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Frosh Candidates Prepare for Class Council Elections

By Christopher L. Falling

"Hello, I am [fill in the blank], and I was wondering if you would sign this petition for me to run for freshman class president." This phrase was repeated often last week, as freshmen sought the signatures they needed to run for class council. Freshman class elections will take place this Friday.

Eight students are running for freshman class president, four are vying for vice president, and two for treasurer, according to information provided by Undergraduate Association President Vijay P. Sankaran '95, who is coordinating the elections. Only one team is running for the position of social chair, and no one is running for secretary or publicity chair.

The deadline for filing for either of the two uncontested offices has been extended until 5:00 p.m. today, Sankaran said. Current candidates have the option of dropping out of a race in order to run for one of the uncontested positions, he said.

The UA will be sponsoring a study break to get to know the candidates this Wednesday at 9 p.m. in Room 400 of the Student Center, Sankaran said.

Candidates need to "basically get their faces and views out to the greatest number of people, because the freshman class doesn't really know everybody yet," Sankaran said. "We want people who are motivated and will to go out and meet their class," he said.

The polls will be open for freshmen this Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in Lobby 7. All voting will be done on paper since there were technical problems with the electronic voting last year, Sankaran said.

Candidates have many ideas

The candidates have many ideas on what they would do if elected.

"It is shocking to me, the level of ignorance which exists within the greater MIT community," said presidential candidate Olivia H. Song '98. "I would really like to initiate service activities which would improve communication, facilitating involvement of all students in the community," Song said.

Song is running against Efe E. Cakarel '98, John D. Dunagan '98, Lawrence C. Durant '98, Thomas J. Fox IV '98, Propa Ghosh '98, Jessica J. Lin '98, and Troy C. Thorson '98.

G. Dante Roulette '98, a candidate for vice president, "sees the role of vice president as being a facilitator between the freshman class and the UA." If elected, he plans "to be their advocate in anything from administration trouble to improving campus life."

Lindsay E. Dolph '98, Sunhail K. Mithani '98, and Jorge F. Rodriquez '98 are also running for vice president.

If elected, Rodriquez plans to "establish small events on a dorm level then gradually bring the dorms and independent living groups together, bringing unity to the class without overwhelming the students with a large group initially," he said.

Robert W. Chan '98 and Russell S. Light '98 are the candidates for treasurer. Wendy Yu '98 and Elizabeth S. Yo '98 are running uncontested for the position of social chairs.

Many other candidates could not be reached for comment, but their statements will be available on election day, and they will be present at the UA study break on Wednesday.

Candidates were required to collect petitions signed by 125 freshmen, or about 10 percent of the class, to be eligible for office. Candidates then had to attend a meeting to discuss the campaign process before being able to start campaigning, Sankaran said. Candidates can spend only $250 on their campaigns, he added.

The campaigns are limited to one week because the UA would like to get freshman officers as soon as possible, Sankaran said. However, the general elections in the spring give students more time to campaign, he said.

In past years the turnout for general elections has been about 40 percent, but turnout has been much less for freshman elections, Sankaran said. Only 32.8 percent of the Class of 1996 voted for their freshman officers, and 33.4 percent voted for the 1997 officers, he said.

After the elections are over, other UA members take a "mentor" role to give the newly-elected officers a smooth transition into their positions, Sankaran said.

The first general freshman elections were held two years ago for the Class of 1996. Before 1992, freshman class officers were selected at a meeting of candidates who collected 40 or more signatures, Sankaran said.