Student Life Column

Germain: If elected, James Franco and Angie Pati have a long road ahead of them. But they’re still the right choice for SA.

Courtesy of James Franco

James Franco, right, and Angie Pati, left, are running for president and vice president of Student Association's 61st Legislative Session, respectively.

James Franco and Angie Pati are the golden children of the Syracuse University Student Association election race and have branded themselves as such. But while the pair may be the best suited to lead SA next year, they have their work cut out for them.

As prospective president and vice president of the undergraduate student body, Franco and Pati will be charged with not only cleaning up after the previous administration but also spearheading their own new initiatives. The optimistic rhetoric of their campaign has given them the edge over their more brandish opposing candidates, Tyler Rossi and Roy Tin. Experiences and initiatives aside, Franco and Pati have made it clear that they’re the voice of the people — or at least the SA undergraduate population.

But Franco and Pati must be careful, because their “fight-for-you” platform was also embodied last spring in President Eric Evangelista and Vice President Joyce LaLonde’s campaign for SA leadership. The current administration has been ridden with controversy and empty promises have become par for the course. If Franco and Pati want to succeed as elected leaders, they need to cut through the noise and get down to business.

What’s more is that the outreach and face-saving of Evangelista’s bylaws violations have made way for a difficult start to the upcoming administration’s session. The next SA leadership must address an essential question: How can SA look good again?

Franco said he and Pati have met with about 35 student organizations during their campaign, demonstrating that they’ve already cashed in on their platform to increase diversity and inclusivity. If elected, the pair also plans to advocate for increased mental health awareness and increased safety measures, especially near off-campus housing on Euclid Avenue. These plans are enticing selling points, but how they will be implemented will be a test of what makes the Franco-Pati ballot successful.

The two candidates have demonstrated that they are hard workers. But if their potential administration is to work, they will need to convince students to not just be advocates, allies and peers, but also participants. Franco has on several occasions noted his intent to improve SA’s visibility in more campus communities.

If Franco and Pati are elected and want to transform SA in the ways they’ve described, they’ll need to seek out the communities they wish to include in SA, hit the streets they hope to keep safe, get out of Maxwell Auditorium or the SA office in the Schine Student Center basement and provide concrete examples of mental health inadequacies to the SU administration.

Connecting with students while bouncing back from the Evangelista administration, which has often been consumed by public relations pitfalls, will be a challenge for either set of candidates, and students have the right to be skeptical. But Franco and Pati are qualified to walk into that administration next year to pick up the pieces and build something new.

Brendan Germain is a senior television, radio and film major and French minor. His column appears weekly. He can be reached at bngermai@syr.edu.

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