Last Friday, Jan. 27, Raymond Mancini, CSOM ’19, and Matthew Batsinelas, CSOM ’19, sent in 250 signatures and their intent to run form to the Elections Committee (EC) before the 5 p.m. deadline. The EC responded with an email stating that they would need to extend the deadline for the intent to run form, as theirs was the only team that declared their candidacy for president and executive vice president of the Undergraduate Government of Boston College by the deadline.
Casey Doyle, co-chair of the EC and CSOM ’17, said in an email Sunday that the EC would likely hold another information meeting this week for anyone who is interested in running for the positions.
“They’ll let us know what the time period looks like for how long they’ll extend it, but as of right now, we don’t know,” Batsinelas said.
Batsinelas said he does not agree with the EC’s election code. He compared it to a job application, where if someone does not apply by the deadline, they are not granted the chance to compete against other applicants who did apply on time. He regards allowing those who have not submitted the required material to run as actually making the elections less competitive.
“People within UGBC who have seen extensions these last couple of years are now used to getting their teams later together, and I think they should change that and encourage more teams to run by a certain date rather than making it sort of customary with these extensions,” Batsinelas said.
John Daniell, Mancini and Batsinelas’s campaign manager and MCAS ’17, said that historically, UGBC presidential races have featured an “insider” and an “outsider” ticket, where one team has an established presence in UGBC, and the others do not. He regards the election as a “passing of the torch” between UGBC insiders. Mancini thinks a similar dynamic is likely to emerge this year.
“There are definitely very strong candidates that will be running,” Mancini said. “I think multiple UGBC teams would run. … They all share very similar ideologies and I imagine that they’ve been talking to each other and trying to figure out who’s going to run.”
Mancini, a Student Assembly (SA) member who has been involved with UGBC for a year and a half, has a reputation for voting “no” on SA resolutions focused on social issues and diversity. Batsinelas, Mancini’s roommate, has no previous experience with UGBC, but has learned a lot about the organization from Mancini.
The mission for Mancini’s campaign echoes his voting history and his call for more moderate voices within the SA.
“The overall view is that UGBC is an inefficient and ineffective organization,” he said. “So, our mission is to make sure that UGBC represents all the students, not just a select group of UGBC insiders.”
Mancini worries that the SA is dominated by “leftist” and “radicalized” voices that dictate the direction of UGBC as a whole. According to a previous Heights article, Mancini was among the dissenters for a resolution calling for BC to establish an LGBTQ+ resource center, as well as a resolution calling for a new bias incident reporting procedure. In an email last December for an article on this topic, Daniell, a former member of the SA who left because of similar concerns, expressed agreement with Mancini’s worry that UGBC is becoming dominated by members with the same ideology.
“Right now, UGBC does not promote true diversity on our campus, and as a result fails to advocate for a large population of the student body,” Batsinelas wrote in an email. “Ray and I will make the financial resources more effective to the whole student body.”
“There’ve been similar issues like this in the past—in no way blame the Elections Committee for it, I just think that this is a general lack of interest by the student body in UGBC,” Daniell said.
Mancini and Batsinelas are barred by EC election rules from discussing specific points of their platform until the campaign officially kicks off.
The EC, a third-party organization tasked with ensuring a fair election, follows an elections code that states that if only one team declares its candidacy, the EC “reserves the right to open the field and encourage other candidates to run.” Before last year’s UGBC candidate campaigns, the EC was faced with a similar problem after two teams dropped out of the race. In the 2014 UGBC elections, there was also a similar issue.
During last year’s UGBC elections, three teams had declared their candidacy by the deadline, but due to unforeseen circumstances, two teams decided to drop out of the race. With one team remaining, the EC opened up the intent to run form, resulting in five more teams entering the competition for UGBC president and executive vice president. Ultimately Russell Simons and Meredith McCaffrey, both MCAS ’17, were elected as UGBC president and executive vice president, respectively.
In 2014, the EC extended the application deadline 10 days to avoid an uncontested election after Nanci Fiore-Chettiar and Chris Marchese, both BC ’15, were the only team to meet the deadline. According to a previous Heights article, the two candidates pushed for the EC to extend the deadline for others to apply. Ten days later, two other teams had secured 250 signatures and declared candidacy. Fiore-Chettiar and Marchese won the election and served as UGBC president and executive vice president for the 2014-15 school year.
Featured Image by Lizzy Barrett / Heights Editor