A Fresh Start: Students Elect President and Vice President

 

 

Laura Westerhold

Last Wednesday and Thursday, 1460 students logged on to the Portal to vote in the Student Government Association (SGA) Presidential and Vice Presidential Election. The winners were Rob Sobelman for President and Jenny Dorland for Vice President. They ran as a team against candidate teams Eileen Kelly and Malik Wright, Dima Tkachev and Bryan Bloom, and Hallie Dietsch and Marisa Bricca.

“I think it was great that we had a four-ticket ballot for such a small school,” said Chris Nulty, one of the Election Commissioners.

The raw scores were as follows: 38 percent for Sobelman and Dorland, 27 percent for Kelly and Wright, 21 percent for Tkachev and Bloom and 14 percent for Dietsch and Bricca.

All teams received deduction from their finals scores for placing posters on glass in the dorms. Kelly and Wright also received deductions for going over the limit for their candidate statement, misplacing COOP sheets, submitting their financial statement late and for “voter intimidation.” Tkachev and Bloom also received additional deductions for submitting their candidate statement late.

After these deductions, the final scores were as follows: 37.5 percent for Sobelman and Dorland, 22.5 percent for Kelly and Wright, 20 percent for Tkachev and Bloom and 13.75 percent for Dietsch and Bricca.

“Voter intimidation” was added to the election by-laws last year. It is defined as any act that might intimidate a voter into choosing a particular candidate. This occurred last year when a candidate encouraged voters to vote in that candidate’s favor by showing them how to vote and standing nearby. Because it was not addressed in the by-laws, there was no deduction made last year.

Nulty feels that there was a good turnout of voters, and that the presidential debate also went very well. According to the new constitution, a candidate must win by at least five percent. “It’s good to see one candidate distinctly win,” he said. He noted that it will be helpful for Sobelman and Dorland to carry out their initiatives next year.

Sobelman and Dorland have been quite involved on campus since they first arrived. Sobelman has been a member of Senate since his first semester as a first-year. He began as Gate House dorm senator. His sophomore year, he functioned as the Liason to Student Groups. He was deeply involved in the Debate Team, through which he traveled a great deal. Although he will be scaling back his involvement in Debate, he will continue his involvement in the Link program as a member of the staff. He is a COVE intern, which he will conclude as of next semester.

Dorland became involved in the Senate at the start of her sophomore year and remains a Senator-At-Large today. She is currently the Vice President of the Junior Class Council. She is also a member of Gamma Phi Beta, club squash and club volleyball.

Many candidates addressed widely-discussed problems on campus throughout the campaign, including the unreliable Cruiser schedule, funds for Spring Party Weekend and Welcome Back Week and wait time at the gym, among other issues.

Sobelman and Dorland have begun tackling some of these issues already by means of the Student Senate, as they are both currently serving as Senators-At-Large. They have begun work trying to include Monday nights into the Cruiser schedule and increasing email in-box capacity.

They are also beginning work on some bigger issues for next year in the hopes of getting those ideas in motion.

Sobelman calls this a “new era of student government.” He and Dorland hope to make SGA more appealing to the student body by means of the new SGA Constitution, of which Sobelman as co-author.

Additionally, they hope to create a new source of revenue for the Budget Allocations Committee by looking at a profit-sharing program for the University’s various expenditures. They are investigating the feasibility of creating a satellite gym in the basement of either Curtis or Lathrop Hall with existing funds and hiring a financial consultant to reevaluate the meal plan to see if it is properly priced.