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Shorter discusses SA, the future
by Angelique Siy
Hanszen College senior and Student Association President Daryl Shorter presided over his first SA Senate meeting last Monday. The meeting was brief: There was a smattering of announcements, a discussion about online voting, no appropriations and many missing representatives, since many colleges have not finalized their elections.

After the meeting, the Thresher interviewed Shorter. Regarding the goals he has set for his administration, Shorter said he and the new Senate were "looking into a lot of possibilities, ideas that were brought up during the campaign that ... are viable," like the universal ID card.

"I've already spoken to some of the [former] candidates about helping me to implement their ideas," Shorter said. "They reacted warmly and said that they would help in any way they could."

Regarding elections, Shorter conceded that it is "unfortunate that a lot of times, people end up voting for the person with the best posters. I personally believe that the election should be run based solely on our ideas, but this isn't a perfect world."

The Thresher also asked how the new student leader felt about student involvement on campus. Shorter said, "I think that the role of the SA, in a lot of ways, is to pick up the slack for the colleges. Colleges provide you with a social community setting among three to four hundred other students. The SA should act to bring the eight colleges together [so] they can express ideas about the university regarding student life and, also, academic concerns. I think that by [working together], that we can help unite the campus even more."

Shorter discussed a variety of other issues during his interview with the Thresher . The following is an excerpt from that interview:

Thresher : Do you think forums are useful? Do you think that this is actually a good way to instill dialogue, or should this be done at the college, the student level or the organizational level?

Shorter : It should be done at all levels. ... You can try to bring about dialogue at the university level, but so many people have a hard time getting out of their colleges, getting out of classes. At the college level, for example, it might be easier to ... facilitate discussion than to try to coordinate [interaction] at a university level.

Thresher : And your role models?

Shorter : Maryana [Iskander, Wiess College senior and former SA president] is a role model -- also [Hanszen senior] Allison Fine. But more often than not, just [looking at] what I've seen at the college level, I decided that effective college management as a college president could probably be applied to the university as a whole in some meaningful ways, because the kinds of issues people are most into are those issues that affect them personally.

I feel like there are a lot of issues that I want to tackle personally in the SA that will probably touch a nerve with some of the students at some core level. For example: Minority recruitment of faculty and staff is an issue for many minority students on campus that touches a nerve with them.

You saw tonight at the SA meeting, [that a discussion on] safety and security at Entrance 3 touches a nerve, touches something in your inner being. Everyone wants to be safe. No one wants to feel threatened, so by dealing with the type of issues that people feel passionately about, maybe we can erase some some of the apathy that people feel.

Thresher : On the SA presidential ballot, every single candidate, or pair of candidates, was a minority. What is your reaction to that, and how did you feel as a minority-and-yet-not-minority candidate?

I thought it was extremely interesting. ... I think it's because normally, when people think of Rice, they don't think of it as the most diverse place -- it's not. People normally characterize Rice as a Southern, white, upper-class ...

Thresher : ... And especially under-represented in blacks and Hispanics.

Shorter : Exactly. So I mean, it shows that we're finally making our steps toward bettering our racial and cultural situation.

Thresher : Rice isn't a particularly racial campus, just because most of us, as students, seem to be apathetic or of the mentality that "if you don't bother me, I won't bother you," and so race conflicts aren't in the forefront of any issue here on campus.

Shorter : But what's also interesting about that is that people aren't usually ready to take race and culture into consideration in any type of interaction, which is interesting, because as Cornel West said, "If you don't see me as a black man, you don't see me." So you get both sides of the coin, where people here are more willing to deny culture, deny race entirely, and not deal with people as cultural entities, which I also feel is not right.

Thresher : Maryana had a two-year-long term and accomplished many different things. How are you going to fill her shoes?

Shorter : Maryana told me, don't try to fill her shoes, and I am so not trying to fill her shoes. I think Maryana was especially powerful this last year, because if you ask her about what she did her first year, she'll say, "My first year, I spent making mistakes, learning the ropes, learning basically what to do and what not to do in a lot of situations," so that by the time her second term came around, she "knew what to do, [she] could go in and get things accomplished."

Unfortunately, I don't have my first year -- I have to come in and bump along, and hopefully, I'll make all my mistakes early in the beginning, so that I can have some smooth sailing toward the end. In terms of my abilities -- filling Maryana's shoes -- Maryana has obviously left me huge shoes to fill, and the range and depth with which she dealt with university issues I would definitely try to continue across the board. ... I would try to have a student say in just about everything.

This item appeared in the News section of the February 28, 1997 issue.

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