To the Editor:

It filled me with great excitement on Monday morning to see Joan Liu acknowledged for her long-standing commitment to do what is best for Rice students through the SA. I’ve always known Joan to be reasonable, quick on her feet, and an incredibly selfless person. These qualities have shined throughout her diverse career in the SA, as she has brought meaningful changes to our student government and life, such as helping to reform the blanket tax process and chartering a working group to stimulate discussions on sexual wellbeing and mental health.

Moreover, Joan is determined to create realistic, tangible solutions for all current and future students, and is not relying on idealistic fallacies and sound bites to get elected. It is unnerving to see how easily Rice students can fall into a rabbit hole of “anti-establishment” rhetoric, and overlook the reality of complex situations, such as sexual assault and the alcohol policy. For example, in working with administration and SJP, students must realize how their tone and actions impact the productiveness of their relationship with these institutions. In the end, Joan is the candidate more intimately familiar with the workings (and non-workings) of the SA, and knows how to effectively spearhead conversations with these administrators with a student-supported stance.

On the other side of this endorsement, it fills me with embarrassment as a Rice student to see the way a handful of students have childishly responded solely because their candidate was not endorsed. While most criticisms are founded in the Thresher's approach to crafting their endorsement, others have discredited the article as a whole, delegitimizing Joan’s merits and making her endorsement seem unduly given. Do I believe the Thresher is an infallible news source? No, but they had a very difficult choice on their hands, given the strong performances from both candidates on Friday night.

Joan and Griffin agreed on many topics at the debate, but Joan was able to respond in a more nuanced way that captured the complexities of the issues rather than relying on the “political theatrics” Griffin attempted to dismiss. In the end, the Thresher joined Joan in her more grounded vision for the future of our student body and representative government. Given the debate performances and campaign platforms, I think any news organization would recognize Joan’s undeniably superior ability to navigate our campus’ issues and politics. Therefore, I encourage you to ‪#‎JoinJoan‬ as well, as she is entirely deserving of your vote, and I sincerely believe she will accomplish more through the SA than Griffin would in a way that best reflects our very diverse student body.

A version of this letter was originally posted on Facebook.

Ryan Saathoff, Jones College ‘16