Letter: Lajara-O’Leary ticket aims for transparency
Two weeks ago, at the open forum for the 2018-2019 Student Association President/Vice presidential candidates, a little kerfuffle was had between vice presidential candidates Alexander O’Leary and Patrick Carrol. In this moment—which anyone can look up at the Albany Student Press Facebook page—Candidate O’Leary stated that he was not part of any fraternity. This moment sparked a somewhat heated debate between the two candidates. Carrol later responded to O’Leary’s comment with “affiliations don’t matter.”
Is this true; do affiliations not matter? The answer is: Yes, they matter quite a lot. It also matters to vice presidential candidate O’Leary. According to O’Leary, the fraternity is an important faction in the government, consisting about 50 percent of the government. O’Leary, who had been a senator the year previously, said, “As soon as I got there, it felt like an ‘us versus them’ mentality.” He went on to say that with the number advantages that the fraternity has, it allows them to elect its members to positions of authority.
Does this mean that their group is bad? No. Does this mean that they have malicious intent in their actions? No. Does this mean that they are a secret society like a group that advances their own goals in private for power and greed? No. All this means is that one group does have a majority because of their affiliation and that the one group—because of its size and power—can get their members elected easier than non-member students.
The Lajara-O’Leary Ticket is a ticket that believes in responsibility, and he thinks that the process of responsibility shouldn’t be in the hands of one group alone. According to O’Leary, the Board of Finances is majority-fraternity controlled.
This ticket also believes that students should have access to entering the student government without having to be part of a large group that would make it easier to win. The ticket has several ideas that would make it easier to expand student involvement. Some of these ideas include altering the system to allow students themselves to decide who gets positions of importance, rather than the government themselves; measures that would make the government more transparent.
O’Leary believes that by changing the government to allow more participation, then all students regardless of affiliation or social standing within the University will be better represented by the government that is charged with supporting and representing them. O’Leary claims he’s “not commenting on how good they are at winning elections,” he’s “commenting on the political machine.” In politics, affiliation does matter. It does so on the national, state, local, and college levels, and it’s something that the students of this university should be acquainted with and know.
With all of this being said, each candidate and person are just as qualified as each other. I’m sure that they’re all nice and wonderful and smart people. As this is an opinion article, I implore you a student, that you should support a candidate who does not have an allegiance to an organization; a candidate who will put the students first over their group. I believe that the best ticket that would do this is the Lajara-O’Leary Ticket.