Council Chair Election Race In Dead Heat

News Analysis

Undergraduate Council members Michael P. Beys '94, Vice Chair Steven N. Kalkanis '93, and Rico Reyes '93--all of whom have lost major council elections--know what it means to see their political lives flash before their eyes.

Nevertheless, all are back this week and campaigning furiously for the council's highest office. In the last few days, they have been locked in one of the most intense races for chair in recent years.

Sunday's election ultimately appears to rest less on the issues and more on the characters and records of the candidates. It is also another showdown between two factions that have dominated the council in recent years.

"I think this is going to be the most interesting race since I've been here...because of the personalities involved," said former chair David A. Aronberg '93.

Beys and Kalkanis seem to be in a dead heat, while council members say Reyes has little chance to pull off an upset in Sunday's elections.


Different Products

Beyond their mutual flirtation with political oblivion, Beys and Kalkanis represent totally different products of the same council.

Beys rose through the ranks of the finance committee. Kalkanis found his niche in the academics and then the services committees. He has organized concerts and social events while Kalkanis has pursued calendar reform and concentration fairs.

Beys is a dynamic, hands-on politician who has served as former treasurer and chair of the influential finance committee. Last fall, he lost a bid for vice chair to Maya G. Prabhu '94.

Beys has come under fire for his involvement in organizing concerts. In February 1992, the council endorsed a privately organized Spin Doctors concert at Beys' bidding. The concert was successful and Beys received the praise of the 300 persons in attendance, but he was criticized for using the council's resources to help his friends, who had organized the event.

Beys was also one of the organizers of the De La Soul concert last spring, which lost in excess of $10,000.

Though Beys was one of several organizers, he still takes responsibility for the mistakes that led up to the concert. "We learned a lot of lessons in De La Soul," he said. "Mistakes were made. Mistakes we learned from. I took the blame, I took the responsibility. I do it to this day."

At the time, Beys also fought off an attempt to impeach him.

Beys' supporters say that he gets the job done and is willing to put his neck on the line--a rare quality among skittish undergraduate politicians--to organize events for students. Critics say Beys short-circuits the democratic process of the council to further his own career.

Kalkanis comes from the old school of former chairs Evan Rauch '91 and Robert C. Rhew '92. Rauch and Rhew ran councils that pushed strong student services agendas in a quiet, behind-the-scenes manner.

Kalkanis is a hard-working, elder statesman on the council. "The clearest difference is that I have the most experience in dealing with the student body at large and the administration," he said. "I've always tried to be open and inclusive."