News

The Path to Public Service at SEAS

News

Should Supreme Court Justices Have Term Limits? That ‘Would Be Fine,’ Breyer Says at Harvard IOP Forum

News

Harvard Right to Life Hosts Anti-Abortion Event With Students For Life President

News

Harvard Researchers Debunk Popular Sleep Myths in New Study

News

Journalists Discuss Trump’s Effect on the GOP at Harvard IOP Forum

A VOTER'S GUIDE TO THE UC ELECTIONS part 2 of 2

NO WRITER ATTRIBUTED

Robert M. Hyman '98-'97

Previous U.C. Experience: Four semesters, three as an executive

Key Positions: Safety; Curricular issues; Advising reform

If one were to draw analogies between the races for president of the Undergraduate Council and president of the United States, Robert M. Hyman '98-'97 would probably correspond to President Clinton.

Like Clinton, Hyman is gunning for another term as president. Like Clinton, Hyman is regarded as an energetic leader who is popular among liberal, progressive observers. And Hyman's campaign signs with running mate Lamelle D. Rawlins '99 bear more than a passing resemblance to those of Clinton-Gore '92.

But some observers have said that Hyman also carries at least one of Clinton's weaknessesl: like Clinton, Hyman has been attacked as a "consummate politician" who caters unfairly to those who will support him most.

In addition, Hyman has been criticized for failing to deal well with the council's divisiveness. Indeed, Hyman has shouldered part of the blame for the unusually high number of council resignations this year.

Hyman is running on a campaign of "A Student's Bill of Rights," a platform emphasizing safety, gender concerns, privacy issues and curriculum and advising reform, among others.

Hyman is also running on his record. Under his guidance, last fall's council passed more resolutions than any session in recent memory.

The council implemented popular elections, helped pressure the administration to return Coca-Cola to campus, sponsored the Rape Aggression Defense program and the Harvard Alliance for Safety Training and Education, and set up a phone bank to allow students to call their representatives in Washington about financial aid.

"Clearly when people are talking about the strides the council has made, that's an indicator of change. We've simply broken the mold," Hyman says.

He also presents himself and Rawlins as executives who have made a break from the council's old system.

"There's a type of experience like the old U.C. but I don't think that applies," he says. "Lamelle and I stand before the students as leaders of a genuine return to student concern. In that sense, we have experience as changers."

Hyman managed to avoid major scandals during his more than six months as president. But many members have attacked the current council as being overly divisive.

Hyman says he believes that factionalism within the council this year is not a major problem.

"The idea of putting students first is not incompatible with progressive issues. That's a false dichotomy."

Other members of the council say Hyman has a definite bias, to the detriment of campus life issues.

"He is a consummate politician," said council member Wesley B. Gilchrist '98, who ran for president unsuccessfully against Hyman in February. "He knows who is most vocal, whose favor he needs.

Hyman denies the allegations, and says his record of reform is the final say on his campaign.

Edward B. Smith III '97

Previous U.C. Experience: Four semesters, two as an executive

Key Positions: Increased efficiency in approving legislation; "Common sense" view of social events

Edward B. Smith III '97 wants to bring the business experience he has gained as the council's treasurer to increasing its efficiency in approving effective legislation.

He criticizes the dearth of fully-developed proposals brought before the council.

He points to the failure of the council's resolution on the ROTC commissioning ceremony as an example of ill-informed legislation. He says no one who was knowledgeable about the history of the administration's previous position on the ceremony was consulted on the proposal.

The council should also take "a common sense" view of social events, according to Smith.

"The U.C. [has a] propensity to lose large amounts of money on unnecessarily elaborate events," says Smith.

He proposed the council should buy blocks of tickets to off-campus concerts and run shuttle buses to them, instead of directly sponsoring large concerts on campus.

He also has a lot of experience in managing and reforming the finances of the council, Smith said.

"There is a reputation for trust that I have developed in my efforts to reorganize the council's finances as treasurer. I completely rewrote the rules to prevent embezzlement and other funny money that have regrettably plagued other campus organizations," Smith says.

Smith wants to make the council "a campus-wide clearinghouse for information," Smith said.

Smith said he would like to see the council put together publications that would simplify guidelines for students, such as a pamphlet on what to do if you've been exposed to AIDS.

Additionally, Smith alleges the Nelson-Grimmelmann Act, under which Dean of the College Harry R. Lewis '68 may approve certain council legislation, strips the council of any power it might have, according to Smith.

The act must be appealed needs to be repealed, he says.

"The ball is in our court," said Smith. "And lately, the U.C. has not been playing its best game. I want things to change."

On a lighter note, Smith says, "The president of the U.C. has to be someone you trust to represent you, but also someone you'd be psyched to hang out with on a Saturday night."

Michael R. Petitpas '95-'97

Previous U.C. Experience: None

Key Positions: Using age and maturity to get things done

In 1994, David L. Hanselman '94-'95 ran for council president with the odds stacked against him: he'd been away from campus for a year, his classmates had graduated and his contacts were few.

But Hanselman capitalized on his status as an outsider with maturity. And he won.

Michael R. Petitpas '95-'97 of Pforzheimer House is trying to follow in Hanselman's footsteps.

Petitpas doesn't offer much in the way of fresh ideas--he promises to tackle old favorites like Core reform, ethnic studies and housing.

Instead, like Hanselman, he's banking primarily on his age and maturity.

