The Tech - Online EditionMIT's oldest and largest
newspaper & the first
newspaper published
on the web
Boston Weather: 26.0°F | Overcast

Glut of Candidates Vie For Office in Freshman Elections

By Kevin Lang

Since Wednesday at midnight, the Class of 2002 has been voting via the web to select eight Undergraduate Association officers from a pool of thirty-seven candidates.

For the first time, a UAelection is using a web-based ballot as opposed to the usual Athena-based voting. The electronic ballot can be accessed at http://ua.mit.edu. Freshmen will be able to vote until Saturday at midnight, with results available by Sunday.

"Everyone who wants their views represented in the UA should take that extra minute on Athena and vote," said Jason Parris '02, a candidate for vice president. "The elections are largely going to come down to who takes the time to vote."

With the recent prominence of the housing choice issue in the MITcommunity, many candidates have made fighting the President Charles M. Vest's decision to house freshman on campus a key issue.

In a campaign poster, presidential candidate Leah Schmelzer '02 states that housing choice "is one of the best policies that MIT has," and candidates for all positions seemed to agree. Though mandatory on-campus housing for freshmen will not directly affect the Class of 2002, it has become a major concern. While the UA does not have an official position on housing choice, many potential freshmen officers are making their goals clear.

Candidates focus on class unity

Aside from housing, freshmen candidates have cited increased class unity and more class events as primary goals. Dances, picnics, study-breaks, and fundraisers were listed in numerous platforms as possible activities.

Some candidates wanted to help negate some of the recent national press that MIT has received, and establishing a positive class identity was cited as the first step.

While a number of campaign posters are aimed at vote-getting, many candidates elected to state their entire platforms on posters. UAElection Commissioner Seth Bisen-Hersh '01 said that "the posters this year are much more based on real ideas, as opposed to posters that say vote so-and-so for such-and-such'. More people this year have posters that actually have what they're going to do [if elected]."

While the number of candidates has not increased compared with last year, the amount of publicity has been unusual. Dormitories and hallways across campus are lined with posters, almost to the extent that they have become indistinguishable.

Elissa Schwartzfarb '02, a candidate for vice president, said that "with so many posters all around, posters will not be a deciding factor in the election." She felt that direct contact with voters would be most influential.

Freshmen had the opportunity to meet candidates at study breaks Tuesday night at Baker House and the Wednesday night at East Campus. Approximately 75 freshmen consumed fourteen pizzas at Tuesday's study break, but the crowd seemed to be mostly candidates and their campaign workers.

Running for president are ten candidates: Robert A. Finn '02, Jesse Gutkowski '02, Yevgeniya A. Nusinovich '02, Andrew W. Pak '02, Carl E. Patten '02, Rory P. Pheiffer '02, Kapil Rastogi '02, Sanjay K. Rao '02, Schmelzer, and Andrew M. Starr '02.

Running for the office of vice-president are seven candidates: Jimmy C. Chang '02, Sudeb C. Dalai '02, Wanchieh Lee '02, Raymond Morales '02, Parris, Dhruv Puri '02, and Schwartzfarb.

Running for the office of secretary are three candidates: Winston D. Chang '02, Teresa H. Ko '02, Stephanie C. Leung '02.

Running for social chairs are four groups of candidates: Phillip B. Armour '02 and Linda M. Yu '02, Denise B. Cherng '02 and Madeline M. Close '02, Sonia Garg '02 and Joyce W. Lee '02, and Bhumika M. Patel '02 and Gregory C. Townsend '02.

Running for the office of treasurer are seven candidates: Mendel Chuang '02, Amy I. Katz '02, Jessica J. Lin '02, Diana Ng '02, Foluso O. Okunsiende '02, Vibhav S. Rangarajin '02, Pauravi M. Shah '02.

Only one team is running for the titles of publicity coordinators: Catherine B. Chen '02 and Annie K. Wang '02.