News analysis: Part of the clique?

By and

Candidates running in student government elections often try to sell themselves as ASUU outsiders — average Joes who have the masses’ interests at heart.

The Activate and More 4 U parties, two contenders in this year’s elections, are following suit.

The Activate Party has adopted the slogan “a new kind of leadership” and has promised to reach out beyond the “clique” in the Associated Students of the University of Utah.

More 4 U Party members have likewise said they are not a group of “cookie-cutter candidates” and market the fact that their presidential candidates have the least amount of experience in ASUU as a good thing.

But this portrayal as ASUU outsiders may not be in keeping with the rsums of the two parties’ leaders.

Looking at the rsums of Activate presidential candidate Cameron Beech and More 4 U presidential candidate Joe Coccimiglio, one can see both candidates have experience in ASUU and other social groups that the “average student” may not have.

Beech served as executive assistant for current Student Body President Jake Kirkham and is a former member of the Kappa Sigma fraternity.

“I haven’t marketed myself that way; it’s more marketing my entire party as outsiders to ASUU,” Beech said.

His Activate Party running mates for vice president and senior class president also have ties to Greek Row, but Beech said that while his party’s presidential candidates do not fit the mold of ASUU outsiders, most of their other party members are unaffiliated.

Coccimiglio has served as a representative in the ASUU General Assembly and ran a failed Assembly campaign the year before. He is also a member of the LDS Institute of Religion.

While the institute and Greek Row are large groups on campus, the majority of students don’t subscribe to either. The institute has just more than 7,000 members and Greek Row has several hundred.

Coccimiglio said he calls himself a different kind of candidate because his involvement has been with the legislative branch of ASUU while the other candidates have worked in the executive branch.

“They’ve been taught the ASUU way — I have been taught differently,” he said.

Coccimiglio said he thinks not working in ASUU’s executive branch will allow him to take a fresh approach toward issues. His vice-presidential running mate Craig Hammond has worked in the executive branch for the Finance Board.

Other candidates, such as Forward Party presidential candidate Rick Pehrson, see their years of experience in ASUU as an advantage because they know what has worked in the past.

“I’ve seen a lot of failures, that’s my motivation to run,” Pehrson said.