Students vote to change Sexual Assault Policy, Next Gen wins

First-year Frank Alarcon was elected Undergraduate Liaison to the Board of Trustees.

By Carolanne Fried

Sexual assault policy reform received a strong endorsement from the student body in the Student Government (SG) elections. Announced Thursday night, the election results affirmed that Next Generation will serve as executive cabinet next year. First-year Frank Alarcon will serve as Undergraduate Liaison to the Board of Trustees.

Students voted largely in favor of reevaluating the sexual assault policy—78 percent of returns were in support of the referendum. The Provost Committee appointed earlier this year to reevaluate the policy will consider the vote in its decision-making process, fourth-year and SG President Jarrod Wolf said. Currently, sexual assault issues are addressed within the department of the person accused, a policy the Working Group on the Sexual Assault Policy has lobbied for years to change.

“I think that the policy will change. It has to change,” Wolf said.

Next Generation won the executive slate election with 68 percent of the vote. The slate consists of third-year Greg Nance as President, second-year David Chen as Vice President for Administration, and first-year Patrick Ip as Vice President for Student Affairs.

First-year Frank Alarcon was elected Undergraduate Liaison to the Board of Trustees, defeating second-year David Akinin and third-year Rafael Menis. Booth School student Daniel Kimmerling, who ran uncontested, was elected Graduate Liaison to the Board of Trustees.

College Council positions were also filled. Isabel Hujoel, Namita Gupta, and Jason Cigan won spots as Class of 2011 representatives in another uncontested category. Joseph “Tex” Dozier, a write-in candidate, was elected with 33 votes, surpassing write-in candidate Joe Tomino, who received 23 votes. Write-in candidates must submit a statement in order to be appointed to the position.

Pamela Villa, Sohrab Kohli, and Nakul Singh were elected for the Class of 2012. At press time, votes for Edward James and Youssef Kalad, practically tied, were being counted by IT Services (formerly NSIT), and the winner had yet to be determined.

Class of 2013 representatives Neil Shah, Sam Scarrow, Travis Benaiges, and Nelson Zhu will round out the Council. 1,847 undergraduates and 509 graduate students voted in the elections, about 16 percent of the student body as a whole and 38 percent of the College. 78 percent of students who voted on the referendum supported creating the SG position of Community and Government Liason.

Next Generation, whose only opponent on the ballot was the satirical Moose Party slate, is already working on its future plans: “small projects that make a big impact on student life,” according to the slate’s statement on the SG website.

“We worked with the Student Government assembly to secure funds to get outlets in Hutch and C-Shop,” Nance said.

Next Generation’s platform for its first 30 days in office includes plans to improve the RSO experience through greater access to SG Funding Committee information, the purchase of passenger vans to lower the cost of transportation, and a spring pub crawl to raise school spirit and build campus community.

The slate has also begun conversations with students at Tufts University regarding the text alert and GPS system they employ for campus transportation at their University. “In the next few weeks, we will be in conversations with UChicago’s Transportation Student Advisory Board and other administrators to see how we can bring the best components of all the universities to create the most equipped and efficient student body here at the University of Chicago,” Ip said.

“We’ll be around and we want to hear what people have to say,” said Nance, who plans to use C-Shop office hours, weekly tabling in the Reynolds Club, and four-square games on the Max Palevsky Quad to generate greater SG accessibility.

“I’m very confident in the Next Generation’s ability,” Wolf said. “They are in a very good position to engage the student body and build a stronger bond with the student community.”