Update appended at 4:35 a.m.
With voting for the Undergraduate Council Presidential Elections opening at noon today, internal UC opinion remains divided between the two major tickets, Johnny F. Bowman ’11 with running mate Eric N. Hysen ’11, and rivals George J.J. Hayward ’11 with Felix M. Zhang ’11.
While more representatives have openly declared their support for Bowman-Hysen, Hayward-Zhang supporters claim the ticket has more backing from experienced members.
Currently 14 UC representatives have signed on to Bowman-Hysen’s official campaign staff, including Finance Committee Chair Amanda Lu ’11 and Treasurer Brad M. Paraszczak ’11. Only one UC representative, Education Committee Chair Kwang Y. “Joseph” Kim ’12, has joined the campaign staff for the Hayward-Zhang ticket.
UC President Andrea R. Flores ’10 said support within the UC this year is more “unbalanced” than in the past.
When Flores ran with current Vice President Kia J. McLeod ’10 against the other major UC ticket Benjamin P. Schwartz ’10 and Alneada D. Biggers ’10, Council opinion was evenly split between the two campaigns, which she said contributed to the tense, sometimes acrimonious political atmosphere that characterized last year’s elections.
“I think the Bowman-Hysen campaign did a very good job of contacting UC representatives very early on,” said UC member and Bowman-Hysen supporter Jade A. Clark ’11, when asked about internal Council support. “They do have an advantage in that they have a lot of the freshmen.”
Flores agreed, noting that campaigns with more freshmen supporters have fared better in the past because of higher voting rates among first year students.
But some Council veterans said it would be inaccurate to judge Council opinion based on raw numbers, pointing out that many Bowman-Hysen supporters were UC members with relatively little understanding of UC history, such as freshmen or first-time representatives.
Support for the two UC tickets within the UC’s Executive Board, for example, is divided almost evenly, they said.
“The majority of experienced Council members are supporting the Hayward-Zhang ticket,” said Student Initiatives Committee Chair Mallika Khandelwal ’11, who is also a Hayward-Zhang supporter, though she is not on their campaign staff.
Both tickets continued to net endorsements from student groups over the weekend. Bowman and Hysen received the support of the Queer Students and Allies, the South Asian Men’s Collective, and the Alaska Klub.
Hayward and Zhang received an endorsement from The Harvard Crimson last night, in addition to endorsements from Perspective Magazine and cultural groups such as the Harvard Korean Association.
Outsider ticket Robert G.B. Long ’11 and David R. Johnson ’11 also received their first endorsement over the weekend from the Harvard Outing Club.
—Staff writer Melody Y. Hu can be reached at email@example.com.
Following this article’s publication on thecrimson.com slightly after 2 a.m., Kim and Student Life Committee Chair Senan Ebrahim ’12 contacted The Crimson to endorse the Hayward-Zhang ticket, emphasizing what they said was the pairing’s strong record of advocacy.
“I do support Hayward-Zhang,” Ebrahim said. “Their convincing brand of advocacy has brought me on board...[Hayward] is by far the most effective advocate I’ve seen on my time on the UC.”
Of the five committee chairs on the UC, three have now endorsed Hayward-Zhang. Kim has gone back and forth as a member of the ticket’s campaign staff, explaining that though he said he maintains his support for the pair, “the point of the UC isn’t the election—the point of the UC is actually doing advocacy work and working on our projects...officially signing on to a staff list takes away from actual mission of the UC.”
Kim has already expressed his intention to be re-added to the staff list and said that this will occur later this morning.
“The reason why I’m signing on right now is that I really feel that the only way I can actively campaign for George is being on the staff list,” Kim said.
Both Ebrahim and Kim agreed with Flores that the race is less charged within the Council than last year’s, which Ebrahim said makes the exact pulse of UC reps’ support “difficult to sense.”