Class Council Races Heat Up at ForumBy Hyun Soo Kim
Associate News Editor
Many candidates are vying for the three class president offices in this year's elections, and the contest between the current sophomores is especially lively.
Sandra K. Joung '95, the incumbent class president, is running against two other candidates, Jay S. Sarkar '95, and Sookyung Lee '95. At the Undergraduate Association forum Monday night, Joung faced criticism about her performance over the last year.
"I think the problem is that many people think incumbents haven't done much, but I think since she was the first one at the podium, they voiced their concerns and used her as a focal point," said Steven A. Luperchio '95, who attended the forum.
"I didn't know who [sophomore class president] was until the forum, where I heard the candidates speak," said Manoj W. Subbarao '95. "Sandra Joung was all defensive. She tried to portray the sophomore ring as a big accomplishment, but it is not really a sophomore class activity," Subbarao said. "The buddy reception was a flop, and there was nothing, nothing else. I doubt it's purely her fault -- probably of the whole board. Nothing has been done."
Joung said, "I think we did a lot for the class, and [other candidates] don't know what goes on. It takes a lot of effort to get things going. Like the Battle of the Classes and the sophomore reception took a lot of time. We also have a class T-shirt that is coming up. We have planned things strategically and financially."
Race more intense than usual
The candidates agreed that the race was more intense than usual. "It's a little more intense this year because there is a little more mud-slinging. It's just on a different level this year," Joung said.
"I think it is very intense, and there is mud-slinging," Lee said. "My posters have been moved, torn down -- I can't say it is the other candidates, but there is so much tension between the three of us. People are blaming each other for posters missing."
Lee added, "I feel really strongly about this class. There were a lot of things that could have been done but were not accomplished. I think I have realistic goals. I feel I can get them through."
"I'm running because I wanted to get the Class Council running. I feel the incumbent really hasn't done very much, and I want to change the apathy of our class," Sarkar said.
"I what to reach out to our class and if it means going door-to-door, I'll do that. I want to have free class T-shirts, a semiformal, and a band party," Sarkar added. "I think this race is very intense, I don't like it at all. I think if you make someone else look bad, then it doesn't make you look any better."
Joung said, "I'm running because I think I'm the best candidate for the job. I know the office, and I know what is realistic. Other candidates have good ideas, but we have already tried to do most of that. They would just spend the year re-inventing the wheel." Joung also said that free class T-shirts would put the class in debt.
Rosalydia Tamayo '95, who attended the forum, said that she wanted a change. "I feel that we didn't do anything together as a class, so I think it is time for a change. ... I think there is a lack of communication. We don't really know what is going on. Only some people know what is going on."
Four run for '94 president
Four candidates are running for Class of 1994 President: Ann Chen '94, Joey A. Marquez Jr. '94, Sita P. Venkataraman '94, and Peter K. Verprauskus '94.
Venkataraman said,"I'm enthusiastic and pretty creative, so I think I'm the right person to guide us and insure that we have the best senior year possible."
Marquez is running because of the lack of leadership he perceives. "I am running to get our class united because for the past three years I have looked and seen nothing happen, so I thought I would take initiative and run," Marquez said.
Chen stressed her experience as sophomore secretary and junior vice president. "I've been part of Class Council as it was raising money for senior year and I would like to carry it out as president. I have a lot of experience, and I have seen Class Council struggle and succeed and I think I know how to get the job done." She also hopes for more senior involvement in activities such as a career fair, senior brunch, pizza dinner, and a traveling study break she was planning.
"One original idea I have is to compile a list of alumni willing to talk about their careers to undergraduates about how MIT prepared them for their careers," Verprauskus said.
Five candidates for '96 president
The office of Class of 1996 President is contested by five candidates. The incumbent is Surekha Vajjhala '96. "When the candidates of the other classes spoke, they said that they didn't like the activity of the incumbents. ... But the candidates running against me didn't really express dissatisfaction. It's a friendly race, and whether they win or not, a number of them will participate in Class Council.
Another candidate, Bryant Y. Lin '96, said, "I want to get people interested in the process. I would emphasize communication. I would try to get some kind of system such as more frequent newsletters and some other way to get ideas across, maybe through Athena."
Ted A. Miguel '96 emphasized that the president should play a more active role on issues that are of importance to the class. He added, "I'll try to increase communication between the Class Council and our class."
Matthew J. Turner '96 said that he wants to build up school spirit and increase interaction among the class. He also plans to improve student-faculty communications by having socials with professors to help students in getting mentorships, UROP's, and jobs. He added, "I would like to address the concerns of the class to let us have a voice on campus. I am experienced and motivated and I would like to meet each one of the Class of 1996."
Albert L. Hsu '96 is also running for the presidency, but could not be reached for comment last night.