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UAP, UAVP Hopefuls Discuss Views, Platforms in Moderated Discussion

Dennis Yancey--The Tech
Jake H. Parrott '00 asks Undergraduate Association presidential and vice presidential candidates about the UA's influence on MIT's long-term financial goals at the election debate held on the first floor of the student center yesterday.

By Eric Sit

Last night, three pairs of Undergraduate Association candidates for president and vice president met in the Student Center for the first moderated debate of the 1998 UA Elections. Although there have been organized "meet the candidate"discussions held in the past, this was the first debate between the teams.

The elections for UAP and UAVP will be held electronically from April 4-8. The UA judicial review board nullified the results of the previous election, held from March 6 to March 10, after ruling that UAP candidate Paul T. Oppold '99 engaged in questionable campaigning.

The debate opened with each team explaining their platform. Oppold and Jennifer A. Kelly '99 said that they planned to expand Safe Ride to operate all day. Also, academic free time should also be extended by one hour to run from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., Oppold said.

Finally, the UA should attempt to improve the social scene by trying to get everyone together with more social activities, he said.

UAP candidate Sandra C. Sandoval '00 and UAVP candidate June Kim '99 plan to introduce a speaker series for students. "An education is more than class," Sandoval said.

Also, a new program, entitled "Integration by Parts", would include a series of events designed to "bridge the different groups on campus,"she said.

Eric H. Prebys '99, whose UAVPrunning mate Andrew W. Sparks '99 was absent, emphasized excitement as the driving force of their platform. The UA should promote more parties and large social events to bring fun back to the MIT campus, Prebys said.

To demonstrate excitement, Prebys drank a jar of Volcano sauce, a type of hot sauce, during the debate. "The key to tomorrow is energy," Prebys said, because only energy will get the student body more involved with the UA.

Candidates debate Orientation

Oppold said that rush needed to be pushed back and interaction should be encouraged between freshmen. Kelly suggested that a annual review process be created to examine how rush went each year and then plan improvements.

On a similar note, Kim said that the most important thing that Orientation should emphasize is meeting other freshmen. She proposed holding more activities just for freshmen, she added. "If we continue with our present rush, we'll scare away all the freshmen," she said.

Prebys, however, took a different tack. "I was happy with my rush," he said. " I would like to keep rush the same as much as possible."

Alcohol policy faces discussion

"Students should be able to set their own policy for alcohol," Oppold said. "The UA must act to unify the policies of the [Interfraternity Council], [the Dormitory Council], and other student groups," he added. The UA should also promote more alcohol-alternative events, he said.

Sandoval said that UA's role should be to act as a liaison between the administration and students to ensure that the alcohol policy is fair and just for students.

Sandoval said that the main issue is to ensure the confidentiality of medical treatment in alcohol-related events. The UA should work with with the campus police, the medical center, and the administration to accomplish this, she said.

In addition, the UA should take a role in funding non-alcoholic events, she said. "Students should not have to feel that their social life will disappear," Sandoval said. "Without alcohol, people at Baker sit on couches and play cards, and I'm not very good at cards."

Prebys supported bringing alcohol onto campus as soon as possible. The UA should encourage groups to get certified and create a reasonable system to punish those who violate rules, Prebys said. The motto of the UA should be: "Alcohol soon, while still responsible," he said.

Candidates consider $300,000

One topic of substantial discussion was the $300,000 recently released by the administration for activity funding.

Oppold said the gift should be used to sponsor more alcohol alternative events, social activities, and student activity space.

The money should also be spent to complete plans for the proposed Olympic-size swimming pool and for introducing more technology into classrooms, Oppold said.

On the other hand, Kim said that more money should be given to improve the advising system, the Baker Foundation, and the majors guide.

Kim would also like to introduce a homecoming weekend during fall to promote school spirit. Also, she would like to introduce an "Infinite Spirit Day" which would be a barbecue during the spring.

Prebys believes the money should be used to promote parties, bands, and other events to bring together large numbers of people.

UAfunding board faces flack

Activity groups have complained in the past that activity funds are not distributed fairly. Sandoval emphasized the need for groups to maintain close contact with the Financial Board. "The money will be awarded to all student groups who feel that they have been denied in the past," Sandoval said.

Oppold said that the way to equitably distribute of student activity funds is to increase the size of the UA finance board. In this way, each student activity group can gain better representation for funding, he said. Non-active people on the board should also be removed, Kelly said.

Candidates cite their strengths

Oppold cited his ticket's diverse exposure in student government as a strong point in better addressing the issues pending in the UA. "We need to elect two people who have the social networking necessary from day one," Oppold said.

Sandoval sees her ticket's role in student government as a way to bring about change. "We have worked very hard since freshman year for student needs," Sandoval said.

"We can make MIT a fun place," Prebys responded.