College Council elections concluded Thursday night, with candidates from the newly formed Penny Party winning a slim majority of seats. Only 1043 students cast ballots, down from 1220 last year, representing just over a fifth of the undergraduates in the College.
“We were excited about how the election went, and that there will be some new faces this year, and hope this will be a successful year where we get a lot accomplished,” said fourth-year David Courchaine, the Student Government (SG) vice president for student affairs.
In the fourth-year race, where three candidates ran for four open seats, Andrew Stergachis, Ishad Shakir, and Phil Caruso all assumed positions on the council, although no candidate garnered more than 100 votes.
Caruso, who narrowly lost his bid for SG president last spring, led the group with 89 votes. Heidi Reed, a write-in candidate, edged out Miranda Nelson and Barney Keller to assume the final fourth-year seat with 20 votes.
Reed was the only fourth-year to attend the results announcement Thursday evening in Hutch Commons, although victory was virtually assured for the only names on the ballot.
“I hope the fourth-years aren’t just doing this for show. I noticed they didn’t go to the tabling event, hardly campaigned at all, and didn’t show up tonight,” said Courchaine. “I know there were some write-in candidates who would really put the effort into SG.”
Third-years Dan Kimerling, Kyle Lee, Archie Chandrasekhar, and Scott Duncombe won the class of 2008’s three seats, edging out Zach Binney and Sean Robinson, who each had 80 votes. Kimerling led third-years with 125 votes, while Duncombe, who organized the Penny Party, garnered 90 votes.
The second-year election featured the most closely contested vote. Matt Kennedy, Nicholas Rodman, Ryan Kaminski, and Maria McElwain each won seats. McElwain edged Nik Pejnovic by just two votes for the final seat. Pejnovic garnered attention for appearing on the ballot under his nickname “Croatian Nik,” and taking out campaign ads on Facebook.
“My main issue has been transportation, and even though they did attempt to fix the system, it still needs improvement, so I want to start working on that,” Rodman said.
The first-year race, which saw the largest turnout of the four contests, resulted in a win for Hilary Fruitman, Abhery Das, Adama Wiltshire, and Maximus Weikel. The top six candidates in the race all received over 100 votes, a stark contrast to the light voting in other contests.
Nine of the sixteen council members elected were members of the Penny Party, the brainchild of third-year Scott Duncombe and fourth-year Phil Caruso. The party sought to pool resources among the 15 candidates during the election for greater visibility, and hopes to improve efficiency within the council by having a committed group of representatives.
“I’m excited that we won. Nine was the number I was thinking of,” said Duncombe, who coordinated the election efforts of the party. “But I’m pretty disappointed because I don’t think we got as many people out as last year, and I thought as a party we were kind of upping the ante. I don’t want to say the party idea was the best because we didn’t get the turnout I expected.”
The College Council elects its leadership from within, and since his Penny Party holds a controlling majority, Duncombe is expected to become chair of the council. He said that his first priority after sorting out other leadership positions would be placing representatives into action committees and developing plans before the start of Winter Quarter.
“We also want to have a meeting between CC and RSO leaders to have them brief us on how we can help them get connected to administrators and get things accomplished,” Duncombe said.