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Smith Would Bring Activism to Council

Aimee L. Smith PhD ’02 makes a distinction between MIT’s leadership and its student body. MIT is a large corporation, she said, and students have a lot more in common with the citizens of Cambridge than with MIT’s leaders. Students “shouldn’t be pitted against” the community.

Like many candidates for Cambridge city council, Smith is critical of the power universities wield over the city. Universities “decide whether we live in an industrial park or a vibrant environment,” she said.

Smith plans to target groups that do not vote in large numbers, especially students. The campaign is about “energizing people who don’t traditionally vote,” she said. The campaign hopes to attract a wide range of students, she said, except those who are “happy with corporate rule.”

Smith is a vocal campus activist and the themes of her activism color her election campaign. While collecting nomination signatures in the student center and wearing a Muslim headdress Smith talked about her view on constitutional rights: by “chipping away here with an immigrant ... you undermine them for everyone,” she said.

Smith would reinvigorate the Cambridge Police Review and Advisory Board. The board, which hears citizen complaints against police officers, includes only one member; four seats are vacant.

Asked about her position on MIT’s on-campus nuclear reactor, Smith said that she has a “deep, deep concern about the hubris that we technologists display.” “Certain kinds of risks are taken without the consent of the community,” she said. Mankind needs to think on a longer time scale “if we want to continue as a species.”

Smith characterizes her approach to politics as “action connected with electoralism.” She promotes a combination of direct action, including protest, ballot initiatives, lobbying, and seeking office directly.

Smith said that she supports the campaign of DeBergalis: “I’m very happy to have him run,” she said.