Massachusetts Daily Collegian

SGA election winners announced

By Sam Butterfield

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Senate GraphWhile the Student Government Association (SGA) announced its 2009 general election results Wednesday, welcoming its senator-elects to its first senate meeting Wednesday night at campus center, several lingering issues kept the results from being ratified. Both referenda on the ballot passed heavily, with question two, concerning moving SGA elections voting online, sponsored by Derek Khanna, receiving 1176 “yes” votes and 270 “no” votes. However, due to poor wording of the question, SGA speaker Modesto Montero told the Daily Collegian commuter senator-elect Khanna will withdraw the referendum Thursday, before the election results are ratified, which Montero said he strongly suspects will happen.

“If it’s being taken out completely is something we’ll decide as we meet in the next couple weeks,” Montero said of the referendum.

The SGA’s Coordinating Council will meet tomorrow to ratify the results, which they were unable to do today because of one tie, which Montero said they hoped the two candidates involved would resolve through one stepping down. The Council will also debate how to address the online elections question, as Montero said the SGA supports moving elections online but decided this referendum would not be how that issue is handled.

Khanna said he strongly disagreed with the council’s decision to discredit the vote on the referendum, and only agreed to allow the referendum to be withdrawn when he was informed that the entire election would be nullified and held again based on the doubts about the wording.

“I did not agree with Modesto,” he said.

After being informed that the entire election would be thrown out, I decided I could not in good conscience be the reason behind this clear political move by the Coordinating Council,” Khanna said.

Referendum question one, which would create a waive-able $1 fee per student per semester to support the UMass Independent Film Production Club, an RSO which writes and produces student made films, also easily passed, receiving 975 votes of “yes” and 425 “no” votes.

In the senate elections, Southwest South saw the largest turnout. Ben Johnson won the most votes of any individual candidate, receiving 204. Daniel Stratford was a close second, at 203. From there, Catie Warren took third, getting 195 votes. Following her were Elie Feinstein, with 161 votes, Kimberly Garber, at 151, and Matthew Carr, who received 136.

Southwest North also saw solid participation, as Stephanie Rocha led the field with 172 votes. Erica Nyer was second, at 166, with Brandon Tower third at 162 and Leanne Brown taking 150 votes.

The Central senate will include Patrick Watson, who led all Central candidates with 154 votes, Kyle Howard, who was second, with 141, Andrew C. Prowten, with 123, and close runner up Michelle Sudan, who got 122 votes.

Orchard Hill’s three representatives will be Jared Rose, who handily won the most votes, with 171, Misbah Anwar, who got 121, and Nicholas Barton, who received 105 votes.

Northeast will send Melissa Urban, who easily won her area, with 124 votes, as well as Rafael Medina, with 67. North saw limited turnout, electing Andrew Dawson, with six votes, and Prateek Katti, with five to its two seats.

Sylvan also saw meager turnout, picking Ron Aylward with 23 votes, and Danillo Sena, with 20, as its two representatives. Michael O’Connor won Sylvan’s Lieutenant Governor spot unopposed.

Commuter students picked 17 commuter students, with a tie for seventeenth that will be resolved either by one student conceding or the SGA’s Coordinating Council breaking the tie, if necessary. The 17 commuter senators are Benjamin Levine, Melissa Sandefur, William Cody, Amanda Jusino, Charlie Felder, Chelsea Aquino, Josh Davidson, Tikaan Galbreath, Rudy Mahotierre, Tyler Langlais, Eric Magazu, Scott Aldrich-Holmes, Andrew Berg, Azeen Khanmalek, Derek Khanna and Jeremy Rumeld. Mohamed El-Ounsi and Kurt Kaschora tied as write-in candidates. One will have to concede and give the spot to the other, or the Coordinating Council will have to break the tie at Thursday’s meeting.

In addition to the voting, commuter senator elect Derek Khanna also filed a formal complaint against Sylvan senate candidate Brad DeFlumeri regarding campaigning e-mails he distributed which were not registered with the Chancellor of Elections. The complaint was heard, according to an SGA release, on September 29, before the ballots were counted. Two pieces of information were incorrect in the e-mails, the date of the elections, which the e-mail mislabeled as October 28 and 29, and the number of Sylvan senate seats. There are two, the e-mail erroneously claimed there were three. DeFlumeri told the Elections Committee the mistakes were errors and unintentional. Given that the elections were over, the Committee decided to take no action, stating that while the complaint was valid, it was not grievous enough to warrant action.

Sam Butterfield can be reached at [email protected].


16 Responses to “SGA election winners announced”

  1. Derek Khanna on September 30th, 2009 11:40 pm

    The real story is:
    “Coordinating Council Overrules UMASS AMHERST STUDENTS”
    Says that 81% of UMASS students are wrong.


  2. Christopher Faulkner, Chancellor of Elections on September 30th, 2009 11:58 pm

    To clarify, the image above says that question 2 has not been ratified yet. None of the election results have actually been ratified yet. The Coordinating Council chose to wait until a later date to ratify the entire election because they were concerned with the phrasing of question 2. In the coming days, the Coordinating Council will vote to ratify the elections or not.


  3. Brad DeFlumeri on October 1st, 2009 4:43 am

    The Elections will not be ratified at all. When administrators here and in Shrewsbury wake up and check their email, legal concerns are going to cause the SGA Bylaws to have to change before the election results can be ratified. More likely, however, is a re-vote, campus wide. You can thank the ALANA CAUCUS for this, too, but the larger issue remains SGA officials’ ignorance of their own governance documents and the [federally] unconstitutional provisions of those documents.

    I think moving SGA voting online is a great idea and the opposition to it from entrenched interests is quite telling.

