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UC Candidates Compete For Student Group Endorsements

By Stephanie B. Garlock, Crimson Staff Writer

With voting for the leadership of the Undergraduate Council opening today, Student Life Committee Chair Senan Ebrahim ’12 and his running mate Bonnie Cao ’12, the current UC Secretary, have pulled ahead in the race for student group endorsements. A total of 16 groups had given the Ebrahim-Cao campaign their stamp of approval as of yesterday.

Beyond the number of endorsements that Ebrahim and Cao have won, the ticket has picked up endorsements from many of the most visible student groups, including the Black Students Association, Asian American Association, Harvard Republican Club, and Harvard College Democrats.

Their opponents Matthew S. Coe ’12—the UC Social Life Task Force Chair—and his vice presidential candidate Tengbo Li ’12—the chair of the Education Committee—have racked up endorsements from Veritas Financial Group, the Brazilian Club, H-Club, the Harvard College Economics Review, and Pinocchio’s Pizza & Subs.

In an interview with The Crimson earlier this month, UC Vice President Eric N. Hysen ’11 named social life as the most important issue in this year’s race.

“That’s the thing that’s getting student groups excited,” Hysen said.

According to Dems President Jason Q. Berkenfeld ’11, Dems members were drawn to Ebrahim and Cao’s experience working with student groups and realistic proposals for improving access to social space and fundraising opportunities. The club has predicted the ultimate winner in the last seven UC presidential elections.

Coe and Li’s proposed Student Venture Capital Fund, which will provide student groups with capital for investment and growth initiatives, has helped draw in endorsements from entrepreneurship-focused student groups such as the Veritas Financial Group.

“It’s unique,” Coe said of the program. “We could see student groups profit exponentially.”

The third ticket in the race—comprising of UC-outsiders Collin A. Jones ’12 and his running mate Peter D. Davis ’12—has decided not to vie for official approval from student groups. The Jones-Davis campaign has instead relied on online multimedia including videos and a “direct democracy” poll soliciting suggestions for how to spend $20.10 of their campaign funds. The ticket released a video over the weekend chronicling their purchase of a Cuban tree frog with the final portion of their budget.

“We feel like the current framework of the UC campaign process is very biased towards candidates that have been in the UC before,” Jones said.

—Staff writer Stephanie B. Garlock can be reached at sgarlock@college.harvard.edu.

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