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Council Candidates Create Students’ Political Alliance

By Kevin R. Lang

Speaking from the steps of Boston City Hall, city council candidates from MIT, Emerson College, and Northeastern University announced the formation of the College Students’ Political Alliance.

Emerson College senior Giovanni de Francisci began gathering support for the CSPA in June to represent the concerns of college students in the Boston area. De Francisci is running for Boston City Council from District Eight as a write-in candidate.

“I’m doing this to launch other candidates’ campaigns,” de Francisci said. “College students make up a very large percentage of the city.”

While some Boston citizens see college students as transient residents, “the concerns of the city and the concerns of college students are so similar,” de Francisci said. “We have issues, but let that not be a threat to the rest of the city.”

De Francisci supports rent control, increased college dormitory construction, and expanded hours for public transportation. He supports running one line of the Green Line past the Fleet Center, the theater district, Kenmore Square, and other entertainment areas late at night to discourage drunk driving. De Francisci has been endorsed by Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

De Francisci said that student participation is key to the CSPA’s success. “I urge you all to register to vote,” de Francisci said. He expressed confidence in candidate’s chances for election success. “We can win this election,” de Francisci said. “It’s all about momentum.”

MIT candidate supports CSPA

MIT student Erik C. Snowberg ’99, who is running for Cambridge City Council, wants both Boston and Cambridge city councils to encourage colleges to build sufficient student housing to ease pressure on the Cambridge housing market. Snowberg’s goals include increased affordable housing, expanded open, public spaces, and increased student participation in Cambridge.

“I encourage all college students to get out, get registered, and vote,” Snowberg said.

Boston University senior Travis Roy also spoke at the press conference. Roy received national media attention in 1995 when he was paralyzed eleven seconds into his first college hockey game. He has since written a book about his experiences and started the Travis Roy Foundation. Roy is considering running for Boston City Councilman-at-Large.

Roy became involved with the CSPA through de Francisci. “He’s inspired me to really look into this,” Roy said. “The CSPA is doing good things.”

Roy said he wants to be a voice for both college students and people with disabilities. Roy supports increased access to housing and public transportation for people with disabilities, in addition to better representation of students. “I’m anxious to see what kind of support I get,” Roy said. Roy will decide whether to run within the next few days.

Also running as a write-in candidate is fourth-year Northeastern University student Kristine Faller. Faller is running for Boston City Council in District Seven. Faller noted that very few college students vote in Boston, and said that “we are a vital part of this city.” Faller challenged Boston area students to register to vote and learn about local issues. “We must get involved,” Faller said.

De Francisci hired a public relations firm to plan Thursday’s press conference. De Francisci said that he had done some fundraising for his campaign, but most of the funding came out-of-pocket and from other CSPA members.

The CSPA’s event drew significant attention from both local and national media, but only a handful of students were in attendance.