It’s noon on an overcast Wednesday, and Collin A. Jones ’12 is on the science center lawn campaigning to become Undergraduate Council President. Unlike his fellow candidates, however, Jones is sporting a full-size Tigger suit, with pogo stick in hand.
“I’ve been on this pogo stick for ten minutes straight,” he shouts, climbing back on. Next to him is his running mate, Peter D. Davis ’12, holding a giant felt board with three sloppily placed pillars, representing their campaign points, attached.
“Do you support democracy, safety, and the twenty-first century?” he asks. “Vote Jones-Davis!”
With their simple platform of “three pillars,” a catchy Michael Jackson campaign song, and a pet frog as a mascot, the Jones-Davis campaign deviates considerably from traditional UC tickets.
Although neither Jones nor Davis has UC experience, the two proudly tout their high school student council experiences and membership in the National Honor Society in a YouTube campaign video.
“Can the average Harvard student bring that type of experience to the table?” Jones challenges.
A ‘NONTRADITIONAL’ TICKET
Among the three pairs vying for leadership of the student body this year, the Jones-Davis ticket has been dubbed the “non-traditional” or “outsider” choice. While the Coe-Li and Ebrahim-Cao tickets are both composed of current UC leaders, Jones, a comparative religion concentrator in Quincy House, and Davis, a government concentrator in Currier, make no mystery of their lack of UC experience.
“The majority of the student body knows nothing about the UC. We want to represent the majority of the student body,” Jones says. “We promise that we don’t know any more than you do, and we probably know less.”
Jones and Davis, however, say they are trying to leverage their underdog position to achieve grassroots support. Through a series of quirky campaign videos, a loyal staff team, and a website modeled after that of New York’s The Rent Is Too Damn High Party, this duo is working to win the hearts and minds of the student body.
“We’re pleased with our virality,” Davis says.
REPRESENTING THE PEOPLE
Chief among the proposed Jones-Davis initiatives is their first campaign promise—“the pillar of democracy,” by which the two propose to open all UC decisions to a popular vote. Citing the UC’s increase in representatives, the two said they would like to increase that number by 6,000 or, Davis adds, “however many it would take to have everyone at Harvard represented.”
The two plan to implement this vision of direct democracy through Google forms, SurveyMonkey or “the doodle.” Their first poll, which ended last Wednesday, asked students to vote on how they should spend their campaign money.
Among requests for “icing” University President Drew G. Faust and their competitors—not to mention changing their remaining $20.10 into pennies to be strewn around campus—one suggestion was louder than the rest.