Another Undergraduate Association President and Vice President election is upon us. Unfortunately, this year’s candidates, through their platforms and performance at Monday night’s debate, have exhibited no long-term vision.
Steven M. Kelch ’08 and Lauren E. Oldja ’08 are the best of the three tickets; however, they are merely mediocre. Rather than ambitiously advancing new ideas, they have chosen to continue ongoing projects and to concentrate on restructuring the existing organization. And there is certainly something to be said for increasing the legitimacy of the UA. But aside from this commitment to continuity, their campaign lacks imagination. They boast plans for making textbooks cheaper, creating an alcohol policy for small events, and increasing the smoothie selection on campus — but while these are good short-term ideas, an exceptional pair of candidates would offer some more substantial and forward-looking ideas.
Martin F. Holmes ’08 and Ali S. Wyne ’08 present a platform that is, superficially, ambitious and promising. Some of their ideas — like a series of dinners between fraternities and police — make sense. However, cutting through the platform’s rhetoric reveals that much of it is shortsighted or misinformed. The platform’s centerpiece, a proposed Committee on Institute Communication, would virtually recreate the existing (and unfortunately named) Student Committee on Administrative Transparency and Relations. Holmes and Wyne seem to think that the administration has trouble soliciting student input; but in fact, administrators simply choose not to. Though this ticket promises to “defend tradition,” they’ve offered little substance — just hand-wavy praise of the hacking community and fraternity rush. A revealing point for this ticket is that when asked about their top priorities, they proposed putting proximity readers in dorms to save students the unbearable hassle of swiping their cards.
Manisha Manmohan ’08 and Fernando Funakoshi ’09 simply present an unelectable ticket. Their performance and campaign thus far suggests that they don’t know what they’re getting into. They do not seem to be taking their campaign seriously. They struggled to answer the majority of their debate questions. They clearly demonstrated little working knowledge of the functionality or purpose of the UA, or the roles played by those who lead it.
We wish that there were a better pair of candidates to vote for. However, under the circumstances, we grudgingly endorse Lauren Oldja and Steven Kelch for 2007 UA President and Vice President.