Until 11:30 p.m. last night, there were three candidates in the race to succeed Dana Hork as Undergraduate Assembly chairman.
College junior Seth Schreiberg, the current UA treasurer, was facing off with College junior Aaron Short and Engineering sophomore Matt Lattman.
But late yesterday, Wharton junior Ethan Kay threw his hat into the ring for the UA's top post, which will be determined at the body's transition meeting tonight.
Kay and Schreiberg had been discussing the possibility of running jointly -- as candidates for co-chairmen of the body. According to Schreiberg, the two best friends had a common vision and believed that holding the position jointly would have allowed them to accomplish their goals.
After a long discussion between the two on Sunday night, Kay decided on Monday to leave the race entirely. He said that he got the impression that running together would be hard on their friendship, and that "there was at best tacit approval for us to run as co-chairs." Schreiberg said that people were struggling with the idea that a pressing need for two co-chairs existed.
Last night, Kay, who did not serve on the UA in the past year because of abroad study in Australia, had a change of heart, but the two candidates will not run jointly.
"I really am following my heart and I know that I need to give it a shot, because it's what I've dedicated the past three years of my life to," Kay said.
"Given that Seth doesn't feel that my running would polarize our friendship," Kay added, "I don't want my not running to be the biggest regret of my life."
He said he wants "to empower the UA by improving its community and energy, by putting more bite and progressiveness in our stance toward the administration and garnering the respect of students."
Schreiberg holds the highest position on the body of the four candidates, after beating out Short in last year's election for treasurer.
Short is a three-year UA member who served this year as vice chairman of the Facilities Committee. He sees his leadership style as a hands-off approach and, if elected, said he would focus on creating a sense of courtesy among all members of the body.
"I'd like to establish civility in the leadership so that the rest of the body will treat each other with the respect and kindness that we deserve from one another," Short said. "I want to try and dissolve the notion of the hierarchy that has existed between the UA executive board and other committee members."
Short cited among the weak points of last year's body a failure to create an overarching directional goal and an over-emphasis on internal UA matters -- two things he said he would work to improve on in the coming year.
"We didn't set an overall position for where we think the UA is going and we didn't discuss the purpose of the UA in general," Short said. "We were too self-reflective, and we spent so much time working on internal issues."
Schreiberg, however, takes another approach to leadership. After serving on the UA for three years and working for the past year as chairman of the Budget committee, Schreiberg said he thinks he can make an impact out of the public eye.
"I like to be very involved in going behind the scenes.... This year, I was an advocate for people who didn't want to speak at meetings," Schreiberg said. "My being chair and not having an opinion is fine. The chair's role is also to make sure opinions get heard." Schreiberg echoed Short's concerns over internal struggles.
"There was a lot of in-fighting that kills the spirit of the body.... It leads to a total breakdown in morale," Schreiberg said. "The best moments were when we could finally sense a direction that we wanted to go in and go there. An orderly debate without being over-pedagogical."
Lattman, too, has a vision to solve these problems. The least-experienced candidate -- who served this year as chairman of the West Philadelphia Committee -- wants to focus on internal conduct.
"Improvement comes about by evolving the committee structure to better fit student needs," Lattman said. "I feel that we stopped respecting each other whenever we shied away from the rule. I think this is prevented by making clear that the body... will govern itself in parliamentary procedure from the beginning."
Lattman said he will accomplish this through his own brand of leadership.
"I don't feel that a good leader is someone who just dictates a direction or debate," Lattman said. "But a good leader is someone who works within the needs and wants of the body and student body as a whole to get maximum results."
The transition meeting will take place at 7 p.m. in Houston Hall's Bodek Lounge.Comments powered by Disqus
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