Slate and undergraduate liaison candidates debate

Slate candidates debate role of Student Government: Improve life on campus or provide access to city?

By Ella Christoph

[img id=”77603″ align=”alignleft”] Correction appended

Candidates for the executive slate and undergraduate liaison to the Board of Trustees discussed their platforms and answered audience questions at the Student Government (SG) elections debate Tuesday night. No candidates are running for graduate liaison, despite efforts by SG to increase graduate student involvement.

The atmosphere of the debates was significantly different than that of past years, in part because the audience wrote their questions down instead of asking them out loud. In addition, the Moose Party, whose slate is composed of three brothers from the Delta Upsilon fraternity, was relatively subdued this year, with only two audience members being asked to leave for disrupting the event.

All the candidates for undergraduate liaison acknowledged the limitations of the position but proposed that they could still bring changes to student life. The undergraduate liaison meets once a quarter with the Committee for Student Life, one of the 11 trustee committees.

Second-year Greg Nance pushed for a pragmatic approach to the position, but had an ambitious platform that included establishing an alternative alumni endowment that would be run by SG and directly give tuition subsidies to students selected by donors.

“I think my greatest strength is understanding the bureaucracy that I would be working on as student liaison,” he said. He proposed getting more students on lower-level trustee committees to develop recommendations that could be evaluated by SG.

Third-year Kara Elliot-Ortega emphasized her community involvement. While she has not been involved in SG in the past, she pointed to her active role in a number of RSOs, including the Woodlawn Collaborative.

Elliot-Ortega said she had been unimpressed by student government in the past, but wanted to fix the problems she saw. “I don’t think it’s a bad thing to have a vision and lofty ambitions,” she said. She proposed making minutes from the Board of Trustees meeting partially public and introducing students to the administrative structure of the University during O-Week.

First-year David Akinin focused on briefing the trustees on issues before the meetings take place in order to establish a relationship and give trustees more time to consider the liaison’s proposals. He said that he had already met with Andrew Alper, president of the Board of Trustees, and would continue developing such relationships. He pointed to his experience as liaison to his high school’s board, and his participation in the Chicago Coalition of Colleges, Annual Allocations, and the Uncommon Fund.

“I don’t think this is an eight-minute job in a quarterly meeting,” he said.

Executive Slates

Conversation between the YouChicago and United Progress slates revolved around the question of whether SG should be focused on improving student life on campus or expanding student access to off-campus activities.

Third-year and YouChicago presidential candidate Jarrod Wolf cited his work this year as CC representative, specifically his proposal for the #173X bus route, which would travel from south campus to downtown Chicago.

Second-year Julian Quintanilla, current vice president for administration and United Progress presidential candidate, has worked on revamping RSO funding and said he would continue to work on RSO issues to improve campus life. “We’re committed to going to a lot more RSO events and institutionalizing that practice,” he said.

He said Wolf’s work on incorporating the University into the greater Chicago community was less relevant. “We live here. We should be focused more on Hyde Park than downtown,” Quintanilla said.

The Moose Party platform included a bronze statue of Ted O’Neill naked on the quad, a Drinking Game Theory economics course, a smoking area called the Hipster Cave—“There will be no speakers but we will play only sound films anyway,” said second-year Danny Kimeldorf, candidate for vice president for administration—and a dental-dam Easter egg hunt.

All three slates supported the 2016 Olympics and said they would use the event to increase support for improving retail and entertainment in Hyde Park.

The YouChicago and United Progress slates diverged on the question of the Kalven Report, which stipulates that political issues not be considered when making financial investments. The YouChicago party advocated reevaluating the report and considering divestment from Darfur, while United Progress proposed reevaluating what constituted a political issue, not the tenets of the report itself.

Both slates agreed that the Student Activities Fee should be increased in order to make up for the $39,000 the University cut from sport RSOs’ budgets next year.

Kimeldorf suggested that some of that money could come from varsity teams.

“Less funding for the football team, more funding for Quiz bowl,” he said.

A candidate meet and greet will take place Monday in Hutchinson Commons at 8:00 p.m. The polls will open on on Tuesday and close on Thursday, when results will be announced.

Correction: The original version of this article incorrectly identified Greg Nance as a CC representative. The CC representatives for the Class of 2011 are Arthur Baptist, Archibald England, Victor Leung, and Mark Redmond. The article also misattributed a quote by second-year Daniel Kimeldorf to third-year Anindya Kundu.