Muir council passes ban on slate politics

    Muir College Council delivered a blow to the power of all-campus slates last week when it banned all future Muir senatorial candidates from joining the campuswide political conglomerates.

    Muir Senior Senator Jacob Knapp and Muir College Council Vice President Ben Epperson led the move to ban slates from Muir senatorial elections. They drafted a referendum admonishing the participation of slates in Muir’s senatorial elections.

    The council, which unanimously approved the referendum, then moved to change its bylaws to reflect the spirit of the referendum.

    “”Our fundamental goal was to bring things back to [Muir],”” said Epperson, who served as Muir college’s representative to the 2002 A.S. Council election committee.

    “”Muir college wants senatorial candidates to focus on Muir college,”” Knapp said. “”We hope this will help candidates have a more effective campaign on the college level.””

    All Muir senatorial candidates vying for the three Muir senator positions — one each for a fall 2002 sophomore, junior and senior — in the 2002 A.S. Council election were members of all-campus slates.

    Slates are informal candidate collectives that often broadcast a common set of goals and pool resources and money for supplies and advertising.

    Although the main target of the MCC referendum is the centrist pull of all-campus slates on college representatives, the document also expresses MCC’s belief that the political collectives take advantage of senatorial candidates. More specifically, the referendum calls for an end to the use of Muir senatorial candidates as “”financial tools”” and “”physical laborers.””

    Epperson and Knapp said they feel strongly about this portion of the referendum.

    “”As Muir’s representative to the election committee, I saw how all-campus slates are disadvantageous to college senators,”” Epperson said.

    Muir Sophomore Senator-elect and Students First slate member Jeremy Cogan agreed.

    “”I definitely think that we helped the slates way more than they helped us,”” he said. “”I didn’t like feeling guilty when I wasn’t out on Library Walk … I was like, ‘Wait a minute, I want to help myself for a second.'””

    MCC’s success in banning slates has spurred student governments of other colleges to consider the slate issue.

    Thurgood Marshall College Council deliberated over similar changes to its rules regarding its senatorial candidates last week. However, unlike with MCC where the ban passed, it did not garner a single supporting vote.

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