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Editorial: What will Cook and Grogan do to set themselves apart?

By TNH Editorial Staff

Shortly after hearing the final results, incoming Student Body President Cameron Cook said on Saturday that there is “something rewarding about winning against legitimate competition.” He’s right, but it is more rewarding for the student body that a choice had to be made.

Whether it was Cameron Cook and Ryan Grogan or Giselle Hart and Robert Richard-Snipes, UNH students would have been in good hands regardless of the outcome Saturday afternoon. But a decision was made, and Cook/Grogan just barely got the better of Hart/Richard-Snipes by slightly more than 100 votes.

Back in the fall, The New Hampshire opted out of endorsing any candidates during the mid-term cycle for state or federal office. And even in the race for Student Body President, we decided not to release an endorsement. While this paper does consider itself to be the voice of UNH students, our opinions in these pages represent only those with their name included. Our first responsibility is to inform UNH students to help them be productive members of the community. We hope our stories and opinions help readers and students form an opinion, but it’s not our job to shape their opinions.

With that being said, we congratulate Cook and Grogan on winning the majority vote and look forward to seeing their plans develop.

Cook and Grogan ran on a three-part platform that included initiatives surrounding sexual assault awareness, a “Student Strategic Plan,” and reviewing the budgets to see how they can get “more bang for each student’s buck.” 

This is a good, general platform to run on. The specifics Cook and Grogan outline for addressing sexual assault on campus is sound. Combatting rape culture and sexual assault on a college campus is by no means a small task. Working to improve response to sexual assault cases should be an ongoing effort each year, but Cook and Grogan were right to highlight this issue.

This “Student Strategic Plan” should be interesting to watch develop. The perceived endgame is that it will “take all the ideas students have that go beyond a single year and organize them into a coherent vision that creates accountability between the SBP’s Office and the Student Body and Administration to Students.” What Cook and Grogan plan to do in 2015-2016 to approach that goal was not so clearly laid out.

Finally, reviewing the plethora of budgets this university operates under was the third part of the Cook/Grogan plan. Every student would like to feel as though their leadership in Student Government is keeping a close and thoughtful eye on their money. When was the last time a candidate for Student Body President failed to bring up finance and budgeting somewhere in their plan?

In all, the Cook/Grogan program covers the three main bases most campaigns would need to touch on: a social issue involving students, some sort of legacy plan that will be started now and will carry us into the future, and, of course, budgets.

This is not a criticism; it’s the right formula to get the votes. Hart and Richard-Snipes ran on a similar formula, but with different elements.

While Cook and Grogan offered their cell phone numbers to students, Hart and Richard-Snipes called for regular town hall meetings. Both could check off another critical element of political campaigning right there: transparency. Throwing the digits out there is fine, but a some sort of live setting for fielding questions might be something for Cook and Grogan to borrow from the Hart/Richard-Snipes playbook.

Cook and Grogan had to earn the better half of almost 1200 votes and they did. Now, it’s time to put their plans in motion and see what they were actually talking about.

Let’s see how the do.

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