Eight New Faces Join GUSA in High-Turnout Rep Elections

Voter Turnout Hits 41 Percent

By Jean Weinberg Hoya Staff Writer

Forty-one percent of eligible students voted onday for next year’s sophomore, junior and senior GUSA representatives, in an election where 34 candidates ran for 12 positions. Voters also approved referendums to create officially the office of the GUSA vice presidency and to make the vice president the GUSA Assembly chair.

Election Commissioner Jackie Shapiro (COL ’99) said that voter turnout was 41 percent, with voter turnout for the rising sophomore class significantly higher than that for the rising junior and senior classes. Shapiro said the higher turnout of rising sophomore in comparison to rising juniors and seniors was normal.

Five-thousand thirteen students voted in the representative elections.

She said the high voter turnout this year was in part due to the voting tables outside the dorms and in Red Square, not just inside.

Eight out of the 12 candidates elected as representatives will be new members of GUSA.

In the sophomore elections, only two incumbents ran and only one of them was successful. The same trend occurred in the senior elections, but in the junior elections, both incumbents who ran were successful.

The Assembly, which will consider the referendums Monday, must approve them before they become part of the GUSA constitution. The first amendment would constitutionally create the office of the vice-president, which is not established in GUSA’s 16-year-old constitution.

It has been the tradition that the vice president serve as the assistant to the president. The vice president has, by tradition, run with the vice president, and the two have been elected as a ticket. The second amendment has caused greater controversy among GUSA members; it would change the distribution of power between GUSA’s executive branch and the Assembly.

Currently, the Assembly Chair, who sets the agenda for Assembly meetings, is elected by his or her fellow GUSA representatives following the class representative elections. With the newly passed reform, the vice president would automatically be chair of the Assembly.

The results of the votes on the amendments were as follows: Amendment One, 840 votes to pass and 242 votes against. Amendment Two, 798 votes to pass and 370 votes against. The reforms were voted by a total of 2,250 students, in contrast to the approximately 5,000 who voted for representatives.

Shapiro attributed the lower number of voters for the referendums to the fact that ballots were distributed separately.

Every candidate that was elected as a representative said that they didn’t use many fliers and they also didn’t have a large group of people working for them. ost of the candidates said that they just had a few of their friends help put up flyers and just relied on word-of-mouth and door-to-door campaigning.

Many of the candidates also seem to be presenting similar ideas. One idea eight winners presented was to improve technology on campus and create a GUSA web site which students could access to learn more about what GUSA is working on.

Ron Palmese (MSB ’00), who will be sworn in as the new GUSA president on Monday, said this idea is very possible and that he thinks that it is a good way to get more students involved. He said that he and vice president Denis Scott (COL ’00), are interviewing students for the position of director of communications and that that student would be in charge of setting up the web site. He is hoping the web site will be up before the semester is over.

Another idea that was popular among the winners, including three out of the four running for sophomore representative was the idea of keeping Darnall Cafeteria open on the weekends. This would involve the administration hiring more workers for the cafeteria.

Margie Bryant, associate vice president of auxilary services said she doesn’t think that there is the need to keep both Darnall and New South open on weekends because there aren’t enough students who eat there on the weekends. She did say that if the demand were there, she would look for workers to keep it open. Palmese said he hasn’t “found out about it,” but that he will look in to it.

Many candidates expressed interest in improving diversity on campus. Mayumi Grigsby (FLL ’02), elected for sophomore class representative, said she would like to see a “Diversity Week,” which would involve working with the various ethnic and religious clubs on campus.

Junior representative-elect Joe Morrow (SFS ’01) said the Cultural Club network, which he worked on as a representative last semester, will start next semester. The network will consist of 20 organizations, ranging from ethnic, political and religious groups on campus.

Another popular idea presented by three of the candidates was the idea of putting a student on the Board of Directors, an idea that has been around for years but and does not seem very likely. Donahue has rejected the idea, but Palmese said that GUSA will work on possibly trying to put an alumni member on the Board. Although many alumni currently sit on the board, this alumnus would be a recent graduate.

GUSA will appoint another student on Monday to work with Ryan Murphy (COL ’00), a current student member of the Main Campus Planning Committee, and those two will work on interviewing candidates, if they are able to get the MCPC to approve a position for a young alumnus board member.

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