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Saturday, December 03, 2005

Haddock/Riley (Question 3)

Below is the new Haddock/Riley ticket's response to Question 3, revised so the ending would not be cut-off:

The message that I took away from the Lamont party was that students really care about library hours. Thousands came to a party celebrating the opening of the 24/5 Lamont, and outside, protesters demanded longer hours for the Quad Library. Although I didn't manage to snag a burrito, I came away from the event pleased that the students' appetite for library hours had finally been satisfied.

Plus, the library party was the exact opposite of the UC's usual experience with planning social events. The event was graciously funded and hosted by Harvard College Libraries. Not a dime of the students' money was spent, and we had tremendous interest and attendance. Compare this with the CLC's Havana on the Harbor, in which $2,350 of our money was wasted on an event attended by 50 people. (more in expanded post)

The event also re-affirmed my commitment to expanding late-night food options for students, given the obvious demand. I sat on the Committee on House Life when the UC's dining hall proposal was presented last year, and I will continue to use my administration connections and experience to fight for longer dining hall hours. The library event proved that students are still awake and hungry at midnight, and that's when Felipe's closes on weekdays. Lamont was their only opportunity to get Mexican food at any price. As President and VP, Annie and I will lead the campaign to keep Felipe's open later. Just as I made the administration understand student schedules when we got 24/5 Lamont, I will take the same case to the city of Cambridge, in close coordination with the UC's city liaison, Jeffrey Kwong.

Also, the facebook group you mention is quite clearly facetious: there was no Red Cross involvement, for example. The situation wasn't a "riot," and I would dispute that it was a huge failure. Some students, such as myself, did not end up with a burrito. Still, many got something to eat, and the students were treated to remarks by Matt Glazer and the antics of QUA(l)D. By 1:30 am, the crowds had dissipated and, after decades of waiting, students were studying quietly in the library late into the night.

Most importantly, no money was lost on the event. In the past year, $50,000 of student funds has been wasted on failed social events, like the Springfest Afterparty and aborted Fallfest.

I acknowledge that the library event didn't proceed entirely as planned. However, I have never claimed to be best-suited to planning social events for students. In fact, I think the UC and its members should be out of the social programming business entirely.

The CLC and its leadership have consistently wasted students' money and proven insulated from true student desires. That's why I think that we should encourage social life and community where it already exists: in student groups and Houses. Annie and I are committed to reshaping the role of the UC by focusing on advocacy and distributing money to student groups, the party fund, and HoCos. The UC should not be trying to create its own social life, because that's a doomed endeavor. We recognize the need for occasional campus-wide events, which should be coordinated between UHall and students who are not part of the UC. The UC has planned one failed event after another, which has depleted confidence in the in the UC as well as student funds.

I helped lead the UC's efforts for 24-hour libraries, and I'll fight to keep Felipe's open longer. But Annie and I firmly believe that the UC should stop wasting students' money and get out of the social programming business.

Please feel free to comment, question, discuss etc. Please limit your posts to 200 words each, though, and remember CC's policy on anonymous comments related to the UC campaigns.

7 Comments:

At 8:49 PM, Blogger Ben said...

John, thanks for your post. I have great respect for the fact that you don't try to dodge responsibility or pretend that the event was perfect, and in fact you learned a valuable lesson from it (namely, that the UC should not be involved in planning social events).

Haddock was actually the one managing the publicity for the Lamont party, so he could have taken credit in this post for the large turnout and used it to gloss over the problems. He didn't.

Compare this to the reaction of someone who organized the dysfunctional Harvard-Yale Shuttles:

“The shortage of shuttles is an indirect effect of how well we hyped up Harvard-Yale this year,” said CLC Chair John F. Voith ’07. “We sold more tickets than ever this year and I attribute that to all the spirit around campus.”

Who was that other candidate who never owned up to a mistake? George W. Bush?

 
At 2:35 AM, Blogger Jersey Slugger said...

I'm not even going to engage your post because you didn't answer my question in the least. Your response was a 600-word "we're not as bad as the CLC" and "we don't misuse student money" spiel. Actually...nevermind...I'll engage your post anyway:

Some students are "hungry" for library hours, yes, but that's not why they came to Lamont. Don't confuse the fact that 1500 students came to Lamont at that time as being attributable (yes, I made up this word) to them being happy about the new library hours. Those 1500 people came for one thing and one thing alone: free food. The fact that you let non-students (Harvard College Libraries staff) plan this event would only foreshadow the future of the social event planning at Harvard if students were not closely involved. If you WERE closely involved in the planning in collaboration with the HCL, then you did not gauge student interest well at all. Or is it that you just didn't relay the extent to which student LOVE Felipes and Finale food and FREE stuff (let alone their combination)? Either way you cut it, you did not do a good job as a student leader of this event in representing student interest to a body of the Harvard administration.

