When this race began, I was not going to give a public endorsement. Although it is usual for a president to endorse a candidate, I believed my role as president was to stay above all the politics. Nevertheless, over this past week, as I have watched the presidential elections skew towards the question of the need to have AAS experience, I decided to take my own experience, and endorse the person I believe would be perfect for the job.
As I read Chris Friend’s latest article in The Student, this morning, I could not but think how his article advocates for the exact kind of AAS-insider thinking that I tried to fight against by running for President, and that I’ve learned isn’t and shouldn’t be a necessary part of AAS life.
Let me be blunt: there have been some concerns about Will’s level of experience. As current AAS president, and therefore the person with the most possible experience with this position, I do not believe this should have any bearing on your vote this Tuesday. While an AAS Vice-President is President of the Senate, an AAS President is President of the student body. This crucial difference determines what kind of person and experience you need for each job. One position requires significant knowledge of the AAS as a student government, and the other requires a deep and far-reaching connection with the student body of our school.
I am endorsing Will Savino because I believe he will be a dedicated, down to earth and creative president. He is a genuine listener and a charismatic mediator, who will fight for students every step of the way. He knows how to work with administrators, and he knows how to get things done. He’s a feminist, an ally, a supporter of athletics, and a committed Amherst citizen. He will revamp the role of the AAS, making it more transparent. He will bring the fraternity question to bear, and he will bring this community together.
When I ran for President, I argued that you did not need years of experience to serve as the AAS President. As the current AAS president, more than ever, I stand by this belief. The ultimate, telling question you should ask yourselves is not who has the most AAS experience, but who you want to sit down with and listen to your concerns and ideas. Although this question obviously does not represent the complexity or intensity of the job at hand, I believe its answer captures the essential, crucial qualities that a president should have.
Friend argues that “students are labour, and the administration and faculty are management.” That’s the kind of attitude I’m worried about. Fighting for student concerns is vital, but it also needs to be effective. I came into the Presidency under the premise that we could bring our community together, not divide the student body and the administration. That work is not done, and I think Will Savino is the best person to continue what we, as a community, are working towards.