UNLV needs a strong leader 


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Though we work at The Rebel Yell what seems to be every waking moment, we do try to get out as much as we can.

But when we’re not in the office slaving away into the night to produce a paper, pouring over exciting things like subject-verb agreement and AP style, we are in class or covering higher education board sessions and student government deliberations. It’s our job as journalists to suffer long hours in public meetings, sifting through information and interviewing, but it’s a duty to students that we hold to be sacred.

It’s also the job of the student newspaper, when we see no other alternative and a campus seemingly destined to remain without a strong student voice, to advocate for what we know is right.

Last year, The Rebel Yell refrained from endorsing candidates running for a CSUN position on the executive board. We largely stay neutral when the field of candidates is relatively normal and nobody stands out or is controversial enough to deserve opposition.

This weeks upcoming CSUN executive board primaries feature many candidates, but we feel one stands above the rest as a tireless representative for students, and for that reason they deserve your vote.

We first were introduced to Mark Ciavola as the incoming president of the UNLV College Republicans, and though we disagreed with some of his stances on political issues, there was no denying Ciavola’s natural talent in organizing and mobilizing students for a cause.

Last semester’s CSUN Senate elections saw Ciavola and his Rebels United ticket more or less elected in a landslide. A coalition of active, intelligent young people from diverse academic backgrounds managed to beat many who had been involved in student government for a long time. What it took was hard work, an understanding of the issues and the courage to approach everyday students. At the forefront of that was Ciavola.

Since then, we have seen a senate that has sought to use its resources wisely to represent students and insisted on accountability from groups seeking to use student fees.

Ciavola, though fiscally conservative, supports well-planned student events; if he can’t give his vote to a student group the first time they approach student government, he tries to work with them through CSUN’s committees in order to draft a proposal that can be supported.

To this day, he refuses to accept tuition waivers for representing his constituents in the liberal arts college.

CSUN has a long way to go still, as do many at UNLV that want to enact change, but those small victories would not have been possible without a strong leader determined to achieve a vision.

Behind him, Ciavola has a formidable team. Sarah Farr’s tremendous experience in CSUN and deep knowledge of its procedures would make her a great candidate for VP and Jay Yoon is an eloquent speaker that would do well as the senate chair. Rest assured, they would both be votes well cast.

The other tickets however, leave a lot to be desired.

It’s easy to say on flyers and on posters come election time that you’ll be the best and make the right decisions, but if you don’t already have a consistent record of doing those things in any capacity, you give students no reason to believe you and for good reason.

The truth is that representing students and shouldering the responsibility of that in the face of serious opposition is hard. There is a reason that none of the other candidates in this election have a history of opposing tuition increases, or of even bothering to show up at Nevada System of Higher Education Board of Regents meetings, even when they are in our own Student Union. Ensuring that all Nevada campuses are treated equally by the state is a dry business that requires a lot of time, patience and energy from our representatives. But that’s their job, and if candidates weren’t trying to do it before, there’s no reason we should believe that they’ll do it now.

The UNLV undergraduate community needs a leader who they can count on to be in the right places at the right times, advocating for the right thing, and Ciavola is the only presidential candidate in the race who already has a record of doing that.

That’s not to say the other candidates can’t someday be good choices for undergraduate student body president. They can. But at this moment they have little or no experience that would prepare them in confronting state legislators that want to starve Nevada’s higher education institutions of the funding they need, or keep in place the policies that favor northern Nevada campuses over southern. If they cared about representing you properly, they would seek to build those skills first.

Because the sad fact is that we live in a time of UNLV’s history when the primary legacy the undergraduate president will leave at our university centers around the hard stances they will choose to take on behalf of students before the State Legislature and the board of regents, not the Rebel Pride Council.

The debate surrounding the Nevada higher education funding formula is for keeps, and the financial future of UNLV hangs in the balance. We can’t afford to elect leaders that don’t understand this, and candidates that don’t even know what the formula is should be dismissed out of hand. This is not a game and there is no time for on-the-job training.

Our endorsement comes not out of any ideological agreement, but through close examination of the reality that we have witnessed through our time as journalists and reporters at UNLV.

As men and women whose lives center around the pursuit of truth, this is what we think. We wouldn’t be writing this if we didn’t truly believe it.

So by all means, examine the record for yourself. Listen to our audio interviews of the candidates online, delve into our archives and research the facts.

That’s what we did.

0 Responses to UNLV needs a strong leader

  1. Alegrete

    The 3 are the ONES. Do your research on the other tickets? These 3 have what it takes

  2. Sarah

    Are you serious?  

    “The UNLV undergraduate community needs a leader who they can count on to
    be in the right places at the right times, advocating for the right
    thing, and Ciavola is the only presidential candidate in the race who
    already has a record of doing that.”

    The editorial staff is astoundingly ignorant if they think this is true.  He’s certainly in the right place (for his person political gain) but far from “advocating for the right thing.”  Unless you think guns on campus is the right thing… or NO NEW TAXES UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, EVEN IF WE HAVE TO CUT HIGHER ED BY 30% is “advocating for the right thing.” 

    I am completely appalled at the Rebel Yell for this endorsement.  What’s next?  Endorsing Jim Gibbons or George W. Bush?

  3. Mitchell Cain

    The three students running for CSUN on the Rebels United ticket are three of the hardest working and most dedicated individuals I have met in my two years at UNLV. Mark, Jay, and Sara all have families, jobs, and  various commitments, and they give all they have to ensuring a fair and representative student government exists at UNLV. I have had the pleasure of knowing them all as both colleagues and as friends. They are fine people and I am proud to support them.

    I have, like Ken, given much time and energy to helping Rebels United get their message out because I know that they will make our student government what it is intended to be: a representative body that listens to and helps students in real ways. Mark, Sara, and Jay aren’t running to be popular or to add a title to their resume. They are running because they are ready to work WITH their fellow students to create an honest and representative student government.


  4. Diana

    All three members of the ticket are amazing students and representatives.

    I only know Mark personally, and I can say this. He is an honest candidate who has experience knows what he’s talking about. He is hard working and seeks accountability for where our student funds go and will work hard for student scholarships as well.

    I believe very strongly that the entire Rebel United ticket ARE the change we need at UNLV to better prepare ourselves for the future in this kind of economy.

    REBELS UNITED!!! March 7 & 8 All the way!!!

  5. KenMinster

    I have known all three members of this ticket for almost two years now. While many have controversial views about Mark Ciavola, there is no denying that he, Sara Farr and Jay Yoon are strong advocates for students. Ciavola and his ticketmates have stood strong against tuition increases and will do so as the executive board.

    I have taken a day off of work this week to flyer for them on campus because I believe so strongly that they are the best choice for executive board. The Rebels United ticket was elected with tremendous support last time because it held strong values like using CSUN funds wisely and making it more accountable and the ticket has upheld its promise while in office.

    I know that this executive board will keep its promises as well. I hope everyone has a chance to vote March 7 and 8 on MyUNLV for these strong leaders. I don’t want you to take my word for it. They and I will be on campus all week sharing this message. Please find me and speak to me about it!


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