Candidates present their platforms at meeting
By Andrea Lamberti
The three official teams for Undergraduate Association president and vice president presented their platforms at the candidates' forum Wednesday night. The three teams are Luisa Contreiras '90 and Dave Atkins '90; Paul Antico '91 and Andrew Strehle '91; and Adam Braff '91 and Shawn Mastrian '91. The class officer candidates also presented their platforms. Elections will be held on March 15.
The Contreiras/Atkins platform plans to build on the accomplishments of the two previous administrations. They outlined their plans for a new mandatory Course Evaluation Guide, which would review approximately 400 to 500 classes. "It won't be exponentially more expensive," Contreiras said, because it would only require the efforts of 20 to 30 more students. She also felt that individual departments should take on more responsibility for Course Guide.
To solve the current student activities funding problem, Contreiras and Atkins proposed the establishment of a student activities endowment. Contreiras said, "Now is the time to address it because it is a problem for students right now." When questioned about the plan's feasibility in light of MIT's current financial status, she said that they would try to work out a feasible option.
The most important issue to Atkins is "community reform." He said that he has "seen it as a big issue but never seen anything done. That's why I'm into this mandatory evaluation, because the heart of education reform goes back to quality of teaching."
The Braff/Mastrian team claimed that they would fight to keep the pass/no-credit grading option open to freshmen, and to open "paths of communication" between the UA and the students to change its "clique-ish nature."
They said that the UA's "infamous secrecy" was one reasons why they were running for office. Braff said, "Shawn and I will no longer tolerate this." He believed that "the UA must present ideas to the administration in a forceful way."
When asked to explain their perception of the present UA, they said, "They do a credible job; we can do much better." The two said that the UA is not in touch with students. When asked to verify this, Braff said "they haven't been to us and to our friends."
"Quality of life issues" are important to the Braff/Mastrian team. They claimed that, if elected, they would make life at MIT as "painless as possible."
ARA, MIT's food catering company, would be targeted for reform. They felt that "mandatory meal plans like the ones at Baker House and Next House are ridiculous." They would "go to the administration with strong ideas about ARA."
The most important issue to the Antico/Strehle team is student activities funding. "Student activities need money bad. [Activities] are requesting about four times as much as we can give them," Antico said. Strehle said he and Antico would use "all the available resources above and beyond [the UA Finance Board]" to increase activities funding. The team favors an endowment to provide funds for activities.
When asked if they had a social agenda, Strehle said, "the Spring Weekend coming up this spring is being organized now. It'll be really good." But to have a successful social agenda, he said, "We have to consider all the aspects: that there is an East and a West Campus; that it's hard to compete with the fraternities on a Friday or a Saturday night. [We] must consider all these aspects [if we] plan to have all involved."
All three teams felt that the current freshman-year pass/no-credit grading system was one of the most important issues facing students.
Braff and Mastrian regarded pass/no-credit as one of the most important issues that will face the new UAP and UAVP. They hoped to keep it a part of the MIT freshman year, and to "fight hard since students want second term pass/fail. We're closer to freshmen [than the faculty and administration], and we know what they want." "Our decision should be much more important" than theirs, he said.
Antico said, "There is no one opinion about this thing. For some it's a very good thing; for others it's a very, very bad thing." Regarding the upcoming referendum concerning pass/fail, Antico said, "There's a big hole there." He added, "We have to make sure we can sway the administration to have a good decision now, because this thing will stick for 10 to 20 years."
Atkins said that, based on an informal poll he and Contreiras conducted in Baker House Tuesday night, opinion on the issue was divided about 50 percent for pass/fail, and 50 percent against it. "It's not going to do a lot of good to have 2000 students screaming about pass/fail. (We'll have to) talk to faculty to figure out the basis for their assumptions."
The three teams were asked how they would improve communication between students and the UA and how they would get more people to issue-related forums.
Antico said that he and Strehle see two ways to improve communication. They would begin with door-to-door canvassing. "We'll have reports showing how students actually feel." The second way they would improve communication would be to "move meetings all over" the campus, from "dorm to dorm," in order to get "the regular people and some outsiders" to the meetings. They also plan to increase postering before meetings, and to "poster the issues."
Mastrian said that they would be able to improve communication because they are "outsiders coming in."
Contreiras believed that "postering is the most effective way." She also said that just having forums was not enough to get ideas across to students. It would be necessary, she said, to "have forums in the houses, geared to people in the living groups."
Student Acitivites Funding
Mastrian said that they would act quickly with and action like `getting 3000 signatures' and taking it to the institute.
The Contrerias/Atkins ticket proposed an endowment to fund student activities.
Class Officer Candidates
The candidates for the class of 1992 president are Rizwan Virk and Aileen Lee. For Vice-president the candidates are Mitchell Liu and John Welch. Candidates for treasurer are Denise Purdie and Peter Wainman. The candidates for secretary are Arvind Lakshminarayan, Celia Liu, and Jo Kusmall. Social Chair candidates are Peggy Hsieh and Rebecca Niles, and Eva Regnier and Jennifer Rigney.
The class of 1991 candidates for president are Patrick Gannon, Brian Katz, John Stephens, and Aimee Quijano. Vice-presidential candidates are Judy Chen and Pete O'Neill. Running unopposed for treasurer is Manish Bapna. Amy Thorsen is unopposed for the office of secretary. Rachel Wilks and Dawn Mitzner are running unopposed for social chairs. Orlando Martinez is running unopposed for officer of publicity.
The presidential candidates for the class of 1990 are Julie Kim, Pamela Barrett, and Joe Babiec. Stacy Segal is running for Vice-president, Humphrey Chen is running for treasurer, and Priti Paul and Will Botti are running for social chairs.
The candidates for the class of 1989 are Darian Hendricks and Carissa Climaco for president, R. David Duis for vice president, and Henry Hough for secretary. Laura Brower is running for the position of member at large.
The Contreiras/Atkins campaign has a platform based on student activities funding, educational reform, and community spirit. They hope to start a student activities endowment. Their platform also includes a mandatory course evaluation guide of approxiamtely 400 to 500 courses that would inform students and departments of the quality of teaching at MIT.
The Antico/Strehle ticket hopes to "represent the students." They want to change the process by which the UA obtains money to fund student activities, because last year students demonstrated in a referendum that they didn't want to pay an activities fee. They hope to motivate students to attend council meetings. They plan to draw on their UA experience of the past two years if elected.