Election 2015: David Marsh, The High School Senior

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CHARLOTTE, NC—Pulling into his senior parking spot, David Marsh knew that today could change his life. Posters and tape crowded his backseat. “Believe In South Mecklenberg High School” was his campaign’s motto, but David knew that he would really be asking voters for something more simple: Believe in me.

He grabbed the posters and his Jansport backpack, filled to its brim with copies of the campaign platform he had written last night with his friend Trey and the help of his parents.

He remembered Trey’s idea to focus on the fixing the Dance program and to give minority clubs their own spots on campus.

“Dude, dude, I just Googled some stuff and it came up,” Trey had told him. What a genius, Marsh thought. That would totally get all the weird, emo kids who don’t like to wear normal people clothes on his side.

Trey met him at the door of the school.

“Ready to kill it today Marshmallow?” he greeted him.

“You know it!” Marsh said, before whispering in a slightly lower voice, “Don’t call me that anymore man, people don’t want a President they can’t take seriously.”

The rest of their crew met them in the hall as they were coming in. Marsh distributed his platform among them.

“Bro, this looks legit as fuck,” Matt exhaled to the group. “How’d you do this?”

Marsh kind of blushed and looked away. He was glad he had spent the extra time last night with the header on Microsoft Word. He collected himself and spoke to the group.

“Focus y’all, we’ve got a lot of work ahead of us. Later today I’m going to give my speech over the school TV, I need everyone to get people hyped up for that—make sure they know what’s going on. I know some other people are giving speeches, like that random baseball player guy and the really Republican girl in debate club, but I think we’ve got it be-,” Marsh said before being cut off.

“Dude of course we got it, we’re the fucking crew,” Matt interjected.

They all laughed, Marsh was happy to have his close group of friends. It was almost like a fraternity. In the end, Marsh knew that he had the most respected and coolest guys on campus behind his back.

The first period bell rang.

“Oh fuck, Ms. Terrance is going to kill me, I got to run. Everyone pass out some platforms and spread the word,” Marsh called before darting down the locker-lined hall.

The rest of the day was a blur of shaking hands and compliments. People were excited. They noticed that he was taking himself seriously, tucking in his shirt and making sure to stop and have conversations with the “important” teachers.

He could not help thinking about his big brother, his inspiration. He hoped he’d be proud of him.

Before the big speech he stopped by Mr. Candler’s room to make sure that the college letter of recommendation he had asked for last week was still all good.

“David, come in, good to see you,” Mr. Chandler greeted him. “I see you’ve started off the campaign. I don’t teach AP Government for nothing: What are the big ideas?”

Marsh grinned and sat down across from him. It felt good to be respected by an adult.

“Lots of stuff Mr. Chandler. We are going to try to help minority students through a mentorship program and, like, just generally increase transparency and make things run better, you know?” Marsh said.

“Hmm, go on,” Chandler paused, as he often did in class when he thought there was still something to be said. Marsh felt stumped again, a total flashback to junior year.

“Just tons of stuff Mr. Chandler, like, it’s not all so easy to say. I think people just generally know that I’m a good guy—people like me and stuff—and I’ll bring, like, my charisma to it. And you know, with that attitude we can deal with stuff like sexual assault and the Board of Governors, because, I’ve been told I’m a pretty good leader. And I believe in this school, you know?”

Mr. Chandler leaned back in his chair.

“Sounds good,” he said, almost daydreaming.

He perked himself back up.

“I’m assuming you’re here about your letter of recommendation,” he continued. “Don’t worry, it’s on its way to UNC-Chapel Hill as we speak. I’m sure you’ll learn a lot there.”

They exchanged goodbyes and Marsh strode off to the Principal’s office to give his speech.

Still at his desk, Mr. Chandler leaned over and put his face in his hands. He sighed. Marsh’s words soon boomed through the TV speakers.

“Just remember, when they go to college, the bullshitters get shut down,” he muttered. “You just have to get them there Jim, you just have to get them to college.”

Election 2015: Houston Summers, The Golden Boy

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CHAPEL HILL, NC—It’s a cold night. You pad softly to your bedroom, pausing in the doorway to take off your slippers. Houston is on his laptop in bed. You’ve gotten used to this by now, but you convinced yourself that he’d be waiting for you tonight, smiling, asking you to crawl into bed so he could kiss your neck like he used to.

Maybe you should close the laptop and kiss him. Jen told you to initiate things. Just do it. You think about your honeymoon in St. Augustine, about Houston’s bare, sun-kissed chest after a day at the beach. It was beautiful then, it was different.

“This diversity incubator is giving me a lot of trouble,” Houston says to himself, or maybe to you, pulling you out of your daydream. “Nothing about it makes sense. I mean literally nothing.”

