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Carter Charts Path For Upcoming Year

By Naveen Sunkavally
Staff Reporter

Undergraduate Association President Dedric A. Carter '98 delivered the state of the UA address Monday evening, applauding past projects and promising to focus on diversity this year.

A prominent theme in Carter's speech was an affirmation of the role of student government at MIT. Quoting John S. Saloma III '56, UA president in 1956, Carter started his speech by defining the mission of student government.

"There must be first a high level in quality of student government; secondly, a relationship between the ultimate objectives of student government and the individual student; and thirdly, adequate means of communicating these objectives to the individual student," he said.

The UA should "abandon its top-down mandate for a more productive, grass-roots, trickle-up model," Carter said.

Carter reviews UA's progress

Next, Carter spent time discussing the accomplishments of last year's UA. "The Undergraduate Association is stronger, more responsible, more communicative, more enjoyable, more active, more prepared, more reliable, and more effective," he said.

Efforts increasing the amount of funding for small student groups, passing a resolution on the U.S. News and World Report's college rankings, forming an initiative funding a trial period for the Logan Airport Shuttle were examples of the UA's success, Carter said.

Other successes included efforts to "open up the banking market" by allowing Cambridge Trust and U.S. Trust to set up tables in the Student Center during Residence and Orientation Week, the "Heart to Heart" project, a just-for-fun Valentine's Day matching service, that drew over 2,000 participants, and the return of doughnuts and juice on Registration Day, he said.

UA will address diversity

Carter also spoke about several areas for improvements and future projects that the UA would undertake. One of these areas, Carter said, was diversity.

"We have a quilt to build today - the MIT community quilt - but we must decide individually what we will do with our patches. Will we hide them under our beds or will we yield our patches to the greater good of the collective and watch the could'ves, should'ves, would'ves become reality?" he said.

Another problem was that a Baker Foundation Teaching Award was not awarded last year. Carter stated his intention to resolve this issue. "This is a situation in which according to the Baker Foundation constitution, the UA president must intervene and solve," he said. "There will be a Baker Foundation Award this year."

Carter also reiterated the role of dormitory representatives. Dormitory representatives are responsible for the gathering of feedback from their dormitory, regular attendance at UA meetings, and the dissemination of information to their dormitory, he said. Many dormitory representatives did not come to the UA meeting.

Following up on a campaign promise, Carter also said there was a need for refinement in the Safe Ride shuttle service. The UAwill look into creating a Safe Ride Express that would ferry between 77 Massachusetts Ave. and Beacon Street at regular intervals.

Immerman encourages activism

Following Carter's speech, guest speaker Steven D. Immerman, director of special projects, spoke to the council and the audience, made up mostly of freshman, about the need to get involved in the community.

MIT"is one of the most open communities in the country, if not the world," he said. "Your job is to understand what's going on in this community."

Immerman also stated the need for perseverance, which he said would always be more important than "good looks and brains."

In addition to the two speeches, the UA also used the meeting to take nominations for the Executive Committee. Nominations will remain open for about a week. The UA provided summaries of the functions of various committees to the audience.