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Williams, Vasquez Elected as UA Pres, VP

Eighteen class council officers elected for ’05, ’06,’07; 12 positions went uncontested.

By Kathy Lin

NEWS EDITOR

Harel M. Williams ’05 and Phillip A. Vasquez ’05 will be the next president and vice president of the Undergraduate Association.

The Williams/Vasquez ticket beat their only official competitors, David B. Smith ’05 and Noelle J. Kanaga ’06 by 589 votes, or 37.8 percent of the votes for the positions.

Williams and Vasquez said they attribute their win to “a strong effort to make personal contact, the clarity of our vision and platform, and the strength of our supporters,” Williams said.

Twelve of the 19 positions in Class Council and the UA that were open for election had only one registered candidate. No uncontested candidates were beaten by write-in candidates.

In the contested class elections, Rohit Gupta won for Class of 2005 president, John R. Velasco ’05 won for Class of 2005 vice president, Alexis R. Desieno ’05 won for Class of 2005 secretary, Karen E. Hunter ’06 and Jill L. Konowich ’06 won for Class of 2006 social chairs, Melvin C. Makhni ’07 won for Class of 2007 vice president, and Sharmeen Browarek ’07 and Joy Liang ’07 won for Class of 2007 social chairs.

The newly elected candidates will begin their terms when they are installed at the last UA Senate meeting of the term on May 3, said Rose A. Grabowski ’05, vice chair of the UA Senate.

Opponents, leaders offer advice

Williams and Vasquez “should definitely address the growing strength of dorm governments and the IFC,” Smith said. “Both are establishing themselves as strong student-oriented groups, and the UA needs to facilitate their direct representation of students.”

During the Independent Activities Period, “we built relationships that weren’t there in the first half of the year,” said current UA vice president Jacob W. Faber said, referring to other student governments, and there are “more relationships to build.”

Williams said this was on their agenda, and that they are starting to form “personal contacts with student leaders and the administration,” he said.

Another current priority is “outlining the guidelines about accountability for student representatives, so that when we do take office, it’ll be pretty clear what our roles are and what everyone else’s roles are,” Williams said.

Communication needs to improve

“I feel that this year, the UA has become a lot more goal-oriented and focused on making concrete change in the student body,” said current UA president Pius A. Uzamere II. “I would like to see that trend continue.”

“The goals checklist was one manifestation of that,” Uzamere said. It “needs to be refined, but something along those lines should be continued.”

There needs to be “more student and community feedback on the list,” Faber said. “The whole purpose is to make people in the UA accountable, and I really think that it would be good if people who read the list would say, ‘that’s a project I’d like to see happen and contact that person,’” he said.

Williams and Vasquez said they agree that communication is important. “We really want people to feel comfortable coming to us and talking to us about how they feel about our ideas, and anything they feel we missed,” Williams said.

Two candidates appeal rulings

Two election candidates “appealed in some form or fashion, and we decided to hear both appeals,” said Johnny T. Yang ’04, chair of the UA Judicial Review Board.

In the first case, Smith and Kanaga appealed the Election Commission’s decision to deny them “an extension in the deadline to submit the documentation necessary to become official candidates,” according to the board’s ruling.

The board overruled the Election Commission’s denial because “after reviewing the Election Code and associated rules document,” they found “no specific clause clearly prohibiting the granting of an extension to Smith and Kanaga,” according to the ruling.

In the second case, the board heard an appead regarding a ruling that Eston M. Kimani ’05, a candidate for President of the Class of 2005, “gained an unfair advantage” through leaving his campaign posters up in Athena clusters after electronic voting had begun, “by sending a mass mailing via email to virtually all members of the Class of 2005,” both of which they ruled to be violations of rules set in the Campaign Rules Document, according to the board’s ruling.

According to Yang, the board lightened a more severe decision . This was done because the board did “not feel that Kimani blatantly violated the ‘spirit of the campaign,’” they ruled that he should “remain on the ballot as a candidate for Class of 2005 President with the phrase ‘Violated election rules’ next to his name on all ballots,” according to ruling.

Because the decision was made on Thursday, the last day of online voting, it is most likely that only those who voted by paper on Friday were affected by this change to the ballot, Yang said.