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Thursday, Apr 18, 2024

Roni Lezama ’22 for SGA president

<a href="" rel="attachment wp-att-54944"></a> <span class="photocreditinline"><a href="">Sarah Fagan</a></span>

The editorial board is proud to endorse Roni Lezama ’22 for SGA president. As the current vice president, former co-chair of Community Council and member of the Institutional Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee, he has copious experience working alongside institutional bodies to advocate on behalf of the student body. We trust that he will use his pre-existing relationships with administrators and key stakeholders to push his agenda items and make them a reality. With a strong commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, he has a clear vision of what remains to be done at Middlebury to make it a place where all feel welcome and supported. We have no doubt that he will rise to the occasion. 

Although Lezama has strong leadership skills, he also understands that the SGA operates not as a central authority but as a catalyst for change. His honesty and sense of realism regarding the SGA’s abilities is not only refreshing but necessary to convert ideology into action. Previous candidates for SGA president have had more theoretical approaches to students’ concerns in lieu of substantive ideas and were, often unable to realistically deliver on their hopeful promises. With a concrete action plan and the credibility to back it up, Lezama has accountability built into his platform.

In his conversation with The Campus, he explained that he joined SGA due to personal struggles he faced during his first year. He promised himself that he would do as much as he could to make sure that no student ever feels what he felt, and to ensure that Middlebury is a place that feels like home for every individual, including and especially members of marginalized communities. 

Running alongside Lezama as his vice presidents are rising sophomore Meg Farley ’24 and rising junior Charice Lawerence ’23. Farley and Lawrence offer a vital perspective that is necessary for understanding the broader range of student experiences. By having representation from an array of class years on his executive team, Lezama is much more likely to maintain a pulse on the issues that are affecting people at various levels of the student body. 

Lezama and his opposing candidate Myles Maxie ’22 share a genuine desire to make Middlebury better and have the passion and determination to do so. Myles and his team, comprised of Arlo Fleischer ’21.5, Niyafa Boucher ’22, and Bakari Moitt ’X, have similar ideals for the future of the Middlebury community, and we commend them for their continued dedication to uplifting marginalized communities and centering anti-racism as well as diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives. We believe in their capabilities and their convictions, and that they will continue to advocate for these principles.

Going into next fall, we as a community will continue to grapple with the collective trauma and grief experienced in this past year. Covid-19, the turmoil surrounding the presidential election, the ongoing Black Lives Matter movement, the push for LGBTQIA+ rights, and climate justice, to name a few, will continue to affect us all. Moving forward, it is necessary that we have leaders who intend to center the voices of those marginalized groups who have been impacted the most and whose action plans put their needs at the forefront so that Middlebury College can serve as a better community for all.

Lezama has already demonstrated an awareness of the importance of such community. In speaking with us, he noted that at the end of the day it’s his team’s job to help lead the SGA. We believe this mindset of teamwork over individualism will be incredibly beneficial. As a team, Lezama, Farley and Lawrence’s empathy, care and passion already shine through. 

This editorial represents the opinions of the Middlebury Campus’ editorial board.