Volpicello ’18 withdraws from UCS vice presidential race

All UCS positions up for election now uncontested, UFB chair, vice-chair only contested races left

Senior Staff Writer
Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Alex Volpicello ’18 withdrew from the Undergraduate Council of Students  vice presidential race Monday night, leaving Naveen Srinivasan ’19 to run uncontested for the position.

The race for every UCS position is now uncontested, including the race for president, which is headed by Chelse-Amoy Steele ’18. The race for the chair of academic affairs has attracted no candidate.

Volpicello announced his decision in a public Facebook post that he reposted on the Facebook page for his campaign. He then canceled the campaign’s event page.

He cited the University administration’s lack of care for important issues, personal reasons and the “symbolic representation” behind Srinivasan’s campaign as the primary causes for his withdrawal from the race.

“I have listened to the voices of the POC community that very clearly want the symbolic representation that is incredibly powerful and meaningful in Naveen’s election,” he wrote.

“I understand the privilege that I hold as another straight, white male,” he continued. “I agree that I should not be the one vying for this position if this means that I cannot embody policies that will benefit students of color.”

However, a comment quickly criticized his mention of symbolism as “somewhat disrespectful” and “inadvertently dismiss(ing) Naveen’s qualifications.” After receiving the criticism, Volpicello edited his original statement and added a sentence clarifying his support for Srinivasan’s qualifications. In addition to reiterating the value of representation, he added his hope that Srinivasan’s experience with UCS will “translate to concrete policies that will benefit students of color.”

Volpicello claimed the administration’s lack of care for significant issues also prompted him to withdraw. “I do not think that the institution cares enough about a lot of the issues that I find important,” he wrote.

According to Volpicello’s platform, mental health and sexual assault prevention are his top priorities and topics he has worked on through a number of student organizations.

His withdrawal post also gave examples of candidates’ policies that he has “serious concerns over.”

For example, he implicitly criticized Srinivasan’s support of Callisto — an app that is meant to help prevent sexual assault — instead of focusing on staffing the Title IX office.

“I think it is really dangerous to initially focus on spending tens of thousands of dollars on an application for survivors without first truly assuring that the Title IX Office that will monitor the application is adequately structured,” he wrote.

At the end of his post, he mentioned his uncertainty for the future of issues that he has worked. “I simply do not know what the futures of mental health, LGBTQIA+, international, religious or even academic issues are at Brown,” he wrote. “And that is scary.”

Though all UCS positions are now uncontested, the positions for UFB chair and vice chair remain under contention. Voting will begin March 21 and end March 23. The winners will be announced Thursday on the steps of the Stephen Robert ’62 Campus Center.