President of the Union: Justin Etzine

By The Polytechnic Editorial Board April 2, 2018

The Polytechnic endorses Justin Etzine for President of the Union. This past year, some of the Executive Board’s operations have lacked both transparency and efficiency. Etzine’s understanding of these issues—and his commitment to fixing them—is unquestionable.

Etzine has been involved in Student Government for his four years at Rensselaer, most recently serving as the 152nd Grand Marshal. Under Etzine, the Senate has seen impressive productivity and structure through an increased emphasis on subcommittees, a revamp of the senator training process, the creation and approval of a guide for senators, and the creation of a committee centered around analyzing the reforms that could be made to the Senate internally.

Etzine’s involvement and experience in Student Government is unmatched; even though some may argue that his expertise is more formally within the Senate, he has participated in Executive Board committees, attended many meetings, and even corrected the incumbent president of the Union on the Board’s procedures. His understanding of E-Board operations is undeniable, and the Board could greatly benefit from similar structural changes to those implemented in the Senate.

While we would like to see new faces in our leadership, Etzine is clearly the most qualified candidate. The Poly is confident that, if elected, Etzine would appoint a diverse, dedicated group—which, under his guidance, would be capable of making rational and well-informed decisions—to the Executive Board.

When reflecting on the past year, fellow candidate Ida Etemadi ’19 described E-Board meetings as efficient, but we disagree. The Poly fears that if the next president of the Union does not address operational issues—such as conformity, the focus on personal opinions in decision-making, and the lack of meeting structure—the Executive Board will remain stagnant and limit the productivity of the Union for the next year.

Editor’s note: The Poly has discussed at length whether we can make an endorsement for President of the Union in good faith. We took into account that Etzine has not had a position on the Editorial Board for two years, and we came to the conclusion that we could still make an endorsement that reflects what we think is best for students, the Union, and Rensselaer, and not simply who has been a good member of The Poly.