Student Body President Analysis and Endorsement

In this post, we here at the Carolina Review intend to break down each candidate and his or her platforms as well as analyze the race to this point. We will conclude with an endorsement of a candidate for Student Body President.


Analysis of Winston Howes:


The Carolina Review writers and editors poured over Howes’ platform as well as his interview. Winston is a highly motivated candidate with many great ideas. His comp-sci. background is unique. As conservatives and libertarians, we appreciate his dedication to innovation and creating an atmosphere of entrepreneurial spirit. We believe that his push for the advancement of technology is vital in taking UNC to the forefront of modern academia. In terms of tech savvy campuses, this push would set us apart from most. With these positives, however, there are some drawbacks. Howes has little, if no, experience in either state or campus politics. His lack of knowledge in both could render his presidency useless. In his interview, he acknowledged this shortcoming, and claimed that he would surround himself with people who are more knowledgeable. In terms of the run-off, we do not think that Howes will make it, but his support towards Shamdasani could be important if she makes it to the runoff, and possibly edges out her competitor.


Analysis of Nikita Shamdasani:


Like Howes, the Review also scoured Shamdasani’s platform and read her interview.  Shamdasani has great experience in student government and politics. In addition, she has served under Mary Cooper’s administration as executive assistant and under Will Leimenstoll’s administration as secretary. Both positions underscore her ability to grasp Student Congress and politics in general. However, with this insider experience comes some drawbacks. The Leimenstoll administration was openly hostile towards Student Congress and in general was lackluster. The administration was fraught with controversies and infighting. In addition, her platform has some questionable points, including one plank of her platform, in which, she wants a 12.3% increase in tuition and a proposed raise to 18% cap increase in the overall out of state student population. , which many parents of in-state students may not want to subsidize. In addition, as one writer put it, “her platform looked gimmicky.” Shamdasani does have one advantage however; if she does not make it into the run-off (if there is one), she will be kingmaker. Whomever she endorses, which the Daily Tar Heel reported would be Powell, will win. The reason for our conclusion here is that she and Emilio will split the vote on the Left. Whoever survives that split will head to the run-off. If Emilio survives and she endorses him, (but has already said she would in this case endorse Powell), Vicente wins, but if she goes with Powell, Powell wins.


Analysis of Emilio Vicente


A lot of media attention has been focused on Vicente’s entrance into this race. Al Jazeera, the New York Times, and Fusion TV have all been on campus interviewing people about the race. Fusion TV interviewed our CRDaily editor Ben Smith about the race. In addition to media coverage, Emilio has been at the forefront of state politics in terms of in-state tuition for undocumented students. His grasp of state politics in our view is average. In addition, he has received several critical endorsements at the time of this post: both the Young Democrats and Sexuality and Gender Alliance (SAGA) on campus have endorsed Emilio. With the positives however, there are several glaring negatives. While Vicente’s state politics are seemingly decent, he lacks experience in most campus politics. In addition, the focus on Vicente’s campaign has been more about who he is as a person, rather than what he stands for on his platform. While he has several concrete points, most people focus on the celebrity aspect of the race, which reminds most of our staff of the 2008 presidential race. While we do not blame Vicente for this type of coverage, it still does not bode well for endorsement. Despite this fact, the race looks good for Vicente. He had a sizable lead in signatures and has a lot of name recognition among many of the Left on campus. If the Left vote divides him and Shamdasani, and he makes it, he has a chance, but he has to secure Shamdasani’s endorsement – unlikely, since she, as kingmaker, has already said she will go Powell. If Vicente wants to win after Shamdasani’s endorsement of Powell, he is going to have to convince her supporters to ignore her and stay with him.


Analysis of Andrew Powell:


Like Howes, Powell is a moderate in this race. He has several ringing endorsements on campus, including the Residential Housing Association, Di/Phi Debate Society, College Republicans, UNC Out of State Student Association, etc. to name a few. In addition, his work in Greek life and role as a leader in that community has led him to work with administration in several capacities. He also has experience in working with Math 232 restructuring their classes. Powell does have some limitations however: while his grasp student politics is decent and, as shown through his interview and answers at forums, has a deep understanding of Student Congress, his state politics are an unknown. As SBP, he, like all the other candidates, has to lobby the NC House for money. His seeming lack of state political experience is slightly troubling considering his hope to help stem the increase in tuition, a major part of his platform. In addition, some of his platform points seem vague.

Like Vicente, this is Powell’s race to win. With both Shamdasani’s and Vicente’s endorsement, the possibility of a runoff occurring may be crucial for his path to victory.


The editors of the Carolina Review and CRDaily, after considering the platforms of each candidate as well as their performances in interviews and panels, have decided to endorse Andrew Powell for Student Body President during 2014-2015. We believe Powell powerfully combines a deep knowledge of student government, an ability to work with others, and a commitment to concrete change. We wish him the best during the elections tomorrow.

Ben Smith
Editor-In-Chief CR Daily 

David Ortiz
Editor-In-Chief Carolina Review

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