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Students Vying To Lead Council

By Liz C. Goodwin, Contributing Writer

With five days left for students to enter the race to lead the 2005 Undergraduate Council, two tickets have emerged as contenders.

Presidential and vice-presidential hopefuls have until Sunday afternoon to collect 100 signatures from student supporters.

Right now, the presidential race pits Matthew J. Glazer ’06 against Teo P. Nicolais ’06. Both are third-year council members who hold top council roles.

Glazer serves as chair of the Student Affairs Committee (SAC), a job that has historically served as a launching pad for the council presidency. Three of the past four presidents have held the position.

Nicolais serves as chair of the Finance Committee, overseeing the allocation of two-thirds of the council’s funds. Due to successive termbill hikes, the council’s budget increased this year and will increase again next year.

Nicolais said his campaign will focus on the need to make best possible use of the windfall.

“More than anything, we need to prioritize and budget, if we are truly to seize this momentous opportunity,” Nicolais said.

Glazer also said he will emphasize fiscal responsibility—apparently a major issue months after the council was fined over $1,800 for accidentally bouncing checks—as well as push University Hall on issues such as increasing student space.

“The issue is ridiculous on campus, and it’s time for the administration to stop ignoring it,” Glazer said.

Glazer’s running mate is Clay T. Capp ’06, who serves as council treasurer. Samita A. Mannapperuma ’06, chair of the council’s Finance Policy Committee, is running for vice president alongside Nicolais.

Outside her council duties, Mannapperuma, a Crimson editor, also participates in student government as Curricr House Committee vice chair and as Harvard’s head delegate to the Ivy Council, where student leaders from Ivy League schools discuss common issues.

Mannapperuma said she also brings a unique perspective to the campaign due to her job as an admissions office tour guide.

“I sell Harvard on a weekly basis, and now I have the opportunity to make it a better place for everyone,” said Mannapperuma.

Glazer said that Capp, who has served on both SAC and the Campus Life Committee, understands the council better than any other member.

Capp argued that he and Glazer had successfully cultivated the types of “relationships” council leaders need to enact change.

“We’re going to be the ones who are going to actually be able to deliver because of our credibility with the council, the administration and across the student body,” Capp said.

If Glazer-Capp and Nicolais-Mannapperuma prove to be the only candidates, next month’s race will feature fewer choices than is usual. Over the past three years, there have been at least four presidential candidates in the race.

Jonathan D. Einkauf ’06, chair of the council’s Election Commission, said there is still time for last-minute candidates to decide to run.

“You never know,” Einkauf said. “We had a couple of candidates jump on at the very end of the period last year.”

One council member, Ian W. Nichols ’06, said he may attempt to “spice up the ticket.”

Nichols, vice chair of the council’s Finance Committee, said he is considering running for president in order to offer students more choice on the ballot.

“I don’t think that the two candidates right now are all that different,” Nichols said. Nichols is president of the Harvard Beer Society.

Candidates can begin campaigning on Nov. 29—provided that a random sample of 100 supporters’ signatures has been verified. Voting begins on Dec. 6.

Einkauf said the schedule allows for candidates and their supporters to enjoy the Thanksgiving break without worrying about the campaign.

“Right now what we’re looking for is early campaigning,” Einkauf said. “It’s kind of a fuzzy issue for the candidates to understand because we expect candidates to be collecting signatures, but they’re not allowed to be articulating their platform.”

Einkauf said he has received a few complaints about early campaigning, but he said nothing has been confirmed. The candidates are punished monetarily for breaking campaign rules—various offenses cause money to be deducted from a candidate’s $100 campaign budget.

The current candidates said they are looking forward to the race.

“It’s exciting to see how much support we have already, especially among the council,” Glazer said.

“We have people from every reach in the College,” Nicolais said. “We’re ready for it. We’re ready to go.”

Council President Matthew W. Mahan ’05 said he will most likely endorse a ticket once he has heard all the candidates’ platforms.

“It’s going to be a tough race,” Mahan said.

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