Council President Race Gets Quiet Start
Aside from orange signs around Harvard Yard and on House bulletin boards, public campaigning has dwindled significantly from last year.
“Last year, a few of the candidates came out in full right from the get-go,” said Election Commission Chair Kyle D. Hawkins ’02. “The ball hasn’t really gotten rolling so far.”
Hawkins said one reason for the lackluster campaign season may be the fewer competitive tickets.
Last year, five candidates ran. This year, there are only three.
“Having only three candidates really cuts the number of posters you see and the teams outside the science center,” said presidential candidate Sujean S. Lee ’03.
This year, the two leading tickets are offering similar platforms focusing on student services, whereas last year, Stephen N. Smith ’02 and eventual winner Paul A. Gusmorino ’02 battled over council ideology. Smith, known for his progressive activism, likely would not have limited the council’s role to providing student services, as Gusmorino has tried to do.
“You had two very strong candidates last year who each had a different vision of the way the council should go,” said Student Affairs Committee Chairman Rohit Chopra ’04. “People aren’t making an ideological judgement this year.”
During his tenure, Gusmorino has united the council behind his vision in part by creating a “UC roadmap” guiding council actions.
Some members of the council say increased efficiency and student services orientation helped weaken the liberal activist wing of the council.
“The liberal coalition fell apart,” former council treasurer Justin A. Barkley ’02 said.
Presidential candidates on all tickets are also heavily involved in non-council campus activities that may distract from the fervor of their campaigns.
Lee is also a prefect, Seneca member and takes six classes. Her running mate, Anne M. Fernandez ’03 is a member of the newly formed social organization Isis, and is part of the Expressions dance group.
Vice presidential candidate Luke R. Long ’03 is a varsity skier and member of the Delphic final club as well as two Christian groups.
Matthew H. Espy ’02, a relative unknown running for president on a platform of the need for cable television and a student center, is a member of the Phoenix club, heads the Harvard Investment Association, and works on weekends in New York.
Espy, however, has not yet hung any campaign posters.
The other leading presidential candidate, Lauren E. Bonner ’04, is involved with planning and organizing an AIDS awareness week and is a co-chair of “Dance Marathon,” a party to raise money for pediatric AIDS.
Both of these organizations, she said, are in “full swing” this week.
Bonner, however, said she has still been going door-to-door the past two nights soliciting votes.
“They’re all very busy people,” said Barkley, a former council presidential candidate.
“Sujean wasn’t even sure whether she wanted to run until the last minute. Last year, three of us wanted to run from a year out,” Barkley said.
Long said he thinks the out of council activities benefits leadership ability on council, even if it takes its toll on the amount of time spent campaigning.
“We don’t have as much time as a lot of past candidates had,” Long said. “But being a varsity athlete allows me to see where a significant portion of the student population is coming from.”
Both campaigns, however, say they will be increasing their efforts next week as the vote deadline nears.
“There’s going to be a definite push in the last four days of the campaign to aggressively win the freshman vote,” said Brendan J. Reed ’03, the Bonner-Long campaign manager.
“We are hoping to build up,” Lee said. “We haven’t started our presence in front of the Science Center yet.”
—Staff writer William M. Rasmussen canbe reached at email@example.com.