Early Thursday morning, the GUSA Election Commission announced the four new freshman members of the GUSA Assembly. They are Zena Barakat (GSB ’02), Auggie Bartning (SFS ’02), Mayumi Grigsby (COL ’02) and Thaddeus Inge (SFS ’02). The results for the fourth place position were very close, but a recount of New South votes determined Inge the winner of the fourth seat over Matt Axelrod (SFS ’02). This year marked a change in the procedure of the freshman GUSA elections. In the past, the elections operated in the same manner as the elections for the various academic councils, with all candidates running in one general election. However, this year the GUSA Electoral Commission decided to hold a primary because of a growth in interest among freshmen for the past two years. “The number of freshmen [running] has skyrocketed over the past years,” said GUSA Election Commissioner Jackie Shapiro (COL ’99). According to Shapiro, the fact that 28 candidates campaigned last year indicated to the Elections Commission that a change was necessary. “When you have 28 running for four assembly seats, the students don’t get to know the candidates or their platforms,” she added. This year the Commission proposed that if more than 15 freshmen intended to run, a primary election would be held to reduce the number of candidates in the debate to eight. Following last Friday’s primary, the eight remaining candidates participated in a debate in Bulldog Alley Sunday night. The two-week long campaign period, which Barakat called “exhausting,” came to a close Tuesday evening. Many of the candidates said they were relieved that the campaign was over, but anxious for Wednesday’s final election. Shapiro said turnout was excellent this year. Between the hours of 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. on Wednesday, 70 percent of Harbin residents, 58 percent of Village C residents and 73 percent of New South residents cast their votes for up to four candidates. After the polls closed, the eight candidates stayed near the GUSA offices while the ballots were counted. Shapiro said she had solicited extra help in order to make the tallying as efficient and quick as possible. After an initial count, Grigsby (with 540 votes), Barakat (with 503 votes) and Bartning (with 430 votes) secured the first three seats. The fourth was in dispute because of a difference of only one vote between Inge, who at the time had 409 votes, and Axelrod who had polled 410 votes. Shapiro said that the race was so close that a recount was necessary. After recounting the votes from New South, Inge polled five more votes, bringing his total to 414 votes and placing him in the fourth assembly seat. Following the vote recount, Axelrod, who shared the same platform with roommate Bartning, acknowledged that because he had not worked so hard on his campaign, he was not angry that he lost. “Everyone who worked on Auggie’s campaign and mine did an amazing job. I am sure that those who won will do an excellent job representing the freshman class,” he said. Axelrod is a business assistant for The Hoya. Regarding the recount, Inge said, “I was definitely pleasantly surprised when I learned of the change of events. I’m looking forward to working with the other representatives in what will hopefully be a productive year for GUSA.” Grigsby shared Inge’s enthusiasm and added, “The thing I liked most about this election was how clean it was. The reason it didn’t get dirty was because we all respected each other and knew we could all do a good job.” Barakat and Grigsby also ran on a common platform. “At first we were discouraged from campaigning together, but we thought it was a good decision because we could combine our ideas to create a more effective platform,” Barakat said. The candidates said that they were eager to begin working with the GUSA Assembly and implementing their platform goals. Bartning said he wanted to concentrate on the smaller issues constituting much of his platform. These included providing doorstops in Village C rooms, consolidating the numerous student cards into one ID card, and providing GUTS service on Sundays. Following the election, Shapiro said, “All the candidates ran very good, honest races. They all worked extremely hard on their campaigns, and did a wonderful job.

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