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The FOCUS ticket won big in UCSU elections last week.
Polls were open for five days, from Oct. 26 to Oct. 30 for five UCSU representative-at-large seats and five Arts and Sciences Student Government seats. The FOCUS ticket received 73 percent of the 951 votes cast during the election.
FOCUS members Rebecca Aguilar, William Taylor, Hunter Barnett, Blaine Pellicore and Sanket Merchant won seats.
The Arts and Sciences Student Government seats initially went to Eric Chan, Alyssa Bamonti, Pranav Reddy, Kevin John and Midori Tran. Chan, John and Tran ran as write-in candidates.
However, according to an e-mail sent from the UCSU election commission on Monday, Chan chose “to forfeit his seat for undisclosed reasons.” Chan’s seat then went to Gregory Carlson, also a write-in candidate, who had recieved the next highest number of votes.
“Well, I was very surprised and really happy to hear the news. It’s a big responsibility and I’m looking forward to serving the students,” Carlson said Monday.
Carlson said that his platform consisted of “looking at every line of the student budget” in search of wasteful spending.
Chan was not immediately available for comment.
The two independent candidates, Shane Grigsby and Nick Smiley, received 11 percent and 12 percent of the votes, respectively.
At a debate on Oct. 26, the FOCUS candidates explained their platform consisted of a ticket of experienced and dedicated students who accurately represent CU’s diversity while exercising fiscal responsibility with regard to the millions of dollars which student fees bring in.
Gareth King, a 27-year-old senior civil and environmental engineer, said he voted for the two independent candidates and three FOCUS members based on the personal information he found in the contender biographies.
“I voted for the independent people because I read the [bios] and politically, I’m a fairly liberal person, so I tried to choose people who were liberal and weren’t apologetic about it,” King said. “It was important to me that women and minorities were part of it though, ’cause there are a lot of white people here.”
However, King also has some contentions on the clout UCSU commands on campus.
“I think a lot of it is idealistic because the UCSU has only so much power,” King said. “I mean, how much of an effect do they have on tuition? I don’t know a whole lot about how the power structure works, so it’s difficult for me to say whether or not a particular candidate was able to effect meaningful change as a result of their position. What sort of power do they have? That wasn’t illuminated to me.”
According to UCSU election code, “candidates obtaining the greatest number of votes shall be elected until all open seats are filled.”
Students have until midnight on the Tuesday after the election to file complaints. If no complaints are collected, the election commissioner will certify the results of the election.
Charles Gilford, a 22-year-old senior business management and international business major said he still hopes that his generation continues to show the same civic engagement they did for the last presidential election in terms of voting and checks and balances through laws and legislation, despite the lack of involvement for the fall student government election.
He said he is also optimistic about the elected representative-at-large winners.
“I think that the candidates who ran have a lot of experience to offer student government, so that will be a great benefit to the student populace given the impending issues of increasing tuition and student fees. Our cost centers budgets are being adjusted and the spring funding cycle will be extremely interesting where we’re at as a university and the budgets that allows students to support the 18 plus cost centers we have on campus,” Gilford said.
However, Gilford says that the votes received this year for a student election were extremely low.
From 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Oct. 26, nine of the candidates met in Humanities 1B50 for a debate that covered the issues of campus sustainability, student fees, student involvement and engagement with the community.
Of the nine candidates, six were on the FOCUS ticket, the entire ticket excluding Bamonti. Three independent candidates, one of whom was part of the Arts ands Sciences student government, were also present.
“The root cause is to get people excited and to get people running for these positions,” Pellicore said of student involvement at the debate.
The room was nearly empty.
Brad Davidson, a 26-year-old Ph.D. student in mechanical engineering encountered the same issue back when he was an undergraduate.
“I did my undergraduate here, and nobody paid attention then either,” Davidson said.
For full election results, visit http://www-ucsu.colorado.edu/ivote/showresults.cfm.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Sheila V Kumar at Sheila.email@example.com.