Couple Claims Middle Ground

Nicolais says diverse experiences make his ticket the most qualified

Tiffany Y. Wu


Teo P. Nicolais ’06 and Samita A. Mannapperuma ’06 argue that their candidacy in the Undergraduate Council election is distinctive. They’re the only team with a female member. They’re the only ticket with a candidate from the Quad.

And they’re also the only presidential and vice-presidential candidates who happen to be dating.

“Whenever we tell people that we’re going out, the reaction is that we’re Harvard’s power couple,” says Nicolais.

The pair is now in the midst of a closely contested battle for control over the future of the council.

But while the two acknowledge that their relationship has raised eyebrows, they emphasize that they bring different perspectives.

“We’ve both had a long-standing independent record of achieving results,” Nicolais says.

These strengths will prove crucial to defining their ticket in a race that pits them against a council member in the role traditionally leading to the presidency and a popular outsider claiming a fresh perspective.


While Glazer and Capp emphasize their council experience, and Moore emphasizes his lack of it, Nicolais and Mannapperuma blaze a middle ground.

“One [ticket] is radical change, but doesn’t have any kind of experience,” says Nicolais of Tracy “Ty” Moore II ’06 and Ian W. Nichols ’06. “The other change that we can see, in terms of how they approach things,” he says of Matt P. Glazer ’06 and Clay T. Capp ’06.

Nicolais called his and Mannapperuma’s candidacy one of “informed change,” and referred to theirs as the Goldilocks campaign.

“One is too hot, one is too cold, and we capture the middle,” he says.

The two hope to work through the council to remedy what they see as a disconnect between the student body and their elected representatives.

“If the UC is going to be a student government and not just a glorified student group, we need to be reaching out,” Nicolais says.

In addition to the issues on which all candidates agree—like universal keycard access and the renovation of Loker Commons—the pair support more money for House Committees (Nicolais serves on Lowell HoCo, and Mannapperuma on Currier’s) and for initiatives like the Council Party Fund, which give students more control.

The pair cited this year’s Harvard-Yale tailgate as a successful example of the type of collaboration they hope to encourage between the council and student groups.