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The Computer That Ran for School President

In 1975, the Pro-Apathy Party had an IBM 360 at the pinnacle of its ticket. In the spring of 1975, a computer ran for pupil-body president at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

It became the main edge of the technology of personal computer systems. The IBM 360, first released in 1964, became the primary large overhaul of IBM’s computer mainframe since 1952. It had what turned into, at the time, splendid quantities of storage—1024 KB. It was the computer that had helped guys attain the moon. It may want to, in all likelihood, handle scholar authorities.

The Computer That Ran for School President 3

The IBM 360 ran at the top of the ticket of the Pro-Apathy Party, with Rick Horton as its first Vice President and Ray Walden as its second Vice President. The birthday party was formed using a collection of college students who wanted to “make the point that pupil government turned into needless and elitist,” says Walden. (Few college students voted, and the birthday celebration that always won featured candidates from the Greek machine, which voted together.) The Pro-Apathy Party planned to declare victory while—yet again—the most effective 10 percent of the scholar frame became out on the polls.

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“We also advocated for pencil sharpeners in each classroom and some different matters that appeared humorous on time,” says Walden. The management of the Pro-Apathy Party got here from an experimental university application called Centennial, which didn’t have ordinary training. Instead, Centennial mounted faculty as fellows who proposed and authorized projects that scholars within the software ought to tackle. It became a mecca for coeds who desired to stay different and mission authority. (It has given that been shut down.) Centennial College students had formerly shaped a Surrealistic Light People’s Party, which promised to construct a real 60-through-ninety-backyard platform as part of its platform. They even attempted to levitate the campus bell tower.

(There have been many less-than-absolutely-critically pupil political parties in this period in Lincoln, including a “Cut the Crap” party.)The Centennial college students who shaped the Pro-Apathy Party cautiously read the school’s election policies and determined that even as college students needed to post their names for the workplace, specific words could appear at the poll. So while Horton, Walden, and the birthday celebration’s slate of senators all ran under their names, Brian Thompson, the apathetic presidential candidate, did not position his name on the poll. He had the IBM 360 run in his vicinity. The ploy for attention labored. Pro-Apathy campaign posters featured a shot of Horton, Walden, and the IBM 360. (There were also posters providing senatorial candidates slumbering in their chairs, and one with the celebration protecting up spoons, a riff on a famous cereal ad campaign.)

The birthday party took the race seriously sufficient to argue for a slot within the debates, wherein Horton proposed strategies to reform the student authorities. The marketing campaign additionally made the Daily Nebraskan, the pupil newspaper: “Pro-Apathy presidential candidate is a computer,” read the headline. The competition for student body president that year turned fierce. According to the Nebraskan, there were “sufficient independents to form a football crew.” However, when it came time to vote, the Pro-Apathy Party changed into a tested right. Only a fraction of students are troubled—around 10 percent, as ordinary.

The IBM 360 did not win the election, but it did become available third inside the large field, with 278 votes. “So we didn’t get to the factor of having to deal with having a few pathetic guys prevailing the presidency beneath the call of the mainframe,” says Walden. At least they made their point and had top-notch photos to show it.

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