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After Extension, Sophomores Pollino, Biber Will Join UGBC Presidential Race

After only one team turned in forms on time to run for Undergraduate Government of Boston College president and executive vice president, the Elections Committee (EC) extended the deadline to run until tomorrow at 4 p.m.

And now, at least one more team will be joining Raymond Mancini and Matt Batsinelas, both CSOM ’19, in this year’s race. Sebastian Biber, MCAS ’19, and Davis Pollino, CSOM ’19, decided to run earlier this week, with Pollino for president and Biber for executive vice president. They said in an interview Wednesday that they were initially on the fence about running this year, preferring to run next year after getting another year of experience on campus.

But when they saw that only one team had declared, they decided to take the opportunity and have been preparing it since Monday. EC rules bar them from discussing specific details of their platform until the campaign kickoff, which will now be on Saturday at 3 p.m. instead of Sunday at 7. They said the roles are stigmatized because of the responsibilities that come with them. 

“Everyone I talked to who I tell that I’m running is like ‘Why would you ever do that to yourself?’” Pollino said.

Pollino and Biber aren’t currently involved in UGBC, but they said they don’t think it will hurt to have “outside” candidates in the race.

“I think that as outsiders, it’s actually an important perspective, because what I’ve heard from people in UGBC, it’s a niche in which it’s very much everyone’s own opinion, and everyone’s same opinion, for the most part,” Biber said. “So coming in as outsiders might be a breath of fresh air for the whole organization, I think.”

Mancini and Batsinelas said in an interview on Sunday that they expected the EC to extend the deadline. The EC’s guidelines state that if only one team has entered the race after the deadline, the committee reserves the right to extend the date.

“I’m not surprised,” Mancini said on Wednesday. “I know that the election has to be competitive, and that’s their job, to make sure that the election is competitive.”

Batsinelas said on Sunday that he thought the EC should encourage more teams to enter by a hard deadline, rather than extend it. This is the second year in a row that the deadline has been extended, although under different circumstances. Last year, three teams initially declared they were running, but when two dropped out the deadline was extended. Five more teams then jumped in.

Mancini, a current member of UGBC’s Student Assembly (SA), has also cast himself as something of an outside candidate. Together with Michael Proietta, MCAS ’19, he has gained a reputation this year for being somewhat contrarian in his voting record—in September, the two voted against a resolution calling on the University to establish an LGBTQ+ resource center, and in an interview in December, Proietta said he thinks the SA has a “complacent” leftist ideology. Mancini said on Sunday that he thinks UGBC is an inefficient and ineffective organization, which is the focus of his campaign. He thinks the lack of interest in the race so far is telling.

“I think the fact that they had to extend the deadline solely because of lack of competition is alarming,” Mancini said. “It’s one thing to extend a deadline in high school, but at a university education level, you’d think that the undergraduate student government would be very competitive … and the fact that they didn’t have candidates that wanted to run is kind of sad.”

Casey Doyle, co-chair of the EC and CSOM ’17, said two weeks ago that the EC had adjusted the election schedule this year to be only 12 days, avoiding last year’s drawn-out process. Despite the extended deadline, this year’s election schedule will be mostly unchanged, Doyle said. With the moved campaign kickoff, the election will now start less than 24 hours after the nomination deadline. The diversity and inclusion town hall debate, initially scheduled for Feb. 8, has been moved to Feb. 7, according to an updated schedule sent out by the EC.

Mancini said that even though the new deadline is close to the start of campaigning, he thinks that there will be enough time to jump into an election.

“It would be nice to have more time, but I don’t think it would be detrimental that we don’t have as much time now,” he said.

Featured Image by Julia Hopkins / Heights Editor

February 2, 2017

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