Like Magnus' "White Men's Association" with the Black Students Assocation or Black Men's Forum, the parallel between the Lamont event and Hurricane Katrina is a pretty touchy subject. Many people died in the hurricane or had everything they knew and loved--including their town or city--destroyed. I understand comedy is comedy, but making a mockery of people trudging through water to get the basic necessities of life that they needed after having a highly traumatic experience is not cute. Harvard students didn't get free food. Boo hoo. Most can afford to buy those things themselves on a regular basis. This was not the case with many of those stuck in the Mississippi Delta for Katrina (especially due to obscenely high prices on merchandise in the midst of the extremely high demand).

Yeah no UC money was lost, but no UC money was SPENT to ensure that there was enough food for even a quarter of the student body (1500 students is less than a quarter of Harvard's undergraduate population), despite the fact that the entire student body (~6650 students) were encouraged to attend. What if everyone actually had? Then it would have been a riot. Heads would have rolled...

 
At 3:05 AM, Blogger Ben said...

Chip,

In John's defense, I think this question was poorly conceived compared to your other two, and stems from the fact that John is not actually the member of any objectionable organization. You didn't make clear where your objections lay with the facebook group, as you did with the other candidates'. John's answer matches your question; maybe you were thinking of a different question but didn't write it.

After an extended introduction, your question is the following:

"In light of the fact that you were the event organizer, what do you see your ticket doing to uniquely reform social event planning at Harvard College through the UC to avoid your mistakes of the past?"

First of all, you know that John has already formulated his position on social programming. Do you expect him to come up with a new corollary specifically in reaction to the Lamont event?

John's answer on how the UC can avoid his mistakes again is straightforward:
1. Keep UC members far away from social events planning
2. Get Felipe's and the dining hall open later so that students don't have to go to the library for late-night food

I'll address your other points in a few minutes.

 
At 3:15 AM, Blogger Jersey Slugger said...

Thank you, Ben, for being the Haddock/Riley ticket's spokesperson. Future questions for them will be directed at you, even in their physical presence.

JK...sort of...anyway, if the ticket already had an answer to the question, then they should have posted it.

John IS the member of an objectionable organization--the Facebook group in question. Refer to my comment above on why it's objectionable.

 
At 3:35 AM, Blogger Ben said...

Chip,

We understand your objections to the group now, but you didn't mention them at all in your question. In all fairness, how could you have expected John to know to respond in this manner? We didn't even know that the overall framework of the questions was "facebook groups."

I will write up a response to your comment tonight if I don't fall asleep first. But please note that this is an additional question for the Haddock/Riley team, and you can't reasonably expect John to come by personally and answer more questions than he signed up for. To paraphrase Richie Banerji: "That's TWO QUESTIONS, Chip!"

Also, I am not a campaign spokesman. I am involved with the campaign, but only statements posted by John, Annie, or Josh should be considered official positions of the campaign. As I'm close to them, though, I can provide what would probably be John's response. That's certainly the best you'll get at 3:30 on a Saturday night, at least!

 
At 3:59 AM, Blogger Jersey Slugger said...

Reading the title of the post ("Question 3: What's in a Facebook Group?") could have let you know that was the overall framework. You're right in that I didn't include my Katrina-related criticism of the Facebook group directly in my question. New edit of the question. My bad.

Did you pause between comments to call Haddock or Riley to ask them what to say? That's wild. I guess staffing does matter (shout out to Golis).

Additional questions come up in the course of debate. One inevitably leads to another and as a blog ripe with debates this should be expected on Cambridge Common. I'm assuming the extra question you're referring to is the one about relaying student interest to Harvard's administration and not the one posing the rhetorical question about what if all the undergrads came. Either way, neither of those questions have been addressed.

Finally, don't call me "Chip". You don't know me personally and if you really did you'd know I prefer Chimaobi. Richie can't call me "Chip" either for this reason. I'm Jersey Slugger on the blog. Thanks.

(And to all a good night...)

 
At 4:17 AM, Blogger Ben said...

Hold on a second Chimaobi.

While your post at Cambridge Common includes the facebook context in the title, I'm told by Josh that the question email from Golis was simply entitled "question 3."

Your contention is that John didn't answer your question "at all." I then followed by re-posting your actual question, and re-iterating John's responses to your question.

If John didn't answer your question as submitted to him, GIVE SOME PROOF.

By additional question, I meant the part about New Orleans. Correct me if I'm wrong of course, but that seems to be your primary objection to John's facebook group. Your overall theme is objections to facebook group, which was not revealed in advance to the Haddock/Riley campaign. In the other questions, you revealed directly to the candidates why their facebook group membership was offensive to you. For us, you did no such thing.

I'm simply objecting to your revisionist attitude. Of course, your additional questions will be treated like any other additional questions: John and/or Josh will come by and respond if they have a chance, and/or I'll give my thoughts. But you can't act as if John didn't answer your original question, because he did.

I'm sorry, I will not have time to respond further tonight; my eyes are closing.

I didn't talk to John or Annie about my response just now, because hopefully they're asleep, as I should be! When my opinion is explicitly informed by one of them, I'll be sure to let you know.

What I will do is get Josh or John over here when they get a chance, and you might even get the privilege of hearing my own personal thoughts too!

 

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