Of course it doesn’t Houston. It’s well-intentioned buzzwords without real thought. The same as your idea that the male minority retention rate can be fixed by using models from athletics. The same as your idea that you can poll students and bring the results to the Board of Governors. The same as all of it, Houston. Talking without saying anything.

When is the last time you two actually talked?

It would be hard to listen to him now. You hate his voice. How reassuring and honest it sounds, like he’s trying to win over some potential voter. Like you’re just another woman with a baby he has to kiss. When did things get this way?

A year ago, you were sitting at one of Houston’s baseball games, watching him pitch. It was the Arizona Diamondback Prospects vs. The Stillman Elementary School T-11 Titans. A big one. You were in love.

At the top of the 7th inning, you saw a message pop up on the jumbotron. “Baby, you’re my grand slam. Will you marry me? Love, Houston.” Your heart stopped, and suddenly you were in his arms, crying.

Yes, you said. One million times, yes.

Now, sitting on the edge of your shared bed, you wish Houston would call you an asshole. You wish, for one second, he’d lose his temper and tell you off. Then you’d have a reason to be mad at him, to really hate him, to feel something. Anything.

You know every other woman at Carolina would be happy to be married to Houston. His smile, his hair, his laugh. Houston Summers: The Golden Boy. So why don’t you love him? Why can’t you be happy with ‘good enough,’ with ‘the best Carolina could do with a shit junior class’? Why can’t you love Houston Summers?

Because you’re a real voter. Because you’re more than the sounding board for Houston’s ideas to make vanilla ice cream and high-fives the pillars of UNC innovation. Because you’re more than the girl who writes emails to the Morehead-Cain listserv, as Houston dictates to you his need for good-looking, confused full-merit scholars anxious to do “something that will get your name out on campus.”

Not you. No, not you.

You get into bed and turn off the light beside you, trying hard not to cry. You feel a bit better with the blanket pulled up.

“Love you babe,” Houston says to you. He leans over his laptop and kisses your hairline.

“I love you too, Houston,” you hear yourself say, knowing deep down you’ll have to keep pretending for another year. “I love you, too.”

Election 2015: Winners and Losers at the Young Democrats Forum

by Bobbi Wood and Carly Burns | The Minor

Bingham 103 was the battleground for the first debate in an election affectionately being called “White Noise 2015.” Houston Summers, the campaign’s clear front-runner, battled an insurgent David Marsh, who came prepared with bullet points he made after reading this morning’s The Daily Tar Heel in 5th period, where Ms. Hightower does not really care what people do. Walker continued her policies of vague rhetoric already established in her platform. Summers also combated tough questions like “Dad?” from one freshmen in the back who seemed to resemble him. “I don’t have to respond to that,” the 27 year old Summers said. “Get him out of here…whoever he is.” Here’s who won and who lost.

Winners

The Candidate from the Campus Left

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Not endorsing any of the candidates who exist, the Young Democrats made a strong statement in support of this imaginary candidate.

Tyler Jacon

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Jacon, born in the latter half of the 18th century, brought his firsthand knowledge of federalist politics to the debate and issues on campus. Echoing the sentiments of his contemporary George Washington, he castigated the Young Democrats for indulging in “the continual mischiefs of the spirit of political factions.”

Art Pope

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Pope excelled, saying the other candidate’s clear lack of knowledge regarding state politics would “make [him] a winner for a very long time.”

Houston Summers

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With everyone busy being One Carolina at the Dean Dome and almost no students at the debate, Summers’ vision for the university was already a reality.

Losers

2,500 Year Old Body Preserved in an Irish Bog

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Trapped at the bottom of a deep Irish bog, the body, who many affectionately call Old Croghan Man, has been as effective as almost anyone in the North Carolina Democratic party in the last few years, and was in desperate need of an endorsement to shore up his base.

David Marsh

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Distracted by getting to second base last night with Elizabeth at Bethany’s party at her parents’ lake house, Marsh spent most of the debate looking at his phone and contemplating the meanings of different emojis. Clad in pleats his Aunt bought him for Christmas, he stumbled on a question about the Board of Governors by starting, “It’s not like we’re dating dating, we are… wait, what was the question?”

The Baha Men

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Despite a strong debut in the election, The Baha Men have failed to move past their one issue platform, responding to many questions with more questions, specifically, “Who let the dogs out?”

“Who?” The Baha Men repeated emphatically. “Who? Who? Who?”

Kathryn Walker

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Wrangled a good bass, ’bout a 10-pounder, then let it slip outta the damn boat. Not big enough to win no student body president election, but ya gotta ‘reel ’em in.

Researchers in Gnome Science Building Continue Cutting Edge Gnome Science

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CHAPEL HILL, NC—Since its opening in the fall of 2012, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Gnome Science Building has housed many of the nation’s leading experts in every field of gnome science. In an era of limited funding and deep cuts, gnome science has continued to thrive.

