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Rinehart, Brown -- Vote Apathy

By Eva Moy
Associate News Editor

"Vote apathy."

Last year, only a few hundred people out of about 5000 voted for Undergraduate Association president and vice president, according to Jeremy H. Brown '94, a candidate for Undergraduate Association Vice President. "That many people can't all be wrong... . Vote apathy. Vote for us. We don't care."

Brown and his running mate, Stephen A. Rinehart '93, are considered by some as the "joke candidates." In fact, they "think that the UA takes itself far too seriously... . We don't claim that we're better than the other candidates... . A candidate is a candidate," Rinehart said.

Rinehart has "dealt with deans on a couple of occasions," and the two are "both good at flaming."

They are running on the electronic mail platform: If many students voice their opinions, then they will change their opinion, Brown said.

"We're only two people. If we're actually going to represent people, they should tell us what they want," Rinehart said. "Basically, if you don't like [something], and people want us to do something, we'll do it."

"We're not going to go looking for work for ourselves to keep ourselves busy," Brown added.

Bathrooms are an issue

Rinehart and Brown feel that most of the popular topics discussed by UA candidates are "non-issues" because "every candidate for every office had better be saying the same thing we are ... or they will kill their own campaign," Brown said.

The one issue on which Rinehart and Brown differ from the norm is the issue of women's bathrooms. Many of them are locked, and sometimes the Campus Police don't have the combinations, Brown explained. "Women should be able to get into the women's bathrooms."

Brown suggests using combination locks and making the combinations available in the Cheney room. "Having the world's safest bathroom is absolutely useless if you can't use it," he said, adding that there are also dangers in having to walk too far to find a bathroom that is not locked.

Rinehart and Brown do not think that an honor code will be effective. "Frankly, an honor code isn't going to change anything... . If they're cheating, they're going to cheat," Rinehart said. In addition, he feels that an honor code would make students into a secret police.

Brown suggested that professors define what acceptable collaboration is at the beginning of a class. An example is whether or not students can use "bibles," collections of previous years' problem sets and tests.

"The Undergraduate Association doesn't seem to me to have the position from which it can actually do anything about academic honesty except suggest to the instructors," he added.

On a similar topic, Rinehart said that "MIT has shown some disregard for what the undergraduates' opinion are" concerning the roles of research and teaching at MIT. "Good teachers shouldn't be fired just because they're not doing lots of research," Brown said.

"Either MIT will listen to its undergraduates," Brown said, "Or [you will have to] convince them that they have the idea that you have, and then convince them that they like the idea that they just had."

IAP and housing are both "things which aren't broken that the Institute is trying to fix," Brown said. "You can tell that people don't want to revamp the housing system and create a freshman dorm or delay R/O," Rinehart said.

"For IAP and housing, our biggest goal is to make sure that the administration doesn't change anything. That's probably best done by having lots and lots of students ...[do] some organized petition signing," Brown said.

The candidates feel that the UA should not decide on an alcohol policy. Instead, Dormitory Council and the InterFraternity Council, which are "more directly involved," should decide, Brown said.

"Underage drinking will happen even if somehow you get the houses to stop distributing alcohol," Brown said. "As far as the percentage of house tax goes, that goes straight back down to DormCon," he added.

Brown and Rinehart feel that all an alcohol policy does is allow MIT to protect itself.