It’s clear that the University must take great strides in improving the student experience at USC, whether it’s by expanding mental health resources on campus, implementing sustainable practices University-wide or increasing spaces for diverse communities. For this reason, the Daily Trojan Editorial Board endorses Undergraduate Student Government presidential candidate Truman Fritz and vice-presidential candidate Rose Ritch as they best reflect the interests of the USC community.
As president and vice president, Fritz and Ritch would have little problem engaging with student-run organizations and administration as their campus influence extends across various student groups. Fritz, who currently serves as the senior director of communications at USG, and Ritch, who is currently a senator, both have the necessary experience and proven determination to effect a meaningful shift in campus culture.
After conducting interviews with each ticket, it was clear the Truman & Rose ticket had clear, ambitious and feasible goals in their campaign platform. From the get-go, they were clear in saying merely two people cannot support all undergraduate students, which is why they said, if elected, they will govern through collaboration with other campus leaders to identify the gaps in USC’s resources.
“I believe … [in] our goals of being able to engage with the entire student body — and again, pulling back to two people cannot represent 20,000 — and that’s something we entirely acknowledge,” Ritch said. “That’s something that we really want to make a priority bringing the students in and I think we seem very eye-to-eye on everything.”
The Truman & Rose ticket sets itself apart from the others in its acknowledgment that USC is a revenue-generating business that often has conflicting interests that counter those of the student body. We believe this acknowledgment is key to addressing the many concerns that the student body has had recently with the administration regarding corruption and a lack of accountability. USC is an institution for higher learning, but it is also a corporation that is constantly seeking profit, and these values often get in the way of each other. Fritz and Ritch understand this, which we believe is beneficial in encouraging change within the administration.
Fritz and Ritch embody an effective working pair. Built on friendship and mutual values, Fritz and Ritch’s connection is authentic and therefore, the Editorial Board has concluded, necessary in leading the multi-million dollar enterprise that is USG. Whereas many of the other tickets seemed to show a disconnect and imbalance between the presidential candidate and the vice presidential candidate, Fritz and Ritch demonstrate a collaborative, balanced partnership that will facilitate their success as USG leaders.
On the subject of the transfer and new student experience, Fritz and Ritch spoke empathetically about the unfair treatment that many transfer and spring admit students get, noting that these students are given a different and less comprehensive orientations. Fritz and Ritch supplied meaningful solutions to problems surrounding the inclusion of these communities.
Fritz proposed a fix as simple as issuing transfer or spring admit students their USC ID cards earlier than orientation so these students could use the facilities on campus such as the gym in an effort to acclimate to campus life. By providing manageable and meaningful changes to problems like these, the Truman and Rose ticket shows its commitment to inclusion for all members of the student body.
Fritz and Ritch recognize that sustainability is one of the major and shared goals of each presidential ticket but distinguish themselves by having the most aggressive platform to find campus-wide solutions. After reviewing the drafted 2028 Sustainability Plans for the University, Fritz noted that the administration’s plans were not ambitious enough and that there needs to be accountability if these goals are not met.
Their plan ranges from phasing out single-use plastics to educating students on living sustainable lives during their academic tenure and beyond. Most notably, the campaign draws from meetings with the administration and the 2020 sustainability goals that were not met and uses these as a guiding force that furthers environmental consciousness on the USC campus as a whole.
The duo admitted that issues surrounding mental health have affected them both during their time at the University and, in turn, want to prioritize student health and well-being. If elected, they plan to take a “student-first” approach to address the current mental health crisis. Fritz and Ritch intend to improve upon existing resources by increasing the diversity of the counselors at Engemann Student Health Center to serve underrepresented communities and by working with the current Student Assembly for Accessibility to accommodate students when mental health may affect their academic attendance and performance.
Most of all, the Daily Trojan Editorial Board recognizes Fritz and Ritch’s propensity for serving the USC community with clear and attainable goals that, if elected, will help shift our University’s focus to initiatives and efforts that put students first. This is important to consider once students cast their votes this week.
Daily Trojan SPRING 2020 Editorial Board