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USAC results stir up Kerckhoff clusters

By Daniel Miller

May 8, 2005 9:00 p.m.

Knowing very little about the Undergraduate Students Association
Council, I decided that in order to learn quickly I should attend
the ritualistic USAC election results gathering held in front of
Kerckhoff Hall, which was last Thursday night.

I say ritualistic because upon arrival I was greeted by two
large throbbing groups of people. In the center of one group stood
a bagpipe player, blasting horrid noise. In the center of the other
group people banged on gongs and improvised drumming devices.

Apparently this happens every year when it comes time to
announce the results of the USAC elections. But those results will
not be addressed here. (But I do encourage you to vote in this
week’s run-off elections.) Instead, I would like to discuss
what I consider to be the most important parts of that fateful
night: which slate had the best T-shirts, gorditas and

I had to ask around, but it didn’t take long for some
politicos to tell me that one of the groups was Bruins United
(interestingly standing on the left, with the bagpipe) and Student
Power! (interestingly standing on the right, with the gongs). My
first concern was food. The closure of the campus Taco Bell has
become a campaign issue, so I decided to ask supporters of Bruins
United and Student Power! about that shuttered former eatery.

I was able to secure an interview with Bruins United supporter
David Bardo, a first-year business and economics student, and of
course I asked him about his favorite menu items at Taco Bell.

“Before I kept kosher, it was all about the quesadillas,
baby,” Bardo said.

Bardo and his associates tried to explain the political issues
surrounding the close of the eatery, but I was concerned with
fiesta gorditas not filibusters. You may scoff at my insistence on
polling these political activists about their culinary choices, but
don’t USAC elections basically determine who decides what
type of cookies are sold at campus bake sales?

Just when I thought my culinary queries were complete I ran into
1992-1993 USAC president Mark Pulido, who was a founder of the
slate that is now called Student Power! (that is not my exclamation
point, that is the slate’s). What follows is a brief excerpt
from my interview with Pulido, who dined on buffalo wings during
our exchange.

DM: Does the Student Power! slate still embody the same ideals
on which you founded it?

MP: The 2005 slate is continuing the progressive tradition of
fighting for representation on campus. This progressive student
movement has been going on since the ’60s and ’70s.

DM: Where are those buffalo wings from?

MP: Acapulco’s.

I had been eyeing Pulido’s wings. They looked

Next my attention turned to the different political T-shirts on
display. Some students wore vintage campaign shirts, but I was most
interested in gauging student reaction to the new shirts worn this
year by Bruins United supporters and backers of Student Power!
(What’s with the exclamation point? I probably should have
asked Pulido that, not you.) It has always been important for me to
be able to identify each year’s campaign shirts so that when
I am able to spot a student wearing one, I can quickly walk in the
opposite direction.

This year the Bruins United slate has created a blue shirt that
features the slogan, “Be True. Vote Blue,” and images
of a taco, a beer mug and a dollar sign. I wondered aloud whether
this meant Bruins United was working on some sort of free-taco,
free-beer, free-money initiative, but I was quickly told this was
not the case.

The Student Power! slate has created a beige shirt that features
a figure raising his fist in triumph. It features the slogan,
“Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop.”

I asked one student if the Student Power! slogan had anything to
do with the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ song, “Can’t
Stop,” and if Flea was underwriting the slate’s
campaign. The student said that he does not listen to the Red Hot
Chili Peppers, and walked away before I could get his name. Other
interviews were more successful.

“I like the Student Power! colors better because I wear
earth tones and not teal,” fifth-year biology and French
student Neda Dowlatshahi said.

Just then, the Bruins United bagpipe player started to rip into
song, and I queried Dowlatshahi about the two slates’ musical

“I like the bagpipe, although its reference is
ambiguous,” she said.

I suspect it is some sort of William Wallace homage, though
I’m no political pundit.

Then, it was time for the election results to be read. As the
victors’ names were called cheers rung out, and others shook
their heads.

I feared a fight, and asked second-year biochemistry student
Alex Maglunog what he thought the prospects were for a brawl.

“I just can’t see why we can’t hold
hands,” Maglunog said sadly. “We are separate.” I
told him to start a slate that fixes this problem.

“Maybe I will start a slate next year,” he said.

I’d vote for you, Alex Maglunog.

E-mail Miller at [email protected].

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