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May 2, 2014

Moose Party makes tracks

Moose Party returns this year with a humorous platform, but this time members said they are attempting to make a genuine statement through their campaign style.

Moose Party is a satirical campaign for the Student Government (SG) Executive Slate. Moose Party draws its members from the Delta Upsilon (DU) fraternity.

Highlights of this year’s platform include bringing UIC and UIUC students to campus to liven up weekend parties, basing student house placements on AlcoholEdu results, and expanding Mansueto library to cover the entire campus.

“We honestly sat in a room and tried to think of the dumbest possible things we could possibly say. We try to be a little witty, a little clever, but sometimes a little fratty as well,” said second-year Kent Bischoff, Moose Party candidate for SG President. Bischoff said that the Party this year spent “under five hours” preparing their platform.

Moose Party has lost 20 years in a row, but their vote tallies have fluctuated over the years. Last year, they carried approximately 13 percent of the vote, and 22 percent the year before.

The name “Moose Party” is derived from a fixture in the fraternity. One of the common rooms in DU’s house features an enormous moose head mounted on a wall.

“The moose was given to us a really long time ago by [Paul] Shorey—the guy who Shorey house is named after,” Bennet said. The moose, nicknamed Mortimer, serves as DU’s official mascot. “Naturally, [Moose Party] was named after the mascot of the house.”

Bennett cited a few reasons for the Party running in the past few years. At one point, Bennett said DU used the Party as a way to promote their Friday party, DU’s last open party of the year. The party had been under-attended, so the fraternity decided to rebrand the party “Moose Party” and link it to the political campaign for SG. According to Bennett, the fraternity used the printing budget, 200–300 dollars allocated to each slate for advertising by the University, to print party posters from 2006 to 2012.

This year’s Moose Party returns to its satirical roots, however. The Party this year seems to be more directly critical of SG than it has been in prior years. “In the past, Moose Party was used to promote our fraternity party. This year we definitely tried to make a statement,” he said.

Bischoff said the the Moose Party platform is silly and unachievable, mirroring what they think of SG’s goals currently.

“You can say ridiculous stuff, like, ‘we’re going to cover campus in a bubble and make it heated so we’re not cold in the winter,’ and that’s not going to happen, but with United Progress saying, ‘the trauma center is on our to-do list’—that’s not going to happen either,” he said.

Despite the satirical nature of Moose Party’s campaign, the candidates and DU have received serious criticism.

College Council Chair second-year Mike Viola, said that he would like to rewrite E&R bylaws to allow for the removal of disruptive guests at the events like the SG debate. Currently only disruptive candidates can be removed from events.

“This was prompted by absolutely ridiculous behavior from supporters of Moose Party at the debate this week, which hampered discussion of serious issues facing this campus,” he said in an e-mail.

However, Bennett said that Moose Party positively impacts SG elections overall. “I think that [Moose Party] makes light of some serious issues; however I think it brings some good publicity that wouldn’t exist otherwise.”

Bennett said that Moose Party helps reach a different demographic, one “that maybe wouldn’t care about SG at all…. I think that, at the end of the day, there’d be almost zero focus on SG if there wasn’t a Moose Party,” he said.

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