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OU Daily editorial board ending tradition of endorsing SGA presidential candidates

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SGA Pres candidates

SGA Presidential candidates, Adran Gibbs and Otto Wimer, during the SGA Presidential debate Oct. 24.

For years, The Daily’s editorial board has interviewed all presidential candidates for the Student Government Association, debated the merits of each candidate and voted on whom to endorse in our yearly editorial.

This year, The OU Daily is choosing to endorse no one.

In a unanimous vote, the fall 2018 OU Daily editorial board elected to discontinue our tradition of endorsing SGA presidential tickets. This decision comes at a time when newspapers around the country are facing criticism over the value of endorsing candidates for political office at all.

First and foremost, our editorial board saw our choice to endorse one candidate over others as something that undermines our number one goal as a paper: to accurately report newsworthy events on campus. By endorsing a candidate, there might be the perception that The Daily's news content would be slanted toward that candidate in the continued coverage of the election and its nuances. We want readers to be able to trust our coverage. 

Also, it isn't clear that The Daily's endorsements have an impact on voters. Compared to other content we produce, our endorsements have a very low readership, and, for at least the last two years, The Daily has endorsed candidates who have lost their elections. We believe our efforts are better spent elsewhere.

That is what we want to do instead: increase news coverage of the SGA presidential election and critically analyze and fact-check candidate platforms. This is the truly valuable thing our publication can offer you in the weeks leading up to an election.

But we will endorse one thing — every OU student getting on Orgsync to vote on Oct. 30 and 31. And there are important questions to ask about candidates before voting, especially because those in charge of SGA use student tuition dollars to complete their tasks and initiatives, which include funding registered student organizations throughout campus.

Do you want an SGA president who understands the limitations of their office and shapes their platform to include initiatives that can actually be accomplished? Or do you want a president who will tell you they can achieve more than they actually can in order to get your vote?

Do you want an SGA president who makes a proactive effort to change campus in a positive way? Or do you want an SGA president who will pursue token policies in order to ride out their term until they can write down “SGA president” on their resume?

Do you want an SGA president who advocates on behalf of students to the OU administration and its president in a time of uncertainty and fear about the future? Or do you want an SGA president who will not fight for student representation in the face of administrative adversity?

These are the important questions OU students should ask themselves when they vote. The Daily cannot and should not attempt to answer them for you, but instead empower you with the knowledge you need to answer them on your own.

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