“We could always just do the interview in the men’s room,” Anthony Perasso, LSOE ’17, said, walking through Stokes, trying to find an empty classroom for an interview, complaining about how just one kid was studying in all of them.
His running mate, Rachel Loos, MCAS ’18, followed close behind, her hair blue, her outfit, like Perasso’s, almost entirely denim, with a bright red turtleneck sweater. They coordinated their outfits when I told them I was bringing a photographer.
Eventually we had to walk outside and into Carney, where we found an empty conference room with a nice aerial picture of BC.
“That’s the old BC, though,” Perasso noted. “Back before we eradicated racism.”
Perasso and Loos are, as they stress, complete outsider candidates for Undergraduate Government of Boston College president and executive vice president. They’re also editors for The New England Classic, BC’s anonymous-ish fake newspaper.
On Feb. 4, The Heights reported on the three pairs—two of which have since dropped out—who had qualified to run in the upcoming UGBC election. Amid comments from other candidates about goals for relations with the administration and students’ civic duty came something a little unexpected.
“We would tell you more, but we don’t even know what exactly we’re doing because we’re still being molded into the politicians our Big Corporate Donors want us to be,” they said in an email.
This isn’t a protest campaign, or a joke, or a publicity stunt, especially now that they’re the only team remaining. Last week, Elizabeth Foley, MCAS ’17, and Joseph McCarthy, CSOM ’17, exited the race, citing personal reasons. Then on Saturday, Feb. 20, Olivia Hussey, current UGBC executive vice president and MCAS ’17, and Meredith McCaffrey, MCAS ’17, also dropped out.
Perasso said he hopes the Elections Committee decides to allow other candidates to enter the race. The UGBC campaign kickoff, initially scheduled for Feb. 21, has been postponed for now. Perasso and Loos are serious about winning, and they want their candidacy to be put to a vote.
“I was an OL, I drank the kool-aid,” Perasso said. “We’re not here to bash anybody.”
But besides following all the election’s rules and deadlines and participating in next week’s debate, Perasso and Loos aren’t going to do anything straightforward, either. Poking fun at the status quo is their platform, and they’re not shy about expressing their disinterest in running UGBC like one would expect a traditional college student government to operate. Like it now operates.
“I don’t know much about [UGBC],” Loos said at one point.
“First and foremost, it’s an acronym,” Perasso offered.
“All the candidates make a lot of promises, but then there’s not much they really can do,” Loos said.
That’s when they got serious. I think.
“We just wanna bring back the funk,” Perasso said. “That seems like a pretty tangible promise, because the winners get paid $4,000 and $2,000, and that’s $6,000.”
Where’s that going to go?
“Something real cool,” Loos said. “We could say that we’re gonna do all these great things—”
“But we’re not,” Perasso finished.
To Perasso and Loos, the only power UGBC’s president and executive vice president have to do anything substantial is in their personal salaries. They have a say in how to use the rest of the budget, some $328,000 for the 2015-16 school year, but they only have absolute control over that $6,000. They would like to tackle fossil fuel divestment and mental health problems, but they’re pessimistic about getting tangible results. Loos pointed to the positions’ relative lack of authority to explain why she and Perasso hesitate to make big promises. Perasso cited the tenure of Thomas Napoli, current UGBC president and MCAS ’16, and Hussey as part of his frustration.
“Funk is like the opposite of cookie-cutter. The funk would be the opposite of what most [UGBC administrations] have done.”
-Anthony Perasso, LSOE ’17
“When they ran they had this whole ‘We’re gonna do this on this day, this on this day, and this on this day,’ and now those days have passed and nothing’s happened,” he said. “It’s good intentions and that’s great, but they weren’t bringing back the funk, really.”
Perasso questions UGBC’s relationship with the administration, saying that it obviously hasn’t been effective. Not that it’s all been bad, though. Perasso said the budget has been used well on speakers like mental health advocate Kevin Breel and the What I Be campaign. But they think students deserve more.
“That’s tuition money just going to UGBC, [students] should get that back in some way, shape, or form,” he said. “It shouldn’t just be a couple things that are cool. … Once again, I think we come back to the aura of the funk.”
At this point Perasso had talked a lot about the funk, so I asked him to define it.
“Funk is like the opposite of cookie-cutter,” he said. “The funk would be the opposite of what most [UGBC administrations] have done.”
Perasso told an employee of BC, a “high-up guy,” about his and Loos’ plan to bring back the funk. The guy laughed and said, “Hah, BC’s the least funky thing on Earth.” Joking aside, Loos said that what she thinks their team brings to BC is a different kind of energy. And maybe what that guy said only served to prove their point.
“When people leave this school, the thing they’re gonna miss the most is the people, so the more things we can do to bring the people together, doing things we wouldn’t normally do, that’s the funk,” Perasso said.
Perasso and Loos don’t plan to physically campaign at dorm hours, so don’t expect to see them in your hallway. They’re more focused on videos they’ve made, which can’t be released until the postponed campaign kickoff. Their online headquarters is on MySpace and features a “Make Carney Great Again” slogan and lots of denim.
The page also has a post from Feb. 16, screen-shotted from an online article, easy to miss amid the weirdness. The post is a quote from Adam Rosenbloom, co-chair of the Elections Committee and MCAS ’17, recounting to The Tab how Joseph Arquillo, LSOE ’17, suggested that he should be added to the ballot because Perasso and Loos’ campaign is satire. Below the quote, they wrote, “who said satire isn’t serious?”
At its core, Perasso and Loos’ campaign is about how they think UGBC takes itself too seriously. They’re excited about potentially changing that culture.
“I’m not scared of anything,” Loos said. Neither is Perasso.
“Win or lose, we change how people think about the whole process,” he said.
He wasn’t joking.
Featured Image by Amelie Trieu / Heights Editor