5 tickets clash in UC presidential debate | New

While the voting period is underway for the Undergraduate Council election, five of the six presidential candidates gathered at Boylston Hall for a debate hosted by the UC Election Commission to defend their respective campaigns and answer questions from college students on their platforms.

For an hour, the contestants – Michael Y. Cheng ’22, Nicholas J. Brennan ’23, Neil F. Katzman ’24, Kanishka J. Reddy ’24 and Esther J. Xiang ’23 – answered questions ranging from their positions on social and academic life on campus at UC efficiency.

Ivor K. Zimmerman ’23, the sixth presidential candidate, decided not to attend the debate.

The debate, which was moderated by UC Crimson Yard representative Owen Ebose ’25, took place hours after a tumultuous start to the voting period. Although voting began at noon on Thursday, the election commission had to cancel all votes cast before 5:30 p.m. due to a technical error that arose when voters attempted to vote for Cheng’s campaign.

Katzman began the event by criticizing UC in her opening statement.

“I’m Neil from New Mexico and I’m tired,” he said. “I’m tired of the lies and the backstabbing that happened. I’m sick of people treating UC more important than Capitol Hill. I’m sick of all this nonsense.

Ebose asked each candidate how they would support students as they continue to come back to life on campus amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Brennan said he believed the first step was to recognize the “extremely disparate” experiences of off-campus students during the distance school year.

“I think the first step is to realize that things weren’t back to normal and that we had extremely disparate experiences while we were off campus,” said Brennan. “This means that going back to a full expectation of what students can do on campus is not acceptable.”

Some of the candidates reflected on how their upbringing influenced their political plans and their decision to participate in the race.

Xiang spoke about her experience as a first-generation low-income student entering Harvard.

“I knew it was going to be so different, and it was really scary to feel helpless, to feel invisible, not to be heard and not know how to navigate this space,” Xiang said. “We want to make sure that all the resources are accessible on this campus and that people feel they belong. “

“We want to be able to expand FYRE, the pre-orientation for FGLI students,” she said. “And create a safety net program to give to students who are experiencing any kind of emergency or financial hardship.”

During the debate, Cheng challenged Harvard administrators to invest more directly in students.

Cheng said the multi-billion dollar Harvard endowment increase could allow the school “to expand the FGLI bridging program, for hot breakfast, inclusion, and graduate pay.”

“When Dartmouth’s endowment increased by $ 3 billion, they gave each a bonus of $ 1,000,” Cheng added. Dartmouth announced an increase in its endowment of $ 2.52 billion in fiscal 2021.

Later in the debate, candidates came up with different ways to promote the well-being and inclusion of all students.

Reddy explained that his “Pol.is” platform – technological software where users come up with ideas that others can vote on until consensus is reached – will promote “direct democracy” to respond to questions. student concerns about well-being and inclusion.

“I think the best way to listen to people is with direct democracy,” Reddy said. “With the Pol.is platform, you can also add to the conversation. You can add to ideas that are voted on and have other people vote on that as well, so we think that’s the best way to listen.

Ebose closed the debate by inviting candidates to compliment a member of an opposing ticket.

Of all the candidates, Cheng received the most praise.

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