Pirate seizes wolfpack fancy

'Captain' chases NCSU student presidency

Staff WriterApril 8, 2005 

Listen good mate, 'cuz we're only gonna tell you this once. Pirates are threatening to take over N.C. State University.

No, not those Pirates from that other university in Greenville. This is serious. We're talking about The Pirate Captain, who finished first in this week's election for NCSU's student body president.

The Captain nearly vanquished an entire slate of candidates, taking 44 percent of the student vote. But arrgh -- one needs 51 percent to avoid a runoff.

His lone opponent now is Will Quick, president of the Student Senate. Quick is clearly the traditional candidate here. His resume includes not a single voyage on the seven seas.

The Captain's given name is Will Piavis, but you won't find that on the ballot, his Web site or any campaign material. Student government rules don't require that.

Besides, The Pirate Captain seems a better fit for someone who commands a Scurvy Crew fond of wearing bandannas, open shirts and dangling scabbards.

Piavis, a junior, even came to the candidates' debate with a green parrot on his shoulder, according to the campus newspaper.

His campaign has created such a buzz on the state's largest campus that voter turnout -- while only 27 percent -- far exceeded any past election. And if the Captain wins next week's runoff, he said, he plans to take office, retain his moniker and show up for student government meetings as the pirate he is -- although he'll dress a tad better.

"I might be gettin' a few extra buttons for me shirt," he said in an interview.

He is less sure how he'll handle the numerous formal meetings and events that student body presidents usually attend.

"I need to be rethinking that one a bit. But I'll be keepin' me name. That be who the students voted for."

Most of the landlubbers on campus are enjoying the show, although they're divided about how far the Captain should push this thing.

"I'd love it if he came all decked out to a board of trustees meeting," senior Sean Hill said.

"I gotta disagree with you," said senior Michael Morgensen. "He needs to draw the line somewhere."

Quick, who has done his best to deal with the Captain's popularity, agrees. But he figures it's all part of politics, and he now has one week to outflank his opponent.

"You can't be The Pirate Captain forever once you get into office," Quick said. "You need people to take you seriously. But I've got to hand it to him, he's done a great job of getting people's attention right now.

"We're thinking we might need to get Peter Pan to come in and help us."

Staff writer Tim Simmons can be reached at 829-4535 or tsimmons@newsobserver.com.

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