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Endorsing a fresh, pragmatic perspective: student leaders for Tallapragada/Yang

Editor’s Note: Ravi M. Charan is co-president of The Forum, a student group led and founded by Naren P. Tallapragada.

We, a variety of leaders from across campus, are writing to endorse Naren P. Tallapragada ’13 and Andrew C. Yang ’13 for Undergraduate Association President. While acknowledging The Tech’s endorsement to the contrary, we must respectfully disagree.

The Tech praises the bold vision and leadership of Tallapragada and Yang. Inexplicably, rather than endorsing Tallapragada and Yang, it urges their opponents to incorporate that vision. It is very difficult to give a leader a vision, but it is much easier to transmit experience and knowledge to those with vision. Thus, we would urge that a Tallapragada and Yang ticket recruit Jonté D. Craighead ’13 and Michael P. Walsh ’13, not the other way around.

As students involved in leadership positions across campus, both inside and outside the UA, we are often involved with both administrators and fellow students. We, too, can transmit a working knowledge of the UA and the student body. With our broad support, Naren and Andrew are more than capable of a smooth transition into the UA.

During this transition, there should be three main objectives: first, smooth functioning of the UA’s internal organization; second, continuous and effective advocacy with the administration; and, third and most importantly, the completion of the reform efforts represented by restructuring. We have addressed the first two, but the third warrants closer examination.

We know that the pre-restructuring UA was broken, and the reforms in place should go a long way to improving the UA. However, that process is not over. The next president will have a significant opportunity to shape the UA by utilizing and interacting with the undergraduate Council. With all due respect, Craighead’s previous experience with the UA Senate is only somewhat relevant, and possibly a negative factor. We do not wish to suggest, and The Tech has refuted, the idea that the poor functioning of the Senate was Craighead’s responsibility.

Rather, we respectfully submit that a new vision for the Council, untainted by the old ways of the Senate, is required for a fully functioning and effective UA. A fresh start and a clean slate is exactly what the UA needs if it is to optimally serve the undergraduate body. This is why it will be easier for Tallapragada and Yang, who will come in with a willingness to learn and improve on the workings of the UA, to run our government.

Let’s all make the right choice and elect Tallapragada and Yang to lead the UA at a time of institutional change and transition. You only vote once; make this one count.

Submitted by Ravi M. Charan ’14 on behalf of the undersigned:

Kuljot S. Anand ’13 (treasurer, 2013 Class Council), Delian T. Asparouhov ’15 (CTO, FanFuser), Archit N. Bhise ’13 (co-founder, The Forum | executive director/co-founder, Open Health Designs), Ravi M. Charan ’14 (chair, UA Committee on Education), Nancy Z. Chen ’13 (co-social chair, 2013 Class Council), Raimundo K. Esteva ’13 (Former UA senator from fraternities | treasurer and rush chair, Theta Chi), Timmy M. Galvin ’13 (president, PBE | former NROTC command master chief), Cory D. Hernandez ’14 (president, G@MIT | member, UA Finboard), Romi S. Kadri ’14 (student representative, MIT Trust Center for Entrepreneurship), Joshua Ma ’14 (managing director, Techfair), Cameron L. McCord ’13, Madeline G. Mirzoeff ’12 (Vice President, Alpha Chi Omega), Richard Z. Ni ’15 (director of corporate relations, Techfair), James Noraky ’13 (president, Phi Kappa Theta), Anvisha H. Pai ’14 (chair, UA Committee on Sustainability), Christian Perez ’12 (president, Undergraduate Economics Association), Samvaran Sharma ’12 (co-president, MIT South Asian American Students), Russell A. Spivak ’13 (president, Delta Kappa Epsilon), Anjali B. Thakkar ’12 (founder and director, TIMTalks), Richard Yoon ’13 (president, Alternative Spring Break)