May 18, 2007

College Council elections marked by upset

[img id="80249" align="alignleft"] Student Government (SG) College Council (CC) election results were announced Thursday night in a race characterized by a major upset in the Class of 2008 election, and, with the exception of the Class of 2010, a relatively small candidate pool.

“I think it was a really successful election, with the candidates doing a lot of groundwork and getting students really interested and excited in the issues and the campaigns,” said third-year Meredith Filak, chair of the SG Elections and Rules Committee.

The night’s biggest surprise came in the election for the Class of 2008, where Eve Ewing, a write-in candidate, tied Dan Kimerling with 98 votes, for the most in the class. Along with Ewing and Kimerling, Christian Brockman and Ben Shepard will represent the fourth-year class on College Council next year.

Only four candidates appeared on the ballot for the fourth-year positions, and Ewing’s write-in campaign prevented controversial incumbent Kyle Lee, who staved off impeachment hearings earlier this year after making allegedly homophobic remarks to another councilmember, from retaining his seat.

“I think he forced himself out because, honestly, if you alienate half the people you’re supposed to represent, they’re not going to feel comfortable coming to you,” Ewing said.

Lee did not attend the announcement ceremony in the Reynolds Club.

Ewing launched her bid last week at the urging of Kimerling, and said that she relied on word of mouth and “personal and individual interactions with people” to fuel her campaign.

“I’m just pleased with the outcome because I never want us to assume the status quo should be preserved,” Ewing said.

The 2008 race also featured one of the most radical candidates, with Shepard promising that, “If SG is still a joke halfway through next year, I will make a motion to dissolve it completely.”

Going into the race, the Class of 2010 competition looked to be the most dramatic, with eight candidates seeking the four available seats. Jay Kim and Benjamin Mitchell Esparza, who pooled their resources for the election, garnered the two highest vote totals, with Kim as the only candidate who exceeded 200 votes. Jarrod Wolf and Ashley Alger will also serve as representatives.

Kim and Esparza launched one of the more comprehensive council campaigns in recent memory, employing both traditional chalking and poster campaigns and cultivating an online presence with a Facebook group and blog.

“Elections are over, but the work ahead has only just begun,” wrote Esparza on a note for their Facebook group. “Next year, we hope to do a lot of great things to make College Council more efficient and a more noticeable organization on campus.”

The Class of 2009 race, which, like the 2008 race, only featured four candidates seeking the four positions, presented no surprises and garnered the least interest among voters. Jennifer Akchin, Greg Gabrellias, Jim McAnelly, and Kati Proctor all will serve as representatives next year; Akchin’s 57 votes led the pack.

This year marks the first time the elections were held in spring quarter. In prior years, the student body chose representatives in the fall, but a constitutional amendment ratified last year moved up the contests for second-, third-, and fourth-year seats. First-year elections will still be held a few weeks after the start of next year.

“One out of six students voted, and that’s decent turnout,” Kimerling said. “The only issue is that, for instance, by the time you’re a fourth-year, it’s hard to pick up a new activity or new responsibility…and I think that’s why we don’t see as many candidates as in first-year elections.”