The results of the 2012 Students’ Association elections are officially in. Juniors Roshal Patel and Alina Czekai won the presidential and vice presidential race with a total of 992 votes out of 1,124 cast, including write-in candidates. The polls were open from Monday, April 9 at 10 a.m. until Tuesday, April 10 at 10 p.m. Election results were officially certified by Information Technology on Wednesday afternoon, but will not go into effect until the results are approved by the SA Senate on Monday, April 16.
Of the 15 write-in candidate platforms for the presidential election, freshmen Sidney Royal and Duncan Graham earned the largest number of votes — seven.
The main tenet of Patel and Czekai’s platform was inclusion, specifically encouraging dialogue between students and student groups with different interests and affiliations.
Patel and Czekai also emphasized communication in their campaign, coupled with a greater push for transparency and a desire to make the SA a more accessible group devoid of any impression of elitism.
Like last year, this year’s SA presidential race was uncontested, which Patel and Czekai say was “concerning and a little disappointing.” At the SA’s Presidential Debate, held on Wednesday, April 4, Patel attributed the fact that this year’s election is the second uncontested one in two years to the fact that the role of SA president is often overhyped.
“It may be a reflection of how involved and fast paced the role of SA President and Vice President is,” Patel and Czekai wrote in a communal statement. “We do believe that students did not feel the need to vote since it was uncontested.”
Patel and Czekai believe that in previous contested elections, the voter turnout has been much higher.
“While we would have hoped for a larger student response in the voting, it is completely understandable why there was not,” they said.
Current SA president and senior Bradley Halpern said that it is “hard to say” exactly what is behind the fact that the last two presidential elections have been uncontested.
“I’m not pleased to see another uncontested race,” he said. “Competition is essential to a democracy, which is critical to our governing structure.”
Despite admitting to some anxiety, Patel and Czekai said that the support they have been receiving from peers, administrators and family has “truly been encouraging.”
“We are excited and cannot wait to get started in structuring the student government for next year,” they said. “We have already started to meet plenty of new people and we are excited to continue to do so.”
Halpern also expressed optimism about their chance for success.
“They have expressed to me that they are excited and ready to go,” he said.
Halpern added that the biggest challenge they face, in addition to his belief that the position is “a lifestyle” and “more than a full-time job,” is the fact that everyone expects something different out of the person elected to be president.
“Your ability to cater to those unique interests determines your success,” he said. “That’s hard to do. You’re never going to please everyone.”
The five at-large senators elected were Halpern, juniors Shiv Rambarran and Arturo Spica, sophomore Gregory Corrado and freshmen Vanessa Sanchez. A total of 4,693 votes were cast in this election, with Halpern earning 636, Rambarran 459, Corrado 436, Sanchez 394 and Spica 390.
“I’m very excited and honored to have been elected as a senator at-large,” Spica said. “Many people ran this spring, and did so with great campaigns, so kudos to them.”
Student opinion on campus seems to indicate that Patel and Czekai are already somewhat known figures on campus.
“Roshal and Alina are great candidates,” sophomore Kristen Biedermann, who said she voted in all elections that she was eligible to vote in, said. “I’m not too familiar with Roshal, but I know Alina personally. Based on their previous work with SA, I think they’ll continue to be positive forces in the UR community.”
Sophomore Alice Gao said that she did not vote in the election because she was not that familiar with the candidates and “did not feel like going online to read each of their platforms.”
“I wish the platforms were physically posted somewhere for students to read,” she said.
Gao said that although she does not know Patel and Czekai that well, she thinks that they seem “cool.”
“Sometimes I see a fake vibe from the SA, like there’s an elitist feel to it,” she said. “I would vote if I felt they were not beating around the bush and simply telling it like it is.”
Gao speculated that one possible reason for the fact that this election was uncontested is that many students are unaware of what the SA does unless they are directly involved in it.
“Since [the SA] doesn’t seem that significant in actually making changes, [it becomes] more of a popularity contest and people do not care to run,” she said. “Just because they’re more popular, doesn’t make them the best candidates.”
The results of the other elections, for which the total number of votes cast was 1,599, are as follows:
2015 Senators: Humma Sheikh, Will Burke, Antoinette Esce. 2014 Senators: Henry Macias, Siobhan McLaughlin, David Wang. 2013 Senators: Asad Arastu, Sonja Page, Douglas Kim. Senior Class Council: Asad Arastu, Nick Lewandowski, Ellie Sacks, Douglas Kim, Matt Skurnick, Anish Patel, Eric DeMeo, Konstantin Nadirashvili.Junior Class Council: Henry Macias, Siobhan McLaughlin, James Wu, David Wang, Jonathan LoTempio, Natalie Astor, Eric Chung, Kenny Hanchett. Sophomore Class Council: Mehr Kashyap, Cordero Miguel, Brian Shin, Rachel Suresky, Antoinette Esce, Luis Alonso, Douglas Brady, Christina Smiros.
Additional reporting by Casey Gould, class of 2014.
Buletti is a member of the class of 2013.