May 6, 2014

United Progress wins, 14 percent of students voted in SG elections

Jamie Manley / The Chicago Maroon

United Progress (UP) was elected as next year’s executive slate in last week’s Student Government (SG) elections, with 59 percent of the votes. Leeho Lim was also elected as undergraduate liaison to the Board of Trustees, Katie Schumacher as the graduate liaison to the Board of Trustees, and Kenzo Esquivel as the community and government liaison. Fourteen percent of students, 1,991 in total, voted in the election, which took place from Wednesday morning until Friday afternoon.

Elections were extended by an hour, due to the fact fourth years were inadvertently prohibited from voting for the first few hours of scheduled voting. Election & Rules (E&R) Committee Chair third-year Steven Wendeborn said that this was “not a conscious decision” on the part of E&R. Fourth-years have historically been able to vote.

“It was assumed that fourth-years would not take part in voting because fourth-years would not be on campus next year, and this election deals solely with candidates who would not begin in their new roles until next year,” he said in an e-mail. “But that was not the case, and we modified the election within the first day, as well as [extended] voting hours.”

UP consists of second-year Tyler Kissinger as president, third-year Aseal Tineh as vice president for student affairs, and third-year Arlin Hill as vice president for administration. They overtook Delta Upsilon’s Moose Party by a margin of 298 votes. UP’s platform included generating more student involvement and transparency in Student Government, conducting a Campus Climate Assessment, and increasing access to RSO funding. The slate also wants to add two more administrative positions to SG.

Hill expressed confidence in UP’s chances due to their outreach.

“Over the course of the week, we attended a lot of meetings, reached out to a lot of people, a lot of different student leaders, and had conversations with them about what they wanted to see from us and what it would take to get them on board,” he said.

Kissinger said the newly elected slate’s next step is to set a concrete agenda of what they intend to accomplish next year.

Hill said that the campaign process helped with this goal by building connections between the slate and a variety of students. “I think that through elections the process has already been started in the sense that we have already been starting the relationships with different student groups and different RSOs and student leaders on campus; we really began the process of engaging,” he said.

Other SG cabinet members were also elected. Newly elected undergraduate liaison to the Board of Trustees first-year Leeho Lim received 63 percent of the votes for the position. First-year Kenzo Esquivel received 57 percent of the votes for the position of community and government liaison, and Katie Schumacher won with 36 percent of the votes for the graduate liaison to the Board of Trustees position. Only 124 students voted for that position.

Lim expressed relief at his victory. “Although I was the only name on the ballot, I was still a little scared that the other candidates did campaign heavily and they were all equally qualified,” he said. Lim specifically referenced second-year Alex DiLalla’s campaign for the undergraduate liaison position.

Second-year Mike Viola, current College Council chair and future representative for the Class of 2016, said that for next year’s Student Government to be successful it must focus on changing the way it functions. “I hope to increase SG’s social role, especially for undergrads, since it has a centrality that most RSOs do not, allowing it to serve a very large number of people,” he said.

For full election results and vote tallies, see the Maroon website.