"It's time for me to give back to the college," Petitpas said. "What I hope to offer most is leadership. The council needs an outside perspective."

Unlike Hanselman, however, Petitpas has no council experience. When asked about this potential drawback, Petitpas turns once again to his age and life experience.

"I've been at Harvard longer than any of the other candidates," Petitpas says. "Though I haven't served on the U.C., I've been general manager of WHRB so I have experience running a large student organization."

Petitpas hopes this experience will allow him to tap a resource of student ideas and discussions both within and outside of the council.

Jason D. Hill '97

Previous U.C. Experience: None

Key Positions: Dissolving the council

Had enough of the Undergraduate Council? So has Jason D. Hill '97 of Quincy House.

While many presidential candidates have grand visions for molding the Undergraduate Council into a campus force that will bring the administration to its knees, throw wildly successful concerts and distribute thousands of dollars to needy student groups, Hill has a much more nihilist vision.

If elected, he plans to dissolve the council.

"I believe that only by drastic change will we be able to have a student government that will effectively represent the student population," Hill says.

Hill is still formulating his own model for student government. But he does have a few ideas: shorter meetings and a focus on issues involving day-to-day student life.

As an example, Hill cites the recent council debate on Coke and Pepsi.

"Kids should be drinking milk anyway," he says.

Hill also hopes to involve the whole student body in his efforts to remove and replace the council.

"Before it was actually dismantled, I'd institute a process by which students could have a say in restructuring their government," Hill says.

"I might not know what's best for Harvard but we do need change," he adds.

Hill hopes that the administration will help in the reorganizational process, but he further asserts that the council's successor should be essentially student-run.

"I definitely believe that the administration should have some say in how we reorganize our government," Hill says. "But once it is established, it should be essentially student-run and not just a playground for gov jocks."

Hill's zeal to dissolve the council may seem surprising, considering he's never served on the body and says he hasn't attended a meeting in years.

But he says he keeps himself up-to-date on council activity by reading the published minutes.

And he further says that his apparent inexperience will actually be quite beneficial to the student body.

"I would say that the type of campaign I'm running doesn't necessarily require experience," Hill says. "I'm running under the idea of restructuring the student government."

Benjamin R. Kaplan '99-'98

Previous U.C. Experience: None

Key Positions: Creation of Inter-Club Congress; More cost-benefit analysis

Benjamin R. Kaplan '99-'98 of Holworthy Hall wants a different method to the council's madness.

Calling his candidacy an "analyst's perspective" of the council, Kaplan, who is not currently on the council, is moving to enact a series of internal procedural reforms.

"I took on the role of an analyst and spent the year analyzing the U.C.," says Kaplan, who is a Crimson editor. "The ideas I have, which are completely different, are the result of having studied the council for a year."

Kaplan's platform consists of three distinguishing planks.

First, he hopes to create an Inter-Club Congress to facilitate an exchange of ideas and a sense of community within the College.

Second, Kaplan would mandate that all council representatives periodically e-mail a certain designated group of students about council activity.

"They would be able to tell their group of students what's been going on and could ask them for their comments and concerns," Kaplan said.

Third, he hopes the council will analyze more issues from a cost-benefit perspective.

For example, he says that the council should have done some more homework in preparing a recent bill calling for extended hours in the Tex-Mex restaurant in Loker Commons.

"The council has been devaluing their own currency by making demands and decrees on different issues," Kaplan says. "They don't have the research to be more persuasive."

Kaplan is also relying on what he says is a unique position: being an outsider who knows the process well.

Kaplan has never attended a council meeting. But he says his experience as a Crimson central administration reporter has helped prepare him to be council president.

"I've really used The Crimson as my window into what the council's doing," Kaplan says. "Because I covered the central administration, I've had more contact with deans and administrators than almost all of the current council representatives."

How They Voted

On certain bills, the U.C. records how each of its members votes. The table shows how the candidates profiled today voted on four key issues: the institution of popular elections; a request that Harvard replace all references of "freshman" with "first-year"; a request that Harvard remove the ROTC commissioning ceremony from the Yard; and gender neutrality of the U.C. constitution. Luke Z. Fenchel and Joyce F. Liu Crimson Issue  Hyman  Smith  Rawlins  Zingher  Haynes Popular Elections  A*  Y  Y  A  N First-Year  Y  Y  Y  Y  N ROTC Ceremonies  Y  Y  Y  Y  N Gender Neutrality  A*  Y  Y  Y  Y *Hyman did not vote when chairing meetings  Source: Crimson research

YESTERDAY: Profiles of presidential candidates John J. Appelbaum '97, Matthew B. Bakal '97, Joseph G. Cleemann '98, Rudd W. Coffey '97 and Adam D. Green '98

TODAY: Profiles of presidential candidates Jason D. Hill '97, Robert M. Hyman '98-'97, Benjamin R. Kaplan '99-'98, Michael R. Petitpas '95-'97, Edward B. Smith III '97 and the vice presidential candidates

YESTERDAY: Profiles of presidential candidates John J. Appelbaum '97, Matthew B. Bakal '97, Joseph G. Cleemann '98, Rudd W. Coffey '97 and Adam D. Green '98

TODAY: Profiles of presidential candidates Jason D. Hill '97, Robert M. Hyman '98-'97, Benjamin R. Kaplan '99-'98, Michael R. Petitpas '95-'97, Edward B. Smith III '97 and the vice presidential candidates

Want to keep up with breaking news? Subscribe to our email newsletter.

Tags