Peter Edgar

At 11:45 p.m. on Wednesday, the online poll for Student Government Association Executive Board elections closed with a voter count of nearly 500.

The elections closed the campaigns of three unopposed races. Junior Arjeet Tipirneni, sophomore Maxwell Giard and freshman Ahad Aziz ran for the positions of Student Body President, Executive Vice President and Vice President of Finance, respectively.

“I feel good, but I feel a little nervous because I have big shoes to fill,” Tipirneni said. “Natalie [Barton] did such a great job as president and it’s going to be a challenge to live up to her standards… It’s a challenge I can meet.”

Voters had the choice to select “Decline to Vote” for each position as well. In polling data obtained by the Southern, of the candidates who ran unopposed, 5 percent of candidates declined to vote for Tipirneni and around 10 percent of candidates declined to vote for Giard and Aziz.

The other three races were not so clear-cut. Four students campaigned to be the Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion (VPDI), a new position on the SGA Executive Board.

Sophomore Katte Vargas was elected to the position with 35 percent of the vote; second place for the position, Onose Ijewere, received almost 30 percent of the vote. Third and fourth places, Marisa Pagan and Jollice Boyd, each received about 14 percent of the overall vote.

According to bylaw drafts currently in revision, the VPDI essentially serves as a liaison between the SGA and the Multicultural Student Council, as well as between SGA and other diversity and appreciation organizations like Allies and the Women’s Advocacy Club. The VPDI also will meet every month with the director of the Simmons Center.

Madelyn Walsh beat two competitors (Mark Haver, former SGA Vice President of Public Relations and Community Service, and Abbey Hoffman) for the position of Administrative Vice President, with 50 percent of the vote. Mark Haver received another substantial portion, with 35 percent of voting students’ support and Abbey Hoffman received more than 10 percent of the vote.

The roles of the Administrative VP, another new title, combine the former roles of Academic Vice President (held in the 2018-2019 school year by Greg Imhoff) and Chief of Staff (held from Fall 2018 to Spring 2019 by CJ Isom).

Junior Piper Garick beat her competitor, sophomore Paige Hardel, by a 7-point margin to become Vice President of Communications with 49 percent of the vote. 8 percent of the student body declined to vote for the position.


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