Vote Glazer, But Split The Ticket

Although running separately, Glazer and Nichols are the most exciting, accomplished pair

In years past, choosing the next leaders of the Undergraduate Council has often come down to a determination of which candidates possess the fewest fatal flaws instead of the most proven strengths. But this year, Harvard students are fortunate enough to have a very robust field of candidates who bring a diverse set of unique strengths and experiences. Among these impressive options, the demonstrated track record of Matthew J. Glazer ’06 and his vision for the future of the council elevate his candidacy above his opponents. We enthusiastically endorse Glazer for president and are confident that he will lead the council—and the Harvard community—with great success.

Most of the campaign platforms resemble each other when it comes to specifics, but Glazer’s priorities are in line with ours. He is committed to improving the quality of teaching fellows and working to expand the role of upperclass peer advising. He is a supporter of renewable energy, a proponent of an online reservation system for student space and an advocate for improving student services through meaningful (and manageable) small scale projects like bringing back 5-day a week brain breaks and installing vending machines in the Science Center. Glazer also backs the kinds of large community-building concerts and events we support—such as a film festival and a stadium concert. We support his multifaceted and ambitious vision for the council, and most importantly, his record demonstrates that he can and will achieve results.

No one—short of current Council President Matthew W. Mahan ’05—has shown more dedication, determination and expertise in navigating the maze of Harvard’s administrative bureaucracy on behalf of the student body than Matt Glazer. Through relentless—and often thankless—advocacy efforts, Glazer successfully negotiated for the installation of blue-light emergency phones in Cambridge Commons. He managed the monumental feat of convincing the administration to embrace 24-hour Universal Keycard Access in undergraduate Houses—a perennial item on council campaign platforms of years past. Glazer was also instrumental in eliminating the add-drop registration fee; he successfully increased the number of recycling bins in the Houses; and he helped to establish wellness tutors in all undergraduate Houses and freshmen yards. Glazer is well-versed in the nuances of the most pressing matters facing undergraduates, and his persistence in working for the betterment of student life is unparalleled.

To be fair, Glazer had the advantage of serving the past year in a leadership role of unique importance and influence as chair of the council’s Student Affairs Committee. Three of the last four council presidents previously held this office. Some members of the council have bemoaned this trend and the culture of loyalty and political favoritism it engenders. We worry that the structure of the council feeds its insularity and stifles the potential for reform. Tracy “Ty” Moore II ’06, a non-council candidate, is an attractive choice for this reason. But unfortunately, Moore’s outside perspective does not compensate for his lackluster relationships with administrators. Although Moore claimed in Thursday’s debate that “running the UC isn’t rocket science,” to be an effective advocate for students, a council president must have extensive prior experience working closely with administrators. Given Moore’s relative dearth of lobbying experience, we remain unconvinced of his ability to make good on his campaign promises. In other years, a proven history of working with the administration might be less crucial, but as issues like the curricular review and Allston planning come to the fore next semester, we are unwilling to take a gamble on an unproven, if enthusiastic, outsider. And while we respect and admire Teo P. Nicolais ’06 for his fastidious past contributions, we do not believe that he would be as effective at seeing his vision through as Glazer—who has demonstrated an exceptional capacity to work with other members of the council.

Contrary to the candidates’ choice of running mates, we feel that the best candidate to complement Glazer’s style and experience is actually Ian W. Nichols ’06. Traditionally, it is rare to question the breakdown of a ticket in council elections, but given the strength of the field this year and the need to enhance the vice-presidential office with added responsibilities, we endorse Nichols over Clay T. Capp ’06. While Capp has an admirable record after recently taking over as treasurer of the council, Nichols’ experience reforming the council’s Finance Committee makes him an appealing asset for the future of the council. In his position as vice-chair of the Finance Committee, Nichols has demonstrated an extraordinary commitment to working with individual student groups to help them understand the resources that the council offers. Nichols’ recent work with Glazer on legislation to reform the structure of the council’s Finance Committee also underlines the two candidate’s ability to work together effectively. Despite the fact that they are not officially running together, council elections allow students to vote separately for president and vice president for a reason, and we encourage students to take advantage of this option and split the Glazer ticket.

Unlike the current Mahan-Blickstead administration which has been criticized for its sometimes unilateral approach to decision-making, its lack of transparency and its history of alienating some council members, we believe Glazer and Nichols would be able to unite all 51 members of the council to create a more inclusive—and ultimately more effective—administration. We wholeheartedly urge students to cast their ballots this week for the perhaps unexpected pairing of Glazer and Nichols. Their proven leadership, dedication, strong diplomatic sensibilities and complementary backgrounds will boost the Harvard community’s respect for the council to new heights.