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Kane, Chang To Lead New Freshman Class

By Rima Arnaout

The members of the Class of 2003 Council were installed at the Undergraduate Association meeting held yesterday evening. This year’s freshman class president is Patrick D. Kane, and the vice president is Joanne Chang. The Class of 2003 Treasurer is Chirag G. Shah.

Stacy S. Chan and Stephanie J. Slowik were named freshmen social chairs, and Ekta M. Desai and Monica S. Krishnan were elected freshmen class publicity chairs. A total of 182 ballots were cast in the election. 13 candidates or teams ran for five positions, including three candidates for president and three for vice president.

The election “was poorly publicized by the Undergraduate Association and the Election Commission,” Kane said. He also said that the voting process deterred some from voting. “It might be all right for upperclassmen who’ve been here and understand Athena,” but many freshmen didn’t vote because they found the Athena-based ballot system confusing.

Desai admitted that “it was so hard to vote... I couldn’t.”

The turnout “seemed a little bit lower than usual,” said UA Election Commissioner Sarah L. McDougal ’00. “It’s also the fact that freshmen have only been on campus for a couple of weeks,” so they haven't gotten a feel for the issues yet, McDougal said.

McDougal described the publicity for elections as “not outstanding, but adequate,” including posters and e-mails.

The timing and process of freshmen elections “is something on the books this coming fall,” McDougal said. There’s a “double-edged sword between giving freshmen time and how long you can afford not to have a class council,” McDougal said.

Also, the election commission is “trying to find a balance between [elections] being moderately secure and still workable,” McDougal said.

Campaign rules for this year’s election had also changed. Candidates were allowed to e-mail lists they were on but were not allowed to use the BCC feature.

Council hopes to represent students

Despite problems with the election process, the class counselors are happy that they now have a chance to work for their class within the UA.

While “lots of people complain” that students on campus cannot influence institute affairs, “the UA is a step toward doing something about it,” Shah said.

“Coming in, you’ve heard a lot about a lack of unity” of the freshmen class and attempts by the administration to refashion the freshman year, Kane said. “MIT is not known for its school spirit.”

Kane named a “tough but admirable goal” for the Class of 2003 Council as demonstrating that “not only can freshmen receive the benefit of upperclass students” in their living groups, “but we can do it at the same time as having a unified and enthusiastic class.”

Getting elected has its lighter pleasures. When they heard the election results, “[my friends] tried to shower me and they dislocated my shoulder,” Chang said.

The council’s first responsibility is to schedule a first meeting and pick a council secretary. Because no freshmen ran for secretary, the position still needs to filled.

In contrast with last year’s elections, in which the seven elected class counselors participated in pre-orientation programs, only three of this year’s elected members did so. Kane took part in Cityview, while Shah and Krishnan went to the Freshman Leadership Program.