Two candidates run for 2001 presidency

by Brad Russo | 8/9/99 5:00am

Voting for 2001 Class Council elections begins tomorrow, but so far the contest has failed to generate much campus excitement and the contenders' campaigns have barely been visible.

This is the first year the sophomore class council elections are taking place in the summer -- part of a move intended to increase voter participation since the entire class is on campus this term. The candidates will speak at a speech night tonight and students will be able to vote by BlitzMail tomorrow and Wednesday.

If the campaign is about anything, it's shaping up to be about the Trustees' Initiative and what the larger role of the class council should be.

Presidential candidate Collin O'Mara '01 focused his official position statement on moving the council away from its traditional position as a programming body and towards an issue-centered voice for the Class of 2001.

With phrases such as "we must have a strong voice," "I will make sure our class is heard" and "we're beyond the point of holding fund-raisers and mixers for ourselves," O'Mara announced his priorities. And his priorities are clear -- to vocalize what he perceives to be the opinions of the class and "protect" the Greek system.

"I want to make sure the '01 voice is heard," said O'Mara, who is also a reporter for The Dartmouth.

O'Mara's vision for the council as an advocate of class opinion on campus issues combines with what he told The Dartmouth is a need for more community service projects.

He said another important goal will be for the "class to start a project to give something back to the Upper Valley."

On the other side, presidential contender Judy Huang '01 said she does not think speaking out about the Initiative should be the primary role of the council.

Instead, Huang focuses mostly on making the council a unifying presence on campus during the "discontinuous" junior year and helping with programming and sponsorship.

Huang said in order to accomplish this the council will need to "be more simplified and less bureaucratic."

"We should utilize [the] council as a neutral and central forum for programming and idea exchange, as well as monetary support," Huang writes in her official policy statement.

Huang also focuses on what the Class of 2001 will leave behind as a "long-term project" whether it be a large physical structure on campus or "something as simple as choosing one aspect of campus life we enjoy and helping to give it a leg up."

The English major from New Jersey said the Greek system "definitely has many positive aspects and I will do what I can to preserve it" and agrees with O'Mara that social options should be added.

However in perhaps the greatest philosophical difference between the two candidates, Huang writes that the "class council has no say in the issue" but does promise to be open to programming ideas offered by the Coed Fraternity Sorority system and says that "hopefully [the] council can provide a service to the class."

While neither candidate is campaigning heavily, both say they hope to see a large voter turnout.

O'Mara said he'll be stepping up his campaign today and during the voting period and Huang even made a plea for student participation in the election a plank in her platform.

In addition to the two candidates for president, Thomas Ferede '01 is running for 2001 vice-president. All three are unaffiliated.

Last night, Zeta Psi fraternity member Charles Gussow '01 announced through a mass BlitzMail message that he was mounting a write-in candidacy for 2001 vice-president citing the lack of other Greek candidates.

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