Who deserves your vote?

By Josh Rohrscheib

On March 7 and 8 you will have the opportunity to cast your vote for the next student member of the Board of Trustees, the University’s ultimate decision making body. Gaining student representation was one hell of a fight, now that we have it, its important we find the right person for the job. The candidates are Nina Fuentes, Mike Trojanowski and Chris Kantas.

From all accounts, Nina Fuentes is a hardworking student leader who has her head and her heart in the right place. Nina is involved in Lambda Theta Alpha Multicultural Sorority, Interfaith Dialogue, and the promising new Illinois Policy Debate team.

After reading Nina’s platform and talking to her, I was impressed with her dedication, but I found that some of her positions lack a nuanced understanding of campus policymaking. For example, Nina opposes lowering the speed limit from 25 mph to 20 mph. She’s right, but she must have missed the fact that the Champaign City Council already voted against the proposed speed limit reduction.

Additionally, she advocates extending “truth in tuition,” a program that locks in the cost of attendance over four years, to out of state students. With “truth in tuition,” if there is a sharp decline in state support, which could happen in any given year, the University is forced to make up the gap with an unfair tuition spike for the next incoming class. Out of state students strongly oppose paying a disproportionate and unfair share of tuition. When I talked to Chris Kantas, he pointed out that 13 percent of our student body is from out of state, but 36 percent of the student body at Michigan is from out of state. Kantas advocates admitting more out of state students and charging them a lower, fairer tuition rate.

Nina Fuentes has tremendous potential, and she really cares about students. Nina has already shown significant leadership abilities, and she is only a sophomore. She isn’t ready yet, but with one more year of polish and campus experience, she would be an outstanding student trustee.

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Mike Trojanowski has virtually no campus leadership experience. Instead of articulating specific ideas, Trojanowski merely makes blanket statements like “I favor quality education and fiscal responsibility.” Hello Mike, everyone does. He might as well say he opposes man-eating sharks and supports healthy babies.

The few ideas Trojanowski has are profoundly stupid. For example, he advocates reducing teacher tenure requirements as an incentive for faculty recruitment. Sure this creates incentives, but only for those who couldn’t get tenure elsewhere. Once they’re tenured its almost impossible to remove them.

Chris Kantas is supported by the current and past presidents of both the College Democrats and College Republicans, and a rapidly growing list of other student leaders, including the last two Student Trustees, Nick Klitzing and Matt Diller. They all found Kantas to be both a pragmatic leader and a tireless advocate, the kind of guy who simply gets things done.

Chris Kantas is also the most experienced of the three candidates. He’s a member of campus committees on Admissions, Rape Awareness and Prevention, MTD Reform, and he chaired the Committee on Student Rights.

Shakespeare wrote, “What’s past is prologue.” Chris has shown through his actions and past service why he deserves our vote.

Of all the candidates, Chris Kantas has the deepest, most nuanced understanding of the problems facing the student body, and he is the closest to having real solutions. These are just a few of the reasons I not only endorsed Chris, but I decided to work on his campaign. You should too, go to www.votekantas.com and join the movement.

Josh Rohrscheib is the President of the Illinois Student Senate and a guest columnist. He would like to say hi to Tim Behrens and wish him a Happy Unoffical this Friday. He can be reached at [email protected].