While every candidate for SFC Chair showed us a strong commitment to the process of funding student groups and the dedication needed for the long hours the job entails, it all comes down to experience with a job like SFC Chair. Tracy Earll, already two-time SFC Chair, is clearly the experienced candidate.
The most compelling fact that leads us to support Earll is how she managed to keep the student fees at the same level for the past two years, giving PSU the lowest student fees in the state of Oregon. Earll’s fire-tested experience in balancing the budget is a necessity during this time of fiscal instability.
While there have been calls that Earll is anti-OSPIRG, authoritarian, and biased, the fact of the matter is that she’s done her job and she’s done it well.
Since a huge funding hit to the OSPIRG budget last year, some of the group’s supporters have targeted Earll as an ideologue out to destroy progressive politics.
We don’t know if Earll has a chip on her shoulder about OSPIRG, no one but she knows that for sure. What we do know is that she’s advocated for more student space in Smith Memorial Student Union, and along with fellow SFC member and ASPSU presidential candidate Christy Harper, convinced the university to nix a plan that would collect 10 percent of student fee money for university expenses – money that students wouldn’t see.
She did all this while heading an SFC that added 7 new student groups and $500,000 in budget increases, without increasing student fees.
The other two candidates running for SFC Chair would be great SFC members, but we don’t feel they have the experience necessary to lead a committee as wholly-involving as the SFC.
Katie Wylie has the ability to get the job done, but one year on the SFC and a sometimes-spotty attendance record preclude us from endorsing her for the chair position, while we hope that she continues to serve on the committee.
Wafa Ghnaim, a new entrant to the world of ASPSU and the SFC, has great intentions and we hope that she, too, joins up in the fall. But being an effective SFC Chair is a gargantuan task and may be too much for the uninitiated.
In closing, if the two non-Earll candidates run next year, we’ll have a heated battle between two qualified contenders. But this year, Tracy Earll is still the clear pick.