Holmes/Wyne Elected UAP/VP in Landslide

Undergraduate Voter Turnout Up 11 Percent From Last Year's UA Spring Elections

64 elections
Undergraduate Association President-elect Martin F. Holmes '08 and Vice President-elect Ali S. Wyne '08 talk with Wendi Zhang '08 on Thursday.
Arthur Petron—The TEch

With voter turnout up 11 percent, Martin F. Holmes '08 and Ali S. Wyne '08 won the Undergraduate Association elections for president and vice president in a landslide victory.

Holmes and Wyne captured 1,019 out of a total 1,847 votes (55 percent). Holmes and Wyne will replace UA P/VP Andrew T. Lukmann '07 and Ruth F. Miller '07.

Amidst the controversy of the 2008 Class Council race, Phi T. Ho '08 and Rajat Bhalla '08 were elected president and vice president, respectively. Vivian Tang '09 and Deepa Mokshagundam '09 won the 2009 Class Council presidential and vice presidential elections, although their running mates were not elected. Jason A. Scott '10 and Laura H. Han '10 won the uncontested 2010 Class Council presidential and vice presidential elections.

A table of results, including vote totals, is available on page 11.

Holmes, Wyne optimistic

Holmes, who is the president of the 2008 Class Council, said that he and Wyne are "extremely excited" and "extremely pleased with the election results." Holmes said that he looks "forward to making a lot of positive changes and protecting a lot of things in MIT that make it unique compared to other colleges," including Residence Exploration and independent dining options.

Wyne, vice chair of the UA Senate and a Tech opinion staff writer, said that he and Holmes have established their priorities for the next few months, including improving SafeRide by starting a Harvard Bridge SafeRide and expanding the size of the Cambridge West shuttles.

Holmes also described the immediate goal of creating an Institute holiday for the Career Fair. Holmes said that they want to make a Career Fair holiday so that students have "more time to prepare" for the Career Fair. Holmes said he hopes that MIT will benefit by encouraging students and companies to become more involved in the Career Fair, eventually resulting in "greater funding opportunities." The Career Fair holiday is not likely to happen this coming year, but "2008 has a good chance," Holmes said. However, the Registrar's Office already has a schedule of key dates, including student holidays, available online for the 2008-2009 school year, which does not provide for another student holiday.

Holmes and Wyne also stressed the formation of a Committee on Institute Communication. The committee would report to the UA President and Vice President to "bridge the gap between the administration and students," Holmes said. Holmes expressed concern over a lack of student input in administrative decisions, specifically citing rumored plans to remove Burton-Conner kitchens.

Holmes attributed his and Wyne's success to their "door-to-door" campaign. Wyne said that campaigning door-to-door allowed the pair to hear "what [students] wanted to see the UA do." Wyne also attributed the increase in voter turnout to their interactive campaigning and said that the increase in turnout was "very encouraging."

Election improvements

Changes to the elections system may be in order after problems arose regarding the vice presidential candidacy of Prashant K. Dilwali '08 and his late ballot application. Dilwali said that "members of the '08 class who voted earlier [in between Wednesday and Saturday] were not as informed as they could have been," because the Web site indicated he had violated campaign rules, though the violation was not explained until later. "[The] decisions … should [have been] made available promptly to the public," said Dilwali.

Holmes said he would consider possible changes to future election proceedings. "The simple fact that they [the UA] didn't have an existing JudBoard at the time was a problem," he said. "People just need to be more aware that problems can arise and when they do arise, we need a solid, concrete way to deal with them." Holmes said. Holmes also said that the UA can improve their elections by ensuring "that all the candidates are well-informed at the start of the election so people can know when they are violating the code."