After interviewing both candidates and holding many hours of discussion, The Polytechnic has chosen to not endorse a candidate for Grand Marshal. Instead, we will highlight the positives of each candidate, and discuss the negatives that prevented the Editorial Board from coming to a definitive conclusion.
On paper, Paul Ilori ’17 is a strong candidate for GM. Among current Senators, his track record is extraordinary. Throughout his three-year tenure on the Student Senate, Ilori has served as the chairperson the Rules and Elections Committee, the Student Life Committee, and the Student Rights and Policy Subcommittee, and has sat on several others. Most recently, he has worked with student petitions and collaborated with administrators on projects such as residence hall access and reworking the inclement weather policy, and, while on R&E dealt with a complicated election season. His leadership has made a significant positive impact on the Rensselaer Union and the students within it.
What we were not pleased with was how Ilori conducted himself in his interview with The Poly. Ilori maintained an attitude that, we believe, is not appropriate for an interview, especially for a candidate pursuing an endorsement from The Polytechnic. When Ilori entered the interview, he was haphazardly holding his belongings and proceeded to drop them down off to the side. During the interview, his responses tended to be long-winded without uniting ideas and he generally did not conduct himself in what we would consider a professional manner. We worry that, if he was unable to take our interview seriously, he would not be able to conduct himself professionally when the matter is pressing. Although Ilori has shown through his accomplishments that he is capable of professionalism, we were disappointed that Ilori elected to forego that professionalism in our interview with him.
The Editorial Board was also less than impressed with fellow candidate Daniel Rogers ’17. While we appreciate his mission to positively impact RPI as GM, he needs to take the position much more seriously if he wants to serve as an effective GM. Even before he came in for an interview, it was clear from his writing that he was woefully unprepared to serve as our 151st GM. His supplementary answers were riddled with spelling errors, grammatical mistakes, and lacked substance. He also neglected to submit any sample Top Hat editorials, a fundamental portion of the Poly GM Week submission, and he provided no explanation as to why he did not submit any, aside from not knowing what to write.
Naturally, one’s writing ability alone is not significant enough of a reason to oppose a candidate. In his answers in both the supplement and the interview, Rogers demonstrated insufficient understanding of the Senate, the GM position, and the overall operation of the student government. While we do not believe it is necessary for a candidate to serve as a senator before running for GM, the Editorial Board felt that Rogers still knew little about the position.
The Poly expects that, when running for the highest elected student official position in the Union, a candidate would take measures to ensure that they prioritize their campaign to demonstrate to the student body that the position is as important to them as they claim. However, Rogers proved the opposite. He failed to attend his scheduled interview and portrait session, despite confirming in his sign-up that he would be available for both. Furthermore, even when The Poly granted him a make-up opportunity for both, he was substantially tardy to the make-up portrait appointment.
As a part of GM Week 2016, there is a debate scheduled for 7 pm on Wednesday, April 13, in the McNeil Room between Ilori and Rogers. In addition to the synopsis we have detailed above, the Poly Editorial Board strongly encourages all students to attend the debate and make an informed decision on who they believe is best equipped to lead the student body over the next year.