Presidential Race Narrowed to Three Candidates

At midnight last Friday, presidential candidates James Freeman ‘07, Mike Naughton ‘07, and Danny Silk ’07 were probably the three happiest Uppers on campus; they had just been named as the final three candidates in the race for School President. Earlier this month, the initial pool of 22 candidates was reduced to six: Jim Elder ’07, Freeman, Yoni Gruskin ’07, Mike Jiang ’07, Naughton, and Silk. On the days leading up to Friday, candidates focused on their campaigns. They walked around campus to meet new people, share their ideas, and put Airheads, homemade peanut butter cup treats, and other goodies into student mailboxes. On Thursday, WPAA hosted a Presidential Debate between the six students, where the discussed a range of ideas from changing bandwidth policies and more class parties to improving weekend activities and better toasters in commons. Freeman is a one-year Upper from Lincoln, Mass. His ideas to change PA life include later sign-in times on Friday nights, lengthening Commons hours, and more social events during the week. In the Presidential Debate, he said, “[Sometimes I feel] that there’s not a line between weekends and academic work.” He also talked about the rise in student-use of the Internet, and how most would benefit from a higher bandwidth limit. On his status as a one-year Upper, Freeman said, “If I’ve made it this far, [I think I have] just as much chance as the other candidates. In a school like Andover, people put away judgment.” “At other schools, [the position of president] is just a name of a face. [For me] putting ideas out there is the big deal.” Although he described the election process so far as “brutal,” he said “[The other candidates and I] have agreed to relax these last two weeks…It’s been such a stressful process and we’ve all decided to take it easy.” Naughton is a three-year Upper from Andover, Mass., and the Day Student Representative for WQS. On his perspective as a day student, he said “I think it gives me a pretty good advantage. I can approach the presidency wholeheartedly…then take a step back and clear any thoughts. [I’d come back] with a fresh view of the situation. It’s like the best of both worlds.” His foremost point is “to change all grade social events because when I came here as a freshmen…I found it hard to meet everyone in my grade.” He would attempt to create more of a class identity by separating the dining halls by class for a few days each term. His other ideas include adding bandwidth-counters to every student’s computer to alert them when they are near 1 GB, encourage Ryley Room to offer other necessities besides food, and adding computers in GW. “I’m so ecstatic [I’ve made it this far]…it’s one of the best things I’ve done here…being able to talk to everyone. It’s such an experience, I can’t put words on it,” he said. Silk is a three-year upper from Lowell, Mass. Currently a day student, he will board for his Senior year. His position as one of the year’s three theater producers has given him experience in the role of “the mediator between students and faculty.” He said, “It’s a lot more administrative work…and I’ve really enjoyed it. We’ve been able to make a lot of changes to the theatre program.” His ideas include changing the arts requirement, shortening the line for athletic equipment, bringing back the Abbot Scholars program, and tailoring Friday night events to student needs. On making the final three, Silk said, “It feels really good…seeing how everything’s [proceeded], I’m really pleased. I have a lot of experience dealing with people and I can work with people well to get things done.” Those that didn’t make it to the final round are still happy they ran. “I am very proud that I ran and made it as far as I did, it is humbling to see how much support I received from so many students,” Elder said. “It was a life experience…one of those things you could have not done and then never worried about if you were going to make it. [But] I’m glad I put my cards in,” said Gruskin. Jiang said, “I’m disappointed. I guess you have to be…but reflecting back, I gave it my best shot and went for it knowing I wouldn’t have any regrets…it’s definitely been a great experience.” The final day of voting will take place in the Spring Term, after Freeman, Naughton, and Silk give their speeches at the second All-School Meeting.