Remarks on the debate

So, I went to the debate yesterday and I figured I’d give a critique.

First, I was impressed by the high level of organization and professionalism in the debate operation. Brian Zaik was a very slick moderator and RPI TV was on top of things.

However, I quickly found myself bored by the candidates answers. There was little debate on issues, and the issues were mostly related to internal affairs of student government and not things which effect voters.  The viewers were left to make judgments based on the manner in which the responses were given, since the candidates agreed on almost everything. I think often the candidate who is the most relaxed appears the most confident. To that end, Zwack and Spitz seemed the most relaxed. However, I think Spitz got a bit too lazy at times. Niedhart acted as the experienced professional, and Hunt tried to be more relaxed and “cool”, empasizing all the lofty positions he has held in his 4+ years on campus.

Essentially it boiled down to a huge popularity contest between the candidates.

In last week’s Poly , Ashlee Giacalone wrote an article for the College Republicans. I thought it was a really, really lame article, but she made one good point: the student government is a mock up of real government.

I think its great that students can play pretend government if they want. Just don’t pretend you can make radical changes to campus. The closest thing we see in Student Government to making important decisions is the E-board, which has substantial control over cash flow to clubs. However, I am not sure I like the idea of a few people in a closed room deciding how my activity fee is spent.  Still, I also recognize the need for this system as opposed to a more free-market approach. There is also some potential for new programs I suppose, and I think the only tangible result I have seen is the web technologies group.

The whole discussion about “Committees” was rather hilarious. Seriously, what do these commites do? Organize other committes? I have no idea but I imagine they sit around and talk about what could be done or discuss internal affairs. I also found the fact that student government has a dance hilarious. I believe it was Hunt who talked about how the student government is so big and bloated that the hand is not aware what the foot is doing and vice versa. The dance somehow served to “unify’ the government. I think he just wanted another dance because he likes dances. Excellent use of institute resources. Whatever.

I also find it funny that a Greek endorsement means an almost guaranteed win when most greeks are rarely on campus and don’t deal with many of the issues on-campus students face.  The idea that student government can protect student’s rights, including greek rights, is also laughable. RPI is a private institution and technically we don’t really have any rights and never had any rights. The “rights” we have are fairly artificial and can be changed by the RPI administration. We are also never told what  “rights” student governemnt wants to save. The right to have a fork in commons? Free speech? (lol, good luck on that) The term “student’s rights” is mainly a catchphrase which sounds good in debate

I also have some remarks on the whole RNE fiasco. There is no doubt the RNE has too much power concentrated on a small group of people. The sanctions imposed on Hunt were too harsh and they should have forseen that he would attempt an appeal. His statements were not libelous and I feel that canidates should be able to point out weaknesses of other candidates as long as they do not resort to personal attacks or other nonsense.  I also felt the statement that “that Zwack has a twitter account that no one follows” should have carried more weight because that is patently false. Zwack has 228 followers on twitter and he prides himself in updating it every 10 minutes.

So, on Monday I  heard that he was forbidden to campaign and all his signs must be torn down, and then the next day during the afternoon I saw tons of big red Hunt posters all over campus, much to my confusion.  I’ll admit, I ripped one of his posters and tore another one mostly down. In this cell of the iop. we only tear down posters if they are in violation (vigilantes FTW). I met Askew in the union and he was wondering if iop had torn any of his posters down, since some were missing. I certainly didn’t and I don’t know anyone else involved in iop. who would have. I know one person (not involved with iop) who tears down Zwack posters for fun, and I am certain there are many other parties on campus tearing down posters. It’s a problem inherent in the postering system, especially when they become an eyesore on campus.

I personally am worried the RNE has conflicts of interest and I think this is inevitable when you have only a small group of people dedicated to running it. Therefore, the group’s power should be limited and major decisions should be checked by 3rd party figures such as the Rick Hart and union staff.

In conclusion, mock the vote and write in Arthur Galpin, Alby 4 PU. Send a message to student government that they that are taking things too seriously and you are tired of hearing all the drama and long winded rhetoric. Arthur is dependable, hes always there to listen and he will never waste your money on pet projects or internal affairs. The principle is simple: inanimate objects have no conflicts of interst, they have no selfish motives. If the student government is a mock up government, the iop is a mock up anarchist organization. With inanimate objects in power, power is returned to the people. Thus we can restore peace to the 3rd floor of the union , end the drama and all move on to more important things.

Also, make sure to write in Arthur Galpin for MMOC. I meant to get him on the ballot this year. Maybe we can at least make the top 10.


One Response to “Remarks on the debate”

  1. Jay Walker says:

    One day there will be a candidate that wins MMOC and GM. Maybe that candidate will be Arthur Galpin. Who knows?

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