Council Hopefuls Race to the Finish

The Undergraduate Council election ends at 11:59 tonight, and the candidates have been busy scrambling for last-minute support.

Presidential Candidate Lauren E. Bonner ’04 and her running mate Luke R. Long ’03 have also campaigned each morning outside the Science Center, and said they plan on a last effort this morning.

“[Wednesday] our big goal will be to encourage people to vote,” Long said.

Presidential canidate Matthew H. Espy ’03 has also joined the crowd campaiging in front of the Science Center, bringing a television with him to emphazise the need for cable in student rooms—one of the two issues in his platform

Lee and Fernandez, riding on key support from within the council, have attempted during their campaign to cast themselves as the more experienced candidates.

Presidential candidate Sujean S. Lee ’03 and her running mate Anne M. Fernandez ’03 staged a “light show” outside the Science Center Monday night in which they illuminated their large orange campaign signs with lamps from first-year dorm rooms.

Lee is the current council vice president and is a co-founder of the highly visible Concert Commission, which brought popular bands such as Dispatch to Harvard’s Sanders Theatre.

Fernandez, the chair of the council’s Finance Committee, is widely credited with reforming the council’s finances and distributing money to student groups more efficiently.

Lee and Fernandez also garnered the support of popular current Council President Paul A. Gusmorino ’02 as well as from 10 out of 12 first-years on the council.

Two of the first-years declined to support any candidate.

“It comes down to experience,” said first-year caucus Chair Matthew W. Mahan ’05. “[Lee and Fernandez] are by far in the best position to carry out Paul’s success.”

Bonner and Long have been countering Lee and Fernandez’ claims of greater council expertise.

“Factually, they have more experience on council,” Bonner said. “However, we have more experience on campus—with student groups, with the council, and with administrators.”

Bonner, who did not win a council spot this year, stressed her central role in planning events such as last years AIDS Week and Dance Marathon, an event to raise money for research on pediatric AIDS.

Long, a skier, is the only varsity athlete among the leading candidates, which he said puts him in touch with a constituency not reached by the other candidates.

On the council, Long sits on the Student Affairs Committee and is the Development Co-Chair of the Concert Commission. He joined the council during his sophomore year and currently serves as the Adams House council chair.

“His experience in dealing with people outside the council...since the beginning of his freshman year I think is his greatest asset,” said Brendan J. Reed ’03, the Bonner-Long campaign manager.

Candidates have also spent their last few days on the campaign trail pursuing student group endorsements.

Lee and Fernandez met with the Radcliffe Union of Students last night to attempt to secure its endorsement. The group has not yet endorsed a ticket for the council.

The Republican Club endorsed Lee—a former Club member—for president and Long—a current member—for vice president.

“Her experience on council is unsurpassed,” the Republican Club wrote about Lee.

The Club’s statement on behalf of Long praised him for defending “common sense” on the council and for pushing to increase funding for student groups.

Many groups, including the College Democrats and the Bisexual, Gay, Lesbian, Transgendered and Supporters Alliance, have chosen not to endorse any presidential candidate.

—Staff writer William M. Rasmussen can be reached at wrasmuss@fas.harvard.edu.