Carter and Sandoval for UAP/VP
The Undergraduate Association presidential elections are the best chance the entire student body has each year to influence student government. This year, we endorse Dedric A. Carter '98 and Sandra C. Sandoval '00, the team that can best serve students' interests and make a more effective UA.
Carter and Sandoval have both experience and solid ideas that will serve them well as UA president and vice president. Carter, the current UAVP, and Sandoval, the current Class of 2000 president, have demonstrated competent and level-headed leadership in their positions. The two are responsible for several of the UA's best and most visible successes this year, from the Logan Airport shuttle for students during finals week to last fall's voter registration drive. Many of their ideas for next year - including a "Safe Ride Express" to take students across the Harvard Bridge, an expansion of the Logan shuttle, and plans to improve some living and classroom conditions - are useful and achievable. Carter and Sandoval are well plugged in to the inner workings of the UA, and Carter in particular has a good deal of experience dealing with key administrators that will help him continue to represent students interests as UApresident.
Carter's and Sandoval's experience stands in rather stark contrast to their opponents, Sunil K. Rao '99 and Kari A. Bingen '99. Rao and Bingen have shown enthusiasm for increasing school spirit, but the team's platform is unfocused and largely misguided. The two have no experience with the UA, and it is no surprise that their platform has demonstrated absolutely no understanding of the way the UA or MIT's administration work. School spirit is important, but Rao's and Bingen's vision of school spirit looks more like high school than MIT. The two do not seem to understand that school spirit is not something that events themselves will necessarily create. Apathy and isolationism are not problems that ideas like their number one plan - a school-wide ski trip - would magically solve. The team's idea for a UA textbook library sounds nice, but it, too, has no grounding in any fiscal reality.
Bingen's insistence that the team's lack of prior involvement with the UA is not a problem is simply not convincing. Their enthusiasm is admirable and indeed outshines Carter's and Sandoval's, but the bottom line is that Rao and Bingen have no concept of the workings of the UA or the administration. Their inability to answer an open-ended question about student services re-engineering at Tuesday's presidential debate only confirmed that lack of knowledge, as well as a lack of preparation for the debate. Rao and Bingen may have experience in other non-UA-related positions, but they simply do not know the issues. Rao's plan to solicit student input through a school-wide survey is an old idea that has failed to gather significant feedback. Carter and Sandoval, on the other hand, have a much better grasp of the important goings-on. During this time of the Dean's Office's reorganization and some important decisions on housing, dining, and curricular issues, this knowledge will be essential and useful.
If Rao and Bingen are truly interested in accomplishing their goals, they should join the UA and prove themselves capable of achieving some of them. After a year of work and knowledge of the UA, perhaps they would make more qualified UAP and UAVP candidates. As it stands now, however, Carter and Sandoval are by far the more qualified team to lead the UA.