    Dan Stratford should be speaker of the senate. Tell me how Montero is speaker of the senate for this year, when this year’s senate was just elected today…on what planet besides planet UMass can things like this happen? Why shouldn’t the newly elected senate choose from its own ranks the speaker by whom it wants to be represented?


  4. Christopher Faulkner, Chancellor of Elections on October 1st, 2009 9:44 am

    In response to Mr. DeFlumeri,

    There is a case with the Judiciary, but the decision is up to them. Please do not continue to spread false information regarding the election.


  5. George on October 1st, 2009 10:37 am

    This is so great… over 1,100 students want future SGA elections to be online… I think this is a wonderful way to move into the 21st century for UMass-Amherst!


  6. Ed on October 1st, 2009 10:42 am

    If the members of the ALANA caucus are too damn stupid to actually read things before they vote on them, then it is their own damn fault for what happened. Slipping things into larger things is a time honored practice and while I don’t approve of doing that sort of thing Derek, unlike last spring, you are on solid ground here.

    The ALANA caucus is gone, and if you toss the election, it is quite likely that the admin will toss the entire SGA out with it. And you won’t get it back, either…

    And as to speaker – I like the model of having the speaker elected on a campuswide basis in the spring along with the President. This is the national model, the Vice President *is* the speaker of the US Senate.


  7. S.P. Sullivan on October 1st, 2009 10:49 am

    For clarification’s sake, Derek, you mean 81 percent of UMass students who voted. I haven’t seen the turnout numbers from this year, but I know in the past they’ve hovered under 13 percent.

    I’m not looking to undermine you’re argument, because clearly a large majority of those who voted were in favor, but we’re talking a difference of over 10,000 students here.


  8. Derek Khanna on October 1st, 2009 11:32 am

    S.P. you bring up a good point, however, statistically speaking. If 81% of the voting population supports online voting, even if the voting population is small, this is a sample of the entire campus. And while this sample may not have a normal distribution etc., it still is indicative of overwhelming support on campus for online voting. A 13% sample size is a massive sample size for a poll, and I invite someone to do the statistical work to demonstrate what the overall campus believes with intervals etc.

    But my point was this, passing a referendum requires 50% of the campus that votes. It’s unfortunate that the campus doesn’t vote, this is one thing to change that, but it’s 50% of the campus that decides a referendum. If 81% voted for something, then it’s binding, end of discussion.

    The Coordinating Council wants to throw out the entire election. This organization has been illegally chaired by the SGA President,and made up of members who have blocked online elections for years. But throwing out an entire election because 81% passed online elections!? This is just beyond the pale. I invite all students to attend the CC meeting today, which they don’t inform anyone as to where or when it will take place.

    On another note, this article says that the tie stalled the CC. This is a lie. This is completely untrue. Kurt bowed out in favor of Mohamad El-Ounsi at 2 PM. There was no tie, and everyone at CC knew that. This is a stupid lie propagated by the CC.

    But I think all students should ask the CC, why are you overruling the decision of the students? They do not have the ability to veto a referendum, the students themselves decide. They can only ratify or not ratify the election on the grounds that it fulfilled broad based requirements. Going through the election and saying, “I don’t like this referendum question” and throwing out the election is preposterous, and a complete violation of their position.

    We will get online elections this year, and no one will stop this. I can assure you that the students voice will not be silenced. And I can assure you that I am not going to just give up as this article implies. If the CC does not ratify the election, the SGA will go into disarray and the elections will be re-held, costing thousands of dollars and denying students of representation for another month.

    When the SGA has clearly stolen tens of thousands of dollars of student fees. When the SGA is clearly not representing students, and needs serious reform, and in an economic crisis as we have now… students cannot wait a month for representation because the SGA President doesn’t feel like doing her job.


  9. Jon on October 1st, 2009 12:37 pm

    “North saw limited turnout, electing Andrew Dawson, with six votes”


    Don’t worry though. The SGA is a crucial part of the student body.


  10. S.P. Sullivan on October 1st, 2009 1:43 pm

    Derek, I wasn’t trying to argue about any points you were trying to make. The only reason I comment on this site is to try to provide clarity and keep the conversation civil. Thirteen percent is certainly a healthy sample; I was just pointing out that it’s a sample, and not the whole thing.


  11. Patrick Kenney on October 1st, 2009 5:04 pm

    “When the SGA has clearly stolen tens of thousands of dollars of student fees.”

    That is a bold allegation to make without offering any proof.


  12. Ed on October 1st, 2009 9:44 pm

    SP — I hate to agree with Derek (trust me) but he is right. Elections are determined by who voted, not who could have voted.

    Florida 2000 was determined by (at best) a hundred or so votes while there likely were millions of registered voters who never showed up to vote. So sorry, in an election it comes down to who voted.

    And the bylaws now state that the ALANA caucus seats are now null and void. Elections have consequences, we have B. Hussain Obama….


  13. Chris T. on October 1st, 2009 11:27 pm

    I know, who needs ALANA when we have our first Muslim president! Oh you fooled me, Ed, by referring to President Obama like a moron who doesn’t believe he’s a citizen.

    You don’t help the legitimate argument against ALANA caucus seats by race baiting in the sentence immediately afterward.


  14. Brad DeFlumeri on October 5th, 2009 8:31 pm

    Chris Faulkner’s errors during the nomination, election, and vote-counting process will force the Coordinating Council to invalidate the entire election. The Collegian was informed today that at least 20 SGA BYLAW violations occurred during these processes. Chris – I will “stop spreading false information about the election” when you can do your job with the slightest bit of competence. Nice work.


  15. George on October 11th, 2009 10:25 pm

    Really… why can’t we just have the online elections that were just approved implemented?


  16. Anonymous on October 22nd, 2009 12:27 am

    Campus politics: It’s serious business.


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