Two Tickets Declare Candidacy in UC Presidential Election

Four students have jumped in the race to lead Harvard’s Undergraduate Council next year ahead of a campaign season that has historically been a College-wide spectacle.

As of Thursday, two tickets of juniors have declared their intentions to run for UC president and vice president: Shaiba Rather ’17 and Daniel V. Banks ’17, who live in Cabot and Dunster Houses, respectively, as well as William A. Greenlaw ’17 and William F. Morris IV ’17, who both live in Pforzheimer House.

Rather and Banks, who are running for president and vice president, respectively, have both served on the UC since last school year. They are co-chairs of the Council’s Student Initiatives Committee.

Weekly UC Meeting
Current UC President Ava Nasrollahzadeh and Vice President Dhruv P. Goyal

Greenlaw, also a member of the Council since last school year, is running for president alongside vice presidential candidate Morris, a UC outsider who has never served on the student government.

According to Elections Commission Chair Matthew C. Estes ’18, there are no other contenders at this point. After opening this past Sunday, the official candidate declaration period will close Nov. 1.

Both tickets are now collecting student signatures, a requirement to run that they must complete by Nov. 2 in order to campaign. Banks and Rather said they had already surpassed the 150 signatures needed on Thursday evening.

The Council’s presidential elections regularly inspire multiple tickets and creative tactics from hopefuls looking to appeal to prospective voters. Candidates and their supporters, in search of attention from their peers, court student groups for endorsements, advertise through matching Facebook profile pictures, and populate the Yard with posters emblazoned with sometimes-ambitious campaign promises. The campaign also features a debate, “Crimson Crossfire,” that is co-hosted by The Crimson and the council and is scheduled this year for Nov. 14.

In recent years, satire and other revelry have also characterized the race. Two years ago, a pair of blockmates and campus comedians—Samuel B. Clark ’15 and Gus A. Mayopoulos ’15—won the election on a platform of bringing a certain kind of soup more regularly to campus dining halls and increasing the thickness of dorm room toilet paper. Last year two UC representatives—Luke R. Heine ’17 and Stephen A. Turban ’17—knowingly violated campaign rules and laughed about it. “Slap us in the cuffs. I’ll serve my time,” Heine said at the time.

Rather said she and Banks hope to “steer the momentum” of the student body on campus if they are elected, referencing recent campus discourse about issues such as sexual assault and student mental health.

“While we both are on the UC, we’ve come from outside of the UC,” Rather added.

Although Greenlaw could not be reached for comment on Thursday evening, Morris wrote on his Facebook page that their platform is to “combat the stigma surrounding mental health on campus, work with administrators to provide more student spaces, and coordinate with student groups to help the fight against sexual assault.”

—Staff writer Jalin P. Cunningham can be reached at jalin.cunningham@thecrimson.com. Follow her on Twitter @JalinCunningham.

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