“Gnomes are one of the few mysteries science has yet to unravel,” said Terry Marker, a researcher at the Gnome Science Building. “Humans and gnomes have coexisted for millennia, but we know relatively little about our relationship. What can we learn from gnomes about the natural world? Can gnomes be used to meet human needs? These are the questions we’re trying to answer.”

Much of the work at the Gnome Science Building is funded by public-private partnerships between the University of North Carolina and agriculture companies like Monsanto and Cargill, who are interested in using gnomes to increase output.

“We’ve known for a long time that gnomes can make or break a domestic garden,” explained Gayatri Agrawal, an agricultural scientist who works with gnomes, “but we don’t know how or why. If we can figure that out, then maybe we can begin to use gnomes for large scale corporate farming.”

Using gnomes for modern agriculture is easier said than done, Stephen Daniels, a population biologist, cautioned.

“There’s a reason you don’t find gnomes in wheat fields,” he said. “Gnomes live in small warlike bands. A single garden can support one, maybe two, grumbles of gnomes. They lack the social organization to thrive in a single crop environment. Besides, gnomes are prone to mischief. Our breeding programs are designed to produce a more docile, industrious gnome. If we can successfully restructure gnome society, we could raise wheat production per acre by fifteen percent and corn production by as much as twenty.”

“This is the kind of research the university needs to be doing,” said Art Pope, former Budget Director for Governor Pat McCrory and a candidate for student body president. “Research with direct commercial applications, research that will help students get jobs.”

But not all of the research at the Gnome Science Building is aimed at agriculture. Several physicists and geologists are studying gnome locomotion in the hopes of developing new methods of high speed travel.

“Gnomes were originally earth dwelling spirits,” said lead researcher Melanie Brooks, “even today they can move through dirt as fast as humans move through the air. Our current understanding of mechanics can’t really explain their speed, but maybe one day we can build subway trains that work by the same gnomic principles.”

The humanities are even jumping into a field traditionally dominated by science.

“The nomenclature of how we talk about gnomes, that’s what I find interesting,” said Debra Sherdon, a professor of linguistics.

“At the Gnome Science Building we are all able to collaborate across disciplines. We have so many resources to delve deeper into something that we see everyday, that affects every piece of academia and that can change how we all perceive the world: gnomes,” she added.

Other scientists are intent on mastering the most esoteric areas of gnome science.

“Genetically, the gnome is unlike any other creature on earth. All the accepted principles of evolutionary biology fail to explain how the gnome came to be, but if we can fully map the gnome genome, the possibilities are limitless,” said Terry Magnuson, chair of the UNC School of Medicine’s Department of Genetics. “We might even be able to reverse-engineer a fairy.”

The Weigh-In: The Renaming of Saunders Hall

Student activists across campus have rallied to pressure the administration to rename Saunders Hall in honor of Zora Neal Hurston. The building is currently named for William L. Saunders, who was an active member of the Ku Klux Klan. What’s your take?

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“What’s next? Hip-hop in the classroom?”

Professor Donald J. McCullough, Professor Emeritus of History

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“Zora Neal Hurston is an excellent choice for the renaming of Saunders Hall. I enjoyed The Color Purple when I read it in high school.”

Houston Summers, student body president candidate

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“This seems like a slippery slope.”

Saunders Market

No, You Weigh-In!

Election 2015: The Candidates

It’s election season again and The Minor will have all the coverage as it breaks. Our Senior Intrepid Political Reporters,  Carly Burns and Bobbi Wood, are on the pulse of the story, with constant news updates on the politics shaping our campus.

Bobbi Wood and Carly Burns | The Minor

For a race that at one point had most of the junior class considering running, the actual candidates are few and surprising. Houston Summers, a former minor league baseball player and current former minor league baseball player, has a strong campaign staff and is looking to be intentionally walked to victory. However, a triad of Young Republicans and other campus notables stand in his path. Here are the hard facts on this year’s student body president race.

David Marsh

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Strengths: Taking a lot of AP classes, JV Co-Captain of cross country, thinking about asking Elizabeth to senior prom, older brother Jim was friends with all the cool kid’s older siblings (even Elizabeth’s), already had a few conversations with Mr. Thomas who runs student government meetings after 7th period

Weaknesses: Didn’t that kid shit his pants in 5th grade P.E.?

