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In this week's election, the candidates are relatively unknown and the political landscape is murky. We encourage you to see the annual election as a referendum on what should be the council's guide. We endorse Benjamin W. Hulse'99 for president of the Undergraduate Council. Hulse combines a dedication to making the student voice heard on the big issues in an articulate, intellectual manner with a realistic understanding of what the president--and the council--can and cannot do.
Hulse's experience on the council is as extensive as any of the candidates. As press and publicity liaison and then as secretary of the council, Hulse increased its visibility on campus by improving its Web site and by resuscitating, writing and editing the council's quarterly newsletter to keep students posted about council events and issues. As last year's Election Commission coordinator, Hulse supervised from start to finish the council's largest candidate pool and largest voter turnout in recent memory. He has been more dedicated than any other candidate to reforming the council, co-sponsoring both the recent moderator bill and a bill for presidential recall. Hulse is also the only candidate who has run council meetings himself.
Neither is Hulse's record on the council limited to internal concerns. He has demonstrated dedication to improving undergraduate education and student services. Last spring, he served as co-chair of the most successful Levenson Faculty Awards ever--the most nominations, the highest attendance and the lowest cost. On the Student Affairs Committee, he has worked on reforming the Core and is currently chair of the council's Administrative Board task force to reform disciplinary proceedings. Hulse has also promised to build on his earlier work by working toward a restructuring of the College's advising system as well as by increasing the percentage of council funding available to student groups.
Hulse has also been honest and outspoken about his political views. He is among the staunchest supporters of Faculty diversity. He supported a bill on same-sex marriages in Memorial Church, and his candidacy has been endorsed by the Bisexual, Gay, Lesbian, Transgender and Supporters' Alliance (BGLTSA).
However, there are two other candidates who deserve mention. Jobe G. Danganan'99 has effected real change ranging from increased shuttle service to the most marked movement toward universal keycard access this campus has seen. And while we stand for many of the things that Danganan stands for, we cannot endorse a candidate who does not consider council reform a priority. Beth A. Stewart '00 has served the council well as treasurer while bringing quality of student life issues to the fore. Our largest concern about her candidacy is her professed depoliticization of the council. Her "common sense" rhetoric slides away from the social-advocacy positions that a student governing body must take.
While we appreciate the tangible specific goals elaborated in Stewart's platform, we would like to emphasize the difference between the role of the council and the role of council president. Projects such as frozen yogurt in Annenberg and vans for student groups--though important to student quality of life--can be done effectively on the committee level, as presidential candidate Danganan has shown with his accomplishments on shuttle buses.
Since the council president is one of only two leaders elected by the student body as a whole, he or she has the mandate to serve as an articulate, informed and effective representative with administrators on issues which are more complex and long-term, such as ad board reform, core reform and Faculty diversity. Hulse has devoted his efforts to larger issues such as reforming the Core, the advising system and the council itself--goals that cannot be achieved by a single representative, but which require many hands, many hours and reliable leadership. We endorse Ben Hulse because he has the political honesty to stand up for his beliefs and the leadership ability and experience to get the job done. For these reasons, he deserves your first-place vote.
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