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UA Hopefuls Discuss Platforms

By Anna K. Benefiel
STAFF REPORTER

Four well-matched teams along with an increase in political awareness in the student body promise to make this UA election more hotly contested than any other in Institutional memory.

Over the course of four half-hour long interviews, The Tech had the opportunity to get a feel for the goals of the four teams running for office.

Administration influence key

The major issues in this campaign appear to be the lack of student participation in the UA and the absence of effective communication between MIT’s administration and the student body. Concrete plans to address these issues are part idealistic, part realistic, but each team has developed a sense of what action they would like to take while in office.

Outgoing UA President Matthew L. McGann ’00 said that the next UA should consider focusing more on “tangible benefits for the student body” rather than “working our asses off on a lot of good policy stuff that is more impalpable.” McGann suggested that the next UA President should have put forth a lot of effort on the implementation of the new residence and housing system.

Establishing “good relations with the two new deans” is key, McGann said. “Also, a UA President must be knowledgable of the issues, has to be friendly and outgoing as well as diplomatic, and should have a strong grasp on the issues surrounding finances.”

Zhelinrentice L. Scott ’00, Election Commissioner presiding over the UA President and Vice President elections, outlined the voting procedures. Voting for the candidates is preferential -- voters will rank candidates -- and will be mostly online. On Friday, Apr il 7th, paper-based ballot booths will be staffed with volunteers provided by the election candidates.

Scott also said that the debate structure is different this year, allowing Vice Presidential candidates “the chance to shine” in their own debate apart from the Presidential candidates. Although the voting site is not operational yet, more information can be found on the voting process at <http://web.mit.edu/ua/Committees/Election/www>.

The profiles presented here were based on interviews with the candidates. Three reporters conducted candidate interviews, sitting down with each team to learn more about each ticket’s platform, background, and motivation. In each interview, tickets had the opportunity to respond to a standard set of five questions:

1. What is the biggest problem facing the MIT community right now, and what is one concrete solution you have to change that?

2. What is your prior experience with the UA and in student government, and what have you accomplished in those positions?

3. What differentiates your team from the others running for office?

4. How do you wish to change the relationship between the UA and the student body?

5. What is your attitude towards the MIT administration?

Though many of the teams gave similar responses to these questions, each team approaches their work with different strengths and weaknesses, different levels of government experience, and a distinctive style -- especially in choosing the goals for the UA to tackle under their leadership.