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Candidates for UA Offices Debate

By Jenny Zhang


The candidates for 2005-2006 Undergraduate Association President/Vice President debated last night in the first floor of the Student Center. The two P/VP pairs were John M. Cloutier ’06 and Jessica H. Lowell ’07, and Calvin G. Sizer ’06 and Bryan D. Owens ’07.

The debate drew a strong crowd, which filled all seats and left many more standing and listening for the duration of the debate.

The two teams advocated different issues, but both emphasized the importance of accountability of the leadership in achieving goals. “We want to know what you guys think and be diligent in getting your will out,” Cloutier said.

“If the average student can’t see something that’s improved during our administration, we need to go back to the drawing board,” Sizer said.

Teams introduce different goals

In the opening statements, each team described one specific goal that it hoped to put forth.

Lowell said that she and Cloutier believed that freshmen should be allowed an opportunity to move into fraternities, sororities, and independent living groups during their second semester if they have certain qualifications, such as a clean disciplinary record and good academic standing. She and Cloutier would like to discuss this possibility with administrators, she said.

Currently, undergraduates must live in on-campus dormitory housing for their entire first year, even if they pledge to an FSILG.

Sizer emphasized the need to improve shuttle services such as the Tech Shuttle and Saferide, and said he and Owens “want to lobby to improve Shuttletrack and make it more reliable,” add more shuttles to the routes, and reduce waiting time. Shuttletrack was a student iCampus project to provide the locations and arrival times of the MIT shuttles. It has not operated for several months.

Sizer also said that leadership development for students is important, and that MIT needs to erase the widespread attitude that its students “lack leadership qualities.”

Communication a must for both

When asked by The Tech how they would keep administrators from passing changes without or contrary to student feedback, the two teams said communication was the primary solution.

The UA needs to “inform students of what’s going on,” and can “serve as advocates for students,” Owens said.

Lowell said, “the UA needs to do a much better job with communicating with students” because they may not have a good idea of the actions of the administration.

To encourage women in science, Lowell said MIT needed to get women interested earlier by talking to high school students. “MIT should be actively encouraging and recruiting them,” she said.

“What we need to do is encourage students” and let them know that “they have the full potential” to achieve something, Owens said.

Both tickets felt that the rules surrounding alcohol use were too harsh and did not accomplish their intended effect of reducing harmful alcohol use.

Diversity, dining discussed

Regarding MIT’s discussion on the possible addition of a diversity General Institute Requirement, Cloutier said, “it’s your opinion whether or not we should have one” that matters, and the “only way to find out is to talk to the student body. If they want a GIR, we should have one. If not, we shouldn’t.”

Sizer said that although he personally supports the implementation of a diversity GIR, he believes the most important issue is not whether one is put into place, but to understand that “there is an issue regardless of whether we have a GIR” and address that issue.

Kathy Lin contributed to the reporting of this article.