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Criticizing honorable actions

This opinion piece is written in response to the Tech’s front page article that unfairly describes the resignation of Simmons Senator Ian Tracy. As one of Ian’s friends and a Simmons resident, I feel compelled to stand up for him and represent him against his detractors, who have falsely described him and conveniently portrayed him in a negative light in view of the upcoming UA elections.

Although the UA may be unaware, Ian initially ran for Simmons Senator because its residents had urged him to do so. I remember Simmons at the time had only one candidate for senator and, when elections grew closer, its residents were desperately shooting emails to one another to find someone worthy of this position. Ian was a natural choice: he had the qualities required, most importantly leadership and commitment to his dorm, and most of us knew him well. He also had been a candidate for class president during his freshman year and knew the workings of the UA well.

Ian at first was opposed to the idea because of his current 102-unit course load. Only after much insistence did he decide to step in as Senator, warning us that the time he could spend as Senator was going to be limited. He represented Simmons well the few times he did attend the meetings while maintaining a solid level of contact with the UA and Simmons residents. I believe such actions reflect the character of an individual who truly cares about Simmons Hall, the UA, and the entire MIT undergraduate student body. He should be commended ­— not criticized — for his actions.

Before presenting his candidacy for UA president, Ian applied to the housing lottery, was reassigned to Burton Conner, and decided to move within the next few weeks. When he had made up his mind two weeks ago, he respectfully notified the UA that he was going to resign from his post. However, his detractors tried to use this news against him and wrote a belligerent article in the Tech which unfairly portrayed him as an “uncommitted” member of the UA. His resignation was, of course, appropriate but its timing was unfortunate.

The article dated from Tuesday, March 9 criticized Ian for wanting to serve MIT undergraduates despite having so much else in his schedule. He should be applauded for getting involved in so many activities and understood that he is willing to quit most of them if elected president. I stand firm in knowing that Ian Tracy would make a terrific UA President, and hope that you put his deeds into perspective as you consider who you would like representing you next year.

— Robert A. Habib ’11

They Do Things

This is an important time in the life of MIT. The Institute is facing massive budget cuts, forcing us to make some tough decisions. We need strong, dedicated student leaders to represent the student perspective as those decisions are made. We also need leaders who will not limit their efforts to tackling the issues of the day, but will instead continuously seek out new ways to improve the MIT experience for undergraduates. Vrajesh Modi and Sammi Wyman are those leaders.

As the chair of the UA Special Projects Committee, Vrajesh has developed relationships with administrators and successfully negotiated tangible improvements to MIT, such as the weekly produce market, the Star Market shuttle, and online add-drop forms. As the vice chair of the UA Sustainability Committee, Sammi was the driving force behind the FSILG recycling project last year. They are both working on new initiatives this semester, like installing a new printer on the first floor of the student center. Their ability to cut through red tape and get things done continues to amaze me.

As UA Senators, Vrajesh and Sammi have done an outstanding job of communicating with their constituents and keeping the UA accountable to its purpose. They ask tough questions, they push for transparency and progress, and they stay as long as it takes to get the job done. These two have shown an unparalleled dedication to their responsibilities and an unyielding commitment to the student body.

Vrajesh and Sammi have clear, attainable goals that will change MIT for the better. They have a plan for preserving what we value in the face of impending budget reductions. They have an impressive track record of student engagement and follow-through. They are exactly what the UA needs in a new President and Vice President.

Vote Vrajesh and Sammi. They do things.

— Daniel D. Hawkins ’12
Vice Chair, UA Committee on Student Life