NEWS

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April 10, 2009

SG elections gear up, graduate liaison candidates a no-show

Half of this year’s Student Government (SG) elected positions are uncontested or vacant, with only eight upperclassman competing for as many College Council (CC) spots and no one running for the position of Graduate Liaison to the Board of Trustees. SG elections for Executive Slate, CC representatives, and undergraduate and graduate trustee liaisons take place every spring. Slates are comprised of a president, vice president for administration (VPA), and vice president of student affairs (VPSA). Each class has four CC representatives. Official candidates for these positions were announced Friday.Three groups are competing for SG’s executive positions: the United Progress, YouChicago and the Moose Party. United Progress, headed by second-year Julian Quintanilla, is the only slate to have candidates on the current SG slate. Quintanilla, the current VPA, has made RSO funding a major issue during his tenure, chairing the Commission on Improving RSO Funding. The commission proposed a set of recommendations to add RSO members to the SG Funding Committee (SGFC), to better track allocated funds, and to restructure sports club funding to include club input, among other changes. The General Assembly will vote on the proposals next week. First-year Sohrab Kohli, a 2012 CC class representative, and second-year Allen Linton are running as United Progress’s nominees for VPA and VPSA respectively. “Now that the procedural stuff [of reforming RSO funding] is out of the way, the big goal is to follow up on that,” Quintanilla said, adding that financial aid and SG transparency are key issues as well.Third-year CC representative Jarrod Wolf, first-year CC representative May Yeung, and third-year Chris Williams are YouChicago’s presidential, VPA, and VPSA candidates, respectively. Wolf, who has long advocated for transportation reform on campus, has brought this issue to his slate’s platform. YouChicago supports his plan to create an X173 bus, an express route from south campus to the South Loop. The slate also advocates reevaluating the $400,000 Maroon and Phoenix routes. The site also mentions YouChicago’s support of Quintanilla’s RSO plan, though the slate criticizes it for “not chang[ing] how RSOs are allocated money, merely just the people who sit on [SGFC].”The upcoming election also marks the Moose Party’s 15th consecutive bid for office. The farcical slate, featuring Delta Upsilon brothers, has never won, though that has not stopped the members from throwing victory parties. Last year, the Moose Party proposed filling Lake Michigan with beer.This year’s Moose Party slate includes third-year Anindya Kundu as the presidential candidate, second-year Danny Kimeldorf for VPA, and second-year Charlie Hughes for VPSA.In the Council races, two classes have only as many candidates as open positions, while the first-year race has, as in the past, twice as many candidates. The candidates for the class of 2010 are Jay Kim, Wolf, Prerna Nadathur, and Williams. Wolf, Kim, and Nadathur are incumbents; Kim is CC chair.The candidates for the class of 2011 are Jason Cigan, Arthur Baptist, Mark Redmond, and Marie Joh; Baptist and Redmond are incumbents. “I actually don’t feel too good about running unopposed. I wish there was more interest in it,” Joh said. “But even though I’ve never been involved in SG, I still follow the Council minutes more than most people do.”The candidates for the class of 2012 are Chen Kuan, Haisha Chen, Theodore Gonder, Kohli, Yeung, Nicolas Duque, Joe Bao, Tara Levens, and David Akinin. Kuan, Kohli, and Yeung are incumbents. Akinin, who is also running for undergraduate liaison along with second-year Greg Nance and third-year Kara Elliott-Ortega, said that while he lost an election in the fall for class representative, he has attended all CC meetings and has served as proxy for all current first-year representatives. Despite his dedication to CC, he said he views that position as more of a backup. After meeting Trustee chairman Andrew Alper at a luncheon last quarter Akinin proposed allowing liaisons to attend preliminary trustee meetings where they would be briefed on various campus issues. “That’s where they make their decisions,” Akinin said. “And Alper completely agrees with me that liaisons should be included.” No one submitted a petition for graduate liaison to the board of trustees. “Part of that is because there was an uncontested position last year,” said Toussaint Losier, a graduate student and current VPSA. “[Current liaison Brian Cody] has done a really good job to the point that he hasn’t sparked strong opposition.” Losier said that Cody likely didn’t run again in order to make time for completing field research for his degree. Nonetheless, Losier said that Cody was remiss in not devoting more attention to this year’s election.“Incumbents, including myself, could have done a better job on grooming people to replace us.”According to SG Elections and Rules Committee member and second-year Paul Connell, it is likely that a write-in candidate will be elected to the position.Elections will be held from April 21 to April 23 online at sg.uchicago.edu.