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Transition period begins for Istvan-Bell

Amanda Michaels | Tuesday, February 17, 2004

After a drawn-out election process, Adam Istvan and Karla Bell must now wait six weeks before they can take over as student body president and vice president. However, they made it clear that they plan on taking full advantage of the time to prepare themselves for office.”For the next couple months, we’ll be deciding who we want to have around us,” Istvan said. “The first step is obviously to begin choosing our staff, to surround ourselves with people who can accomplish our goals. We’ve also already started scheduling meetings with administrators to find out where they stand on issues relevant to them. Basically, we need to find out where we are right now so we can best see where we need to go in the next two months and beyond.”Istvan and Bell also plan on meeting with current student body president and vice president Jeremy Lao and Emily Chin to get answers to questions about their respective positions, said Istvan. They are also focusing on making the transition into office as smooth as possible.”Meeting with Jeremy will be the most important thing right now, to find out how the transition between administrations is going to work,” Istvan said. “Transitioning will be placed on our shoulders and our staff’s shoulders – we have to make sure there’s not a step missed in the process.”Though Istvan has not yet been told of any requirements he must fulfill before April 1, he said that he plans on attending as many student government meetings as possible, starting with Wednesday’s Student Senate meeting. He missed Monday’s Council of Representatives meeting.”I think my presence at the Senate meeting would be helpful, since they’ll most likely be talking about problems with the election, and I’ve just gone through it too,” Istvan said. “I think this is an issue that needs to be addressed immediately, because the discrepancies between the value of off-campus votes and those of the smaller dorms were ridiculous and unnecessary.”Throughout the campaign, Istvan placed a high priority on certain points of his platform, including securing a DVD rental for the basement of LaFortune, and he said that he intends to fulfill his promise to accomplish these things.”We’re going to start with the easy stuff. We already have the ball rolling on DVD rental in LaFortune, so we’re going to finish that up and make sure it goes through,” Istvan said. “We’re also going to move forward with starting to talk to whoever we need to talk to to see if we can get the discussion going on SYRs, and with each individual item from our platform.”His current SYR policy reflects his protests over the changing of Notre Dame’s hard alcohol policy – specifically the removal of SYRs from dorms and not directly against the ban of hard alcohol – during which time he gave an “impassioned” speech at a CLC meeting while Father Mark Poorman, vice president of student affairs, was present, Istvan said. Despite concerns that this incident will affect his relationship with Poorman and the administration, Istvan said he does not think it will do any lasting harm.”Karla and I are meeting with Father Poorman next week, so I guess we’ll see where we go from there,” Istvan said. “I’ve heard nothing but wonderful things about [Poorman], and though it’s been said to me that I’m his ‘No. 1 hated student,’ I don’t think that’s true. I would love to have a good working relationship with him if he gives me the opportunity.” He also plans on integrating some of the other candidates’ ideas into his policy plan, such as Craft-Lynch’s proposal to put staplers and hole-punchers in every computer cluster.”A good idea is a good idea – it doesn’t have to be mine. I’m not so arrogant to think that my ideas are the only ones worthwhile,” Istvan said.In regards to placing a student on the Board of Trustees, emphasized by the Ebersol-Leito ticket, Istvan said he has requested Ebersol’s assistance in the matter, but will pursue the matter with or without it.”Obviously Charlie has some connections that can help us with getting a student on the Board of Trustees, and I’ve spoken with him about helping us out,” Istvan said. “It’ll be a lot harder without his help, and we’d really appreciate it, but even if he chooses to follow up on some other interests, I will still look into it,” said Istvan.Istvan also said that they plan on looking into expanding the student section for next year’s basketball season, but how fervently they pursue it will depend on student interest and the performance of the team in March.As Istvan and Bell look ahead to April 1, they also look back at the faults of previous administrations, and the apathy that continues to plague the campus.”There are two ways to judge student apathy. One, they don’t care, or two, they’re not involved. The first step is to make sure they care. Not every student is going to go join student government, because that’s not the way it works, but they need to know that we’re here for them,” Istvan said. “Once I get my staff in place, we’ll open up lines of communications to everyone, and we can move forward with want the student body wants and not my own personal agenda.”