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Just as we believe that a primary role of the president should be to serve as a representative of the students' voice on ideological issues to the administration, we believe that the role of the vice-president should be redefined to focus on an oversight of the council's full agenda, both in-committee and campus-wide. Over the past year, we have not heard much from the vice president of the Undergraduate Council.
The office does not seem to have any clear definition that makes it relevant to the campus. Hopefully, next year will be different. Of the six candidates for the vice-presidency of the council, Samuel C. Cohen '00 emerges as the one with the background and vision necessary to transform the office into an effective tool for executing the will of the students.
Cohen has a record of tangible achievement on the council. Last year, he organized the concentration fair and the first-year formal. This semester he has worked on the universal key-card access subcommittee, which has made the most progress on the issue in recent memory, and he arranged both the Harvard-Yale buses and the council's Thanksgiving airport shuttle service. While others on the council talk of their grandiose visions, Cohen rolls up his sleeves and gets the job done. Whether flipping burgers at the Harvard-Yale tailgate or collecting shuttle tickets, Cohen is the sort of down-to-earth, hands-on leader that is wonderfully suited for the office of council vice-president.
Cohen has an intelligent vision for the council. Throughout his campaign he has steered clear of ideological grandstanding. He does not seek to depoliticize the council nor does he wish to be an incessant organ for social advocacy. He just wishes to serve students' interests, wherever those interests may lie. He has stated that the best way for the council to fulfill its obligation to the student body, specifically with regard to issues that involve the Administration, is to direct its focus toward matters about which the majority of the student body share a similar view.
Some of Cohen's specific objectives include increasing money for student groups by way of an endowment, improvements at the MAC, greater dining service flexibility and cable TV for the houses. He is also in favor of downsizing the council and creating a moderator, both much-needed reforms.
What the council currently lacks most in its dealings with the administration is the political capital that comes with support from the student body. Turnout levels on elections persist at abysmally low levels. By delivering change that directly affects the lives of students and drawing attention to those changes, Cohen can bring the council the legitimacy it sorely needs.
Sam Cohen has a strong record of service to the student body and an intelligent vision for the vice-presidency of the council. He deserves your support.
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