Both trustee candidates have strengths, weaknesses

McClinton more in touch, but lacks administration knowledge

As a first generation college student, Jaylin McClinton has a unique perspective. He encompasses the voice of students whose needs are not adequately met by the University.

On Friday, black community activists Terry Townsend and Martel Miller held a press conference about the issues facing black students on campus. They brought up the declining number of black students and low numbers of black faculty on campus, as well as the poor conditions of the Bruce D. Nesbitt African American Cultural Center.

McClinton has a very strong track record of making a difference on issues affecting black students. In fact, McClinton was a leader in moving the Nesbitt center.

With minorities, especially black students, not receiving the attention they deserve from the administration, it would be beneficial to have a student trustee making sure their voices are heard. McClinton also seemed to understand the importance of keeping the cost of college low in order to help attract poor and working-class students.

McClinton, however, also has a downside. In the debate, McClinton was unaware of the possibility of the American Association of University Professors censuring the University for its handling of the Steven Salaita situation. McClinton also had some questionable ideas about renovating the current dormitories, rather than building new ones.

While clearly invested in providing a voice for many students on the campus, what McClinton currently lacks is the proper knowledge of administrative issues. However, this is something he could easily learn through the position as a trustee.

Sterrett ready to be trustee, but not as experienced with diverse student issues

Charlie Sterrett could make a great trustee. He knows the issues facing the campus administration. He is aware of many of the technical aspects the Board of Trustees faces. Where McClinton lacks in administration knowledge, Sterrett more than makes up for it.

He knows the financial and academic problems facing the University, and, through his involvement in current trustee Lucas Frye’s cabinet of student leaders, he is connected to many campus leaders who are dealing with these problems on a daily basis.

Sterrett has a long line of experience that would help him make decisions to help the University, but he also seems to be less in-touch with the needs of fringe students.

Sterrett’s experience working with both Greek and non-Greek students is important, but that rift pales in comparison to the issues facing minority students on campus. To Sterrett’s credit, he said he would like to expand his cabinet to include more diverse voices.

Sterrett also hesitated to say whether he would vote against a tuition raise, though he did commit to voting against any tuition hike.

However, Sterrett seemed to not fully understand all issues. Sterrett said one way to help more students pay for college would be for the University to receive more MAP grants, but that isn’t a realistic situation. If the University could receive more financial aid from the state and federal governments, it would do so. The University has a large pool of unmet financial aid need for its students, and the University can’t afford to disperse its aid in a merit-based manner if it wants to continue to have socioeconomic diversity.

Unlike McClinton, Sterrett seems to have a much better handling of the inner workings of University matters; however, a seeming lack of a well-rounded voice for students could pose problematic.