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Lowell/Kelch:Strong Policy and Reform

Sarah C. Hopp

It was no great surprise for those of us who know Jessica H. Lowell ’07 when she announced her candidacy for Undergraduate Association President. Jessie was one of the first people I talked to upon arriving at MIT as a na ve freshman, and even back then I could tell that she knew what was going on around MIT. Whether it’s something that happened ten years ago that’s still affecting students today, or something the administration is planning to spring on us in a month, Jessie probably knows about it.

The most striking example of Jessie’s ability keep tabs on the administration was her role in the development of the new Policy on Unauthorized Access (mostly relevant to roofs). In August she was one of the first students who heard that the fine for the first offense would be raised from $50 to $500. Instead of panicking and flailing wildly, she quickly contacted the appropriate administrators, and did not give up her fight to change the policy despite the pessimism expressed by other students. A few months later Jessie had managed to change the policy to include community service punishments instead of a massive $500 fine — a feat that many had deemed impossible.

Jessie’s success in changing the roof fine policy was no coincidence. She knows the administration and is willing to passionately advocate for the students when apathy and cynicism reign. She has bridged the gap between students and the administration by communicating with her constituency and acknowledging their needs and their criticism. She knows that she is not perfect and is willing to admit her shortcomings: as UA Vice President, Jessie admittedly focused nearly all of her energy on policy instead of making improvements within the UA itself.

That’s why Jessie’s choice of Steven M. Kelch ’08 as a running mate makes sense. Steve’s willingness to “break kneecaps” within the UA to make sure people do their job complements Jessie’s ability to work with administrators on the outside. Steve knows how a committee should be run — he is the Chair of the Student Committee on Administrative Transparency and Relations — and is ready to hold other committees to his high standards. Steve is intent on holding committees accountable, and has no qualms about changing their leadership in order to improve the UA’s ability to serve students.

With their combined abilities, Jessie and Steve offer the perfectly balanced ticket for UA President and Vice President; Jessie has already proven her ability to navigate the intricacies of the administration, and Steve is ready to foster improvements within the UA itself. Unlike the other candidates, Jessie and Steve represent both dormitory and FSILG residents. Both have already advocated for the student body and will continue to do so as UA President and Vice President.

I am confident in the abilities of Jessica Lowell and Steven Kelch to fulfill the roles of President and Vice President and thus offer them my full support, as I hope the rest of the student body will.

Sarah Hopp ’08 is a UA Senator for East Campus.