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Seale, Yoon Debate; Voting Begins Monday

By Jennifer DeBoer


The two tickets for Undergraduate Association President and Vice President debated Tuesday, highlighting the week of campaigning leading up to the start of elections this coming Monday.

Both pairs of candidates stressed the importance of the UA in the student body, while trying to convince the audience they would improve on what the candidates saw as shortcomings in this year’s administration.

Presidential candidate Jennifer S. Yoon ’03, running with Miquela C. Vigil ’03, cited “not bringing the community together” as a failure of the UA this year.

“I think that more events ... would benefit the student population as a whole,” Yoon said.

Josiah D. Seale ’03, who is running with Parul Deora ’04, saw poor communication as one of the UA’s major failures.

“How many students know who the UA representative is in their dorm?” Seale asked.

Seale, the current co-chair of the UA Committee on Student Life, also pointed to the current composition of the organization as one of its problems, arguing the body “does not attract talented, hardworking people” which he said “decreases the organization’s credibility.”

Rush, crowding policies debated

Changes to rush and the role of graduate housing in relieving undergraduate crowding were among the topics addressed at the debate.

Both presidential candidates argued that attention should be given to fraternities in trying to solve housing problems.

“I think that our crowding problem could be solved with more funding to our fraternities,” Seale said.

Yoon vowed to “give the IFC more support in trying to recruit new pledges.”

The hotly contested issue of crowding also brought up the problem of graduate housing and MIT’s plans to use some graduate beds to address an expected severe undergraduate housing shortage this fall.

Seale acknowledged that though graduate students recognize housing undergraduates is a priority, he believes “graduate students are definitely a very close second priority.”

Yoon agreed with the importance of undergraduate housing.

“I think the primary objective is that all undergraduates are housed. I know that that puts a strain on graduate students,” Yoon said.

Activities fee a key issue

The teams of candidates expressed divergent views on the use of the new $200 fee incorporated into the tuition increase, part of which will cover operating costs for the new Zesiger Sports and Fitness Center.

Yoon, who is on the committee discussing the allocation of the fee, said “the student activity fee is actually a misnomer.” Yoon said the expenditure is just a part of the new tuition increase.

Vigil said she hoped to “increase funding for social events” with the monies available from the fee.

Seale argued that “as students we should not be paying for administration [of the Zesiger Center].”

“We’re taking money from the students, supposedly for the students -- it should be allocated by the students,” Seale said.

Tickets highlight other priorities

Yoon and Vigil said that student/faculty relations would be another priority of their administration.

“We need to improve faculty advising and student faculty relationships in general,” Vigil said.

Additionally, Yoon and Vigil emphasized the variety of academic opportunities at MIT, with Vigil saying it is the responsibility of the UA “to make sure the undergraduates take advantage of those opportunities.”

Seale and Deora stressed their plan to improve confidential medical transport and their hopes to reform the current alcohol policy.

“MIT does not have an alcohol problem,” Seale said. “MIT has an image problem.”

Deora added she “would want to become more involved in student issues,” if elected as vice-president.

Voting starts Monday at midnight

Electronic balloting for UA President and Vice-President, as well as class council positions, will take place Monday through Thursday. Undergraduates who do not vote electronically may cast a paper ballot one week from today.