Key Platform Issue: Getting his learner’s permit

Nickname: “Marshmallow,” from before he lost that weight on XC

The Candidate from the Campus Left

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Strengths: An important voice for social change during a time when our state and university risk becoming more conservative than ever before

Weaknesses: Does not exist

Key Platform Issue: Mobilizing students around an effort to battle the Board of Governors’s decisions to fire Tom Ross, defund centers and institutes, and decay the traditions of political advocacy that have made UNC one of the best universities in the country

Nickname: Again, this person does not exist

Kathryn Walker

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Strengths: Political science and public relations double major with a minor in history, experienced in student government, wants to bring campus together

Weaknesses: Some worry she could be too unconventional for a student body president

Key Platform Issue: She would probably lend you a pencil in class if you asked

Nickname: Ché

The Baha Men

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Strengths: Ensuring that, when the party is hot, the party is jumping

Weaknesses: Dog containment

Key Platform Issue: Yippie yi o

Nickname: 2002 Kid’s Choice Award Winner, The Baha Men

Houston Summers

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Strengths: Your mom thinks he’s handsome and it looks like he has a promising future ahead of him. Why don’t you stop looking for something that’s “better” and realize he’s a great guy?

Weaknesses: One month into your marriage you enter your home, tired but numb with the mendacity of being. You see him, sitting at the computer smiling, and in that moment you hate him: for his happiness, for his blandness, his perfect teeth, the way a shirt falls over his chest, the way he holds you, for everything that should be good enough but isn’t. You go to the kitchen and start making dinner. You begin crying, not because he is bad, but because not bad should never be good enough.

Key Platform Issue: “Why do you seem so distant baby? We can figure this out. Why don’t you go back and see Dr. Terrance again? It seems like he was really helping you.”

Nickname: Andrew Powell with even fewer opinions

2,500 Year Old Body Preserved in an Irish Bog

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Strengths: A leather arm band indicates he could have been a king before being sacrificed to the bog, giving him key leadership experience.

Weaknesses: Most likely sacrificed due to poor weather or harvests

Key Platform Issue: Analysis from his stomach content shows that he had a diet rich in protein and grain. He would likely push for the same in campus dining halls.

Nickname: Old Croghan Man

Tyler Jacon

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Strengths: “Attn: Dear Sir, Madam, I have LARGE account with many moneys in it. There were series of contracts executed by a Consortium of Multinational for the ministry in which my father was minister in our country. The original values of these contracts were deliberately over-invoiced to the tune of forty-one Million United States Dollars (US$41,000,000.00). A portion will go to you–several million dollars! I am looking for someone who will help us ( my father and I) to receive the money on our behalf. Can you?

Weaknesses: Just send me your bank account number and we will give to you, then you will give back to us.

Key Platform Issue: Please, you must do this soon! We need you!

Nickname: Truly yours, Prince Tyler Jacon”

Art Pope

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Strengths: Experienced in North Carolina politics, successful businessman, white, bald

Weaknesses: The residents of Whoville, Cindy Lou Who in particular, could still cause his heart to swell three sizes.

Key Platform Issue: Cheap, mass produced degrees at the maximum profit

Nickname: “Lord of the Flies”

Freshman Hip-Hop Artist Going to Go Out On Top

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CHAPEL HILL, NC—This Monday, freshman hip-hop artist Miles Rubenstein, also known as Mealz, announced his plans to retire after the release of his forthcoming album, “Who’s House? Ehringhaus.”

“This game ain’t ever been easy,” Mealz told his roommate in their room earlier this week, pulling on the straps of his draw-string backpack from last year’s Fall Fest. “I mean, shit, I play because I can’t stay away.”

“Damn, hand me a pen. That rhyme was tight,” he added.

According to Mealz’s roommate, freshman biology major Jeremy Merken, Mealz’s decision to step down from his post as “Trap God” came after a late night spent studying for Professor Rita Balaban’s Economics 101 course.

“That night, [Mealz] came back from SASB totally dejected,” said Merken. “He just kept saying that ‘the rapper’s lifestyle’ was doing him dirty and that supply and demand curves couldn’t explain ‘the hustle.’”

When asked to comment whether his withdrawal from Chapel Hill’s hip hop scene is the result of a spat with rival freshman rapper Gram’s Head, Mealz told reporters that such rumors are unfounded.

“I get it, Biggie and ‘Pac get shot up over coasts and now y’all think my beef with Grams is scaring me off,” said Mealz, his mouth full of mac n’ cheese from Noodles & Company. “Fact is, my bars make his look like nursery rhymes. Kid’s straight out of Koury.”

Despite Mealz’s short-lived fame on South Campus, the hip-hop artist plans to continue spontaneously free-style rapping at parties and on the P2P, regardless of the setting’s mood or context. His collaborators, many of whom had never used Garage Band before college, say they’re always ready to “put some honey on another thick beat” for Mealz should he ever write a request on their doors’ erasable white boards.

“This ain’t the end of 3 Square Mealz A Day. You can believe that,” Mealz added, referring to the mixtape he recorded his senior year of high school. “Once Balaban hops off your boy’s back, look out for my EP, Late Night, Great Night. Shit’s gonna be dope.”