Races for Council Offices Heating Up

Candidates for President, Vice President Face Media Panel

Seven men vying to control the Undergraduate Council engaged in a free-wheeling debate last night at the Kennedy School of Government.

Returning council members outnumbered newcomers six to one, and most used the occasion to boast of--and sometimes defend--their records.

About 50 people attended an hour-and-a-half debate last night among the council presidential and vice-presidential candidates, sponsored by the Harvard Political Union and The Crimson.

Four presidential candidates--Sam Ferrell '95, David L. Hanselman '94-'95, Joshua D. Liston '95 and Jason E. Schmitt '98--participated, as did three vice-presidential candidates--Randall A. Fine '96, Brandon C. Gregoire '95 and Jay I. Kim '95--and a panel of four questioners.

Many of the seven candidates said they wanted to talk about the issues and avoid making character assassinations.

But Schmitt, the only first-year in either race, said the "entire debate focused on the idea of scandal."

One council member in the audience said he was unsure whether any of the candidates who have previously served on the council can change it.

"Call me a cynic, but I'm not so sure that any of you are the people to be leading the council in a new direction," said David V. Bonfili '96. "It's kind of like the skipper of the Exxon Valdez standing before us and saying that he's the environment's last best hope."

Each candidate delivered a one- minute opening statement.

"People know me on campus as a U.C. insider, yet I am full of integrity," said Gregoire, last year's council secretary. "I have been involved in no council scandal."

Kim, head of last year's finance committee, said he would stand firm in his convictions.

"I really think the essence of leadership is not just sticking out your thumb and seeing which way the popular wind is blowing," Kim said.

Liston, former council vice president, used his opening statement to defend himself.

"I am not embarrassed nor ashamed nor apologetic for anything anyone wants to accuse me of," he said.

Last spring, Liston allowed students to table in their own houses during a referendum, a direct violation of council bylaws. The referendum was therefore invalidated.