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Perspective: A New HUSA and Trustee

Contributing Columnist

Published: Sunday, February 26, 2012

Updated: Sunday, February 26, 2012 23:02

Election Day is approaching quickly. We have a very serious decision to make that shouldn't be made hastily or based on flashy appearances. Some of the candidates are focused on external issues that affect Howard, while some focus on internal issues that could potentially lead the university into a state of decay.

So, all of us must ask ourselves a question: "Who do I vote for?" "Do I vote for my friend or do I vote for the better candidate?" "Do I vote for popularity or do I vote for productivity?" For the HUSA candidates, there is much to be considered because HUSA has the greatest impact on students. As HUSA policy director, I can certainly testify to that.

This year, HUSA has faced and effectively addressed some of the most turbulent issues that would have left some previous HUSA administrations crumbling in the woods. This administration faced issues ranging from the elimination of the purge date to helping students get financial aid that had been taken from them earlier in the academic year, and I fully expect to have an "April surprise" before we graduate in May.

So, when we talk about whom we want to elect as the 52nd HUSA administration, we have to answer that question in the context of the issues that HUSA 51 has effectively addressed and how these HUSA candidates will go above and beyond the precedents set by the current administration.

All of us are looking for a total package but each of the three slates has one attribute that we are looking for in the next HUSA, a dilemma that has some of us riding the fence. Given the fiscal woes and 12 percent tuition increase at Howard, we have to ask ourselves not only who we trust, but more importantly, who can get the job done?

This election isn't about the mobilization of any one group, but about the mobilization of a broken institution. The next HUSA will face more institutional turmoil than we did this year and it's critical that we elect a ticket that has the skill-set, experience, relationships and fighting spirit that will unify both the student body and the administration to solve our pressing issues.

As a former trustee candidate last year, I do believe that we have a good field of undergraduate trustee candidates to choose from. They offer a broad vision for the university in a realistic and feasible way. At the same time, we have to understand the role of a student trustee.

The role of a student trustee is to bring the perspective of the student body to the board. It's not a student advocacy role. It's a position in which you tell the student perspective of academic renewal, housing, and other necessities to the board so that they may set the guiding policies for Howard.

With that said, the trustee election is not about who has the "best" platform or the most promises. It's about who is best suited for the role, who can effectively articulate the student perspective to board members without offending them and whose opinion the board will most likely hold in regard. It's about which candidate has the political savvy to maneuver the complexities of the board.

The next undergraduate trustee is certain to face many high level issues, which is why it's vital that the next trustee embodies all of the aforementioned characteristics.

On March 1 we have an important decision to make. So choose wisely.

HUSA policy director, Dexter Williams, is a senior health administration major from Washington, D.C.

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