Students pick 'The Pirate'

An odd campaign at NCSU promotes the 'Captain.'

Staff WriterApril 14, 2005 

To the delight of some and the horror of others, The Pirate Captain was elected N.C. State University student body president Wednesday in a landslide.

With 58.7 percent of the vote, The Captain, whose given name is Will Piavis, easily defeated Will Quick, president of the Student Senate, in a two-day runoff election. Nearly 26 percent of the student body voted in the runoff, just under the 27 percent that turned out in last week's election.

In a victory speech after the results were announced, The Pirate, a junior, seemed to offer an olive branch to those students who may not have supported his odd campaign, which garnered media attention far beyond the school's campus.

"We're going to get everyone involved in student government," he pledged in a speech that was relatively light on pirate-speak.

As for whether he would retain The Pirate persona as president, he said it has been a valuable tool in getting people's attention and he will continue to use it to accomplish his goals.

Few dispute that The Pirate rejuvenated interest in campus politics. A circuslike atmosphere surrounded the Wednesday announcement, with pirate supporters chanting their candidate's name while wearing pirate hats from the fast-food restaurant Long John Silver's. Quick supporters looked on in disbelief.

The Pirate's supporters point to high voter turnout as evidence that he will be good for the school.

"He's gotten students involved and as long as he can continue to do that, I think he'll be a good president," said fifth-year senior Scott Stephenson.

Others were disturbed by what they saw as a lack of substance in The Pirate's campaign.

"He doesn't really have any issues," said senior Alissa Tompkins, who voted for Quick. "All his quotes in the paper were in pirate language that doesn't make any sense."

Senior Curtis Hill said it was a sad day for NCSU. Hill, a political science major, said the election was a part of a trend in politics to value name recognition and appearance over substance.

But Hill also said the election results should be a wake-up call to NCSU student government.

"This is a message to the former student leaders that they didn't do their job," he said. "They were not an advocate for the students."

Staff writer David Bracken can be reached at 829-4548 or dbracken@newsobserver.com.

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