Candidates for first-year representative on the Executive Committee and the Student Judicial Council commenced the campaigning process in preparation for the first round of voting on Sept. 29.

On Sept. 24 the nine candidates for EC Representative and four for SJC Justice outlined their viewpoints regarding the importance of the positions and their qualifications for occupying such roles.

The Voting Regulations Board, which oversees W&L elections to ensure fairness and accessibility, encouraged candidates to discuss prospective goals as opposed to past accomplishments within their speeches.

“Everyone who got into this school was very successful,” Peyton Powers, ’18, of the VRB said. “We’re hoping for [the candidates] to be future oriented with what they bring to campus and how they uphold the honor system and implement fair sanctions.”

Though differing in content, the speeches addressed university ideals and other facets that render W&L and its students unique, most notably the honor system.

“I want to uphold the [values] of honor, integrity, and personal responsibility,” Huntley Jennings, ’19, said in his speech for the SJC position. “Robert E. Lee had one rule for this school, and that is that every student be a gentleman.”

Continuing with the trend of individual morality and virtue, other candidates discussed their commitment to holding students accountable for behavior that negatively impacts the community and reflects poorly on the school’s overall reputation.

“I really wanted to communicate that I care about the great honor system of this school,” Emma Richardson, ’19, said. “As an EC representative, I would strive to make objective, unbiased decisions and promote openness within the class.”

Aside from the focus on W&L’s differentiating values, other candidates opened their speeches with personal anecdotes conveying their instantaneous bond with members of the community and feelings of pride for the university.

“When I met a W&L alumnus this past summer and . . . told him I would be attending Washington and Lee this coming fall, he immediately gave me his business card and requested that I give his son private swim lessons,” Andrew Agrippina, ’19, a candidate for SJC said. “The alumnus knew the quality of a W&L student and [that] unadulterated love and trust in one’s school is one of my favorite things about W&L.”

Despite the positive attributes several candidates associated with the university, others discussed areas of improvement and a desire to continue both social and academic progress on campus, notably in the culture of Greek life and the class registration process.

“One issue that has burdened students in recent years is the highly competitive system for getting into classes,” Graham Novak, ’19, a candidate for EC representative said. “Year after year, a handful of classes fill up in a matter of moments, forcing other students to alter their academic routes…We, the students, must take the initiative to tell [the administration] what we want.”

In hopes of ensuring that each candidate’s specific wishes will be executed, the students have been spreading their campaign messages through posters, open dialogue with classmates and social media.  Every candidate is permitted to canvass for votes on his or her personal social media pages and may send one mass email to the class, though the candidates are restricted from using the master list compiled by the university.

“We have to make sure that all campaign materials are created by ourselves,” Morgan Maloney, ’19, candidate for SJC justice said. “For instance, you cannot ask [another student] to make a campaign video for you. My strategy is to meet as many people as possible [because] people vote for someone they know and respect so I am trying to get to know as much of the first-year class as possible.”

In the early stages of the campaign, members of the first-year class echoed the idea of forming a connection with each candidate, wanting to determine which individual would best serve the student body in their viewpoint.

“I really feel the need to be informed, which is why I decided to listen to all of the speeches,” Madeleine Lucas, ’19, said. “I want to make a good choice since upholding of the school’s values and participating in this process is very important in my mind.”

The voting commences on Sept. 29, at 6 a.m.  Two additional rounds of voting will occur on Sept. 30 and Oct. 1 and will include candidates with the highest vote totals.  The candidate with the highest vote total following Round III will be declared the winner.