UAP Choice Obvious- Write in "Michael K. Chung"By Michael K. Chung
So here we are, the highlight of the MIT calendar year for all of those affiliated with the Institute -- the famed Undergraduate Association presidential election. For those of you unfamiliar with this annual event, it is perhaps one of the biggest controversy generators known to MIT, closely contested by the UA and myself.
Throughout the years, students have come to the point where they feel that anyone can handle the responsibilities of the UA presidency. After all, what do those UA officers do with all of their time, anyway? Any attentive reader of The Thistle could tell you how often the UAP went out to dinner, what mode of transportation was used, and how he or she thanked Vannevar Bush '16 for his hospitality.
And what of the so-called "tangible student services" promised by candidate after candidate? By God, I got my Pink Floyd tickets myself. Okay, so some of my friends set me up with them, but that's beside the point. And I did go on my own ski trip to Vermont. Okay, so a friend of mine drove me there, but that too is beside the point.
The point is, I know that I don't rely on the UA to pamper my social life, and I'm sure that very few others do, except for a certain member of the Student's [sic] Revolutionary Group, which made its public debut two and a half elections ago, swindling the UA ballot box, and sending the election into overtime. A member was quoted in The Tech as saying "that students' social lives would be greatly improved if student government were truly effective. He then noted that he had not had a girlfriend for some time." ["Ballot Box Theft Halts UA Elections," Mar. 13, 1992]
Oh, the glory of the UA presidency must be great indeed. How I would like to have my own nameplate for my desk, hobnob with the MIT administration about the gripes that I and my fellow students hold, and share an upper-floor office with my colleagues. These are fringe benefits that I would certainly sacrifice my free time for.
But how to get elected? I'm a few days late for the debate, but that doesn't seem to matter, considering that fewer people showed up than there are fingers on my hands. For further evidence of lack of interest by the voters, see the accompanying photo, documenting the vast audience at Wednesday evening's UA candidate forum. The Campus Police must have put in immense overtime figuring out crowd control methodology.
Back to the campaign. Do I take the apathy approach that the Stephen A. Rinehart '93 and Jeremy H. Brown '94 ticket took two years ago? Do I promise tangible student services like the Kaiteh Tao '94 and Peter K. Verprauskus '94 team did that same year? Or do I just convince the non-voters -- between 50 and 70 percent of the campus -- that they should just write me, Michael K. Chung, in as UA president?
I like this last option. In fact, I like it so much, that I ask you, my ever-faithful readers, to write me in as your student body president, whether or not you agree with any of my views.
"But why? What are you going to be able to do as the UA president if you aren't even here? What are your views?" you may ask. Well, to be quite truthful, after I graduate and leave this place, I will probably accomplish as much, if not more, than any other UA president has since my arrival.
So what can I do for you as the UA president? Let's look at some of the big issues -- food, housing, Bush fund, communication between students and the UA. No problem -- if students really want to communicate with the UA, then they will find a way to; if they can't, then they're either too inept, too chicken, or just plain lame, and shouldn't whimper about not being able to do it.
The Vannevar Bush '16 discretionary fund? Hey, if he wants me to spend it however I want, then I can't imagine finding many difficulties in doing so.
Housing? Build more dorms, have freshman housing (for lack of a better argument -- it's national policy to change stances on campaign promises, just ask any U.S. president), guarantee financial support for the Independent Living Groups, and let students pick where they want to live after their first year. I find that leaving out details, particularly of the financial variety, helps to alleviate the stress of coming up with a viable solution, thus giving me the entire year to sit back in my deluxe office chair and "think" of that viable solution, then declaring that the status quo satisfies everyone's best interests.
And of course, the food issue. As a big eater, I'd like to have all-you-can-eat meals at a fixed price for the entire year. Thus, I propose meal plans of this variety, in packages based on number-of-meals per week. (See last paragraph for financial details, or lack thereof).
What is the underlying problem with student life issues at MIT? Simple, really -- we have too much freedom in selecting how we live and eat. The students have spoken; too much, perhaps. It is the UA's responsibility to work out the details and their implementation into MIT policy regarding student life. (Really, it's not like we get a choice on our tuition, right?) Of course, not everyone will be satisfied, but in a democratic society, it is naive to think that everyone will in fact be satisfied.
You, the reader, however, have the freedom to choose your UA officials. The choice for the presidency is obvious -- I leave it to you to decide who my vice-president should be.
UA President wanna-be Michael K. Chung plans to establish his office wherever he ends up next year, and is happy to meet any undergraduates voicing concerns at a convenient place in between, courtesy of A Safe Ride.