Page Stresses Consensus BuildingBy Daniel C. Stevenson
Associate News Editor
If elected Undergraduate Association president and vice president, Colin M. Page '95 and Michael R. Evans '95 want to bring the UA down to the level of the students.
"If you're a student and you're in a group, or if you're just a student, and you have an idea, [the UA office] would be a place to come to first," Evans said.
As a leader, Page said he is "very much a consensus builder" and he will be highly visible to students. The leadership problems with the current UA are "problems with uncompromising attitudes," Page said, and he has "no problem compromising."
"They [students] will see me," Page said. "I'm going to be going around getting in people's faces," he added. "I want the people who disagree with me to come in [to the UA office] more often than the people who agree with me."
If elected president, Page said there "won't be any such thing as the UAP's office." Instead, the UA office will be open to anyone. "That door is not going to be closed," he said.
"Communication is a big emphasis this year," Evans said. Communicating with students "can't just be the two of us going to house meetings," he said. Instead, the UA could form "a new committee that can be focused on enhancing communication with students."
There is a need to "institutionalize something that really changes communication" between students and the UA, Evans said.
In one of their campaign posters, Page and Evans propose providing information about the UA on the "Dash" help bar on Athena workstations. With this system, students would be able to "find out all the information they need and want," Page said.
Page would also like to put an end to closed meetings. "There is nothing that is private that concerns the students," he said.
For his part, Page is "going to start meeting with administrators and get to know them" once he takes office. Additionally, he wants to go out and talk to students and "find out what other people are doing."
Additionally, Page wants to have regular "gripe sessions" where students can raise their concerns with various administrators. These sessions would remove the need for the typically crisis-driven student forums, he said.
The administration would also be in favor of these regular forums, Page said, because administrators are often "complaining about not finding out about what we want."
"If we did nothing else but that [the gripe sessions] ... we'd be doing a lot."
Page and Evans want to separate the UA from the Finance Board, which allocates funding from the Office of the Dean for Undergraduate Education and Student Affairs to various student groups, subject to approval by the UA Council.
"I would like to see the Finboard separate from the UA as much as possible," Page said. He proposed creating a priority system to decide funding allocation that would avoid the "stupid games" and personal bias that enter upon present Finboard decisions, he said.
Evans suggested seeking alternative sources of funding for student activities to allow for more funding. "There is a lot of money at the school," Evans said. "I don't think it's being appropriately channeled."
In the way of providing "tangible student services," Page said "the most tangible thing I can offer is I'm planning on using the Bush fund for some major project." The Vannevar Bush '16 fund is an approximately $4,000 discretionary fund under the control of the UA president.
Page plans to have a group of students brainstorm ideas for the use of the fund. One idea is to "make some kind of memorial like a statue or plaque for students who have died at MIT," Page said.
Only $2,000 to $3,000 of the Bush fund would be used for this project, Page said, leaving "a thousand or so around for an emergency."
Harassment, safety also important
"I don't think that the current system and the current guide are adequate," Page said, regarding MIT's harassment policy. "I think the guide was just a long enunciation of what was already current policy," he said. According to Page, MIT needs a "more centralized system" for dealing with harassment complaints.
The UA should "have a forum [on harassment] like the GSC had, for undergraduates," so that "undergraduates can be informed about what the options are." Page would then represent the students to the administration and other student groups.
Since the murder of Yngve K. Raustein '94 along Memorial Drive in September 1992, the Campus Police have not significantly attempted to improve campus safety, Evans said. Page and Evans said that not enough officers were patrolling the campus, especially at night.
Evans felt that Chief of Police Anne P. Glavin "hasn't sat down and explained to the student body what is happening, and what she's trying to do to enhance the safety on campus" since the Raustein murder.
As leaders of the UA, Page and Evans would work to institute a program similar to a neighborhood watch. Students would patrol the campus, and monitor and report suspicious or illegal activity.
Both Evans and Page have served various offices in the UA. Evans, who is currently vice president of the class of 1995, said that instead of preparing him for the job, his previous experience has motivated him to change the system.
Page, who was formerly head of the UA Safety Committee, was suspended and censured in November for failing to attend and make a presentation at two consecutive UAC meetings. Page said that he didn't receive any notification that he was required to make a presentation, and that he would seek to avoid such situations as UAP.