Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Student body elects Kapoor as SGA president, Healy as student trustee

By Chris Shores

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In a Student Government Association election that saw a 14 percent undergraduate voter turnout, Akshay Kapoor was elected the University of Massachusetts’ SGA president for the 2012-2013 school year.

Kapoor – and vice presidential running mate Garrett Gowen – received 1,237 votes, accounting for 42.27 percent of the voting body.

“It was a great race and … we are glad students took part in this democratic process,” said Kapoor. “It is important that students do and we are glad for their support.”

During his campaign, Kapoor told the Massachusetts Daily Collegian that he hopes to “bring more student voices to the table.”

“Currently, I feel there is a disconnect between the SGA and the students we represent,” he said in the March 12 article. “I worked a lot this year to increase outreach.”

Kapoor and Gowen will begin their term April 2, said Jarred Rose, speaker of the SGA.

Elizabeth Asefa and Michael Cusher finished second in the election, earning 982 votes. The third-place ticket – Alex Robert Cidado and Jessica Hope Saperstein – received 668 votes.

Both undergraduate and graduate students – 3,136 out of 26,445 eligible voters – elected Jennifer Healy as the UMass student trustee next year. Healy received 132 more votes than second-place candidate Sean O’Connor. Finishing third was Grant Elliot George, who earned 786 votes.

Healy will become a member of the UMass Board of Trustees on July 1, said Rose. She will be a voting member next year, said Nate Hoffman, chancellor of elections.

A majority of undergraduate and graduate student voters – 52.16 percent – rejected a referendum question (1,636 to 1,068) which would have established a mandatory $125 fee per semester. The fees – which were to run over consecutive semesters for the next 25 years – would have funded the construction and renovation of the Student Union building. A small percentage – 13.77 percent – chose to not vote in the question.

Students did support a second referendum question, which established a $1.29 semesterly fee to fund the proposed “Sober Shuttle” program. Created as a joint program between the SGA and the PVTA – with details devised by Kapoor – the “Sober Shuttle” will provide additional transportation between Amherst bars and major off-campus housing areas.

The question was passed by a 75.63 percent vote: 2,372 to 545. Nearly 7 percent of voters elected not to answer the question.

A third referendum question dealt with reallocation of SGA funds. It called for “the elimination of a mandatory $3-per-student Area Government entitlement payment, and allow the money to be reallocated towards the funding of student clubs, agencies, and area governments.”

The majority of the undergraduate voting body supported the question, and it passed 1,762 to 708. A total of 456 students chose not to vote on this question.

Chris Shores can be reached at [email protected] Katie Landeck can be reached at [email protected]

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