Rao/Schissel ticket wins SGA election, Freudson elected student trustee

By Patrick Hoff

Cade Belisle/Daily Collegian
Cade Belisle/Daily Collegian

Vinayak Rao, a communications major, and Jacob Schissel, a political science major, have been elected as president and vice president of the Student Government Association, with Sarah Freudson, a legal studies and journalism major, elected as student trustee.

The winning ticket technically came in second in the election but due to the invalidation of the DMC ticket shortly after 1 a.m. Thursday, Rao, Schissel and Freudson were declared the winners.

Rocco Giordano, chancellor of SGA elections, said that the next step is to have the Elections Report validated by the Senate on March 24. Should the Senate fail to validate the results, a new election will be held.

Rao currently serves as the Chairman of Finance for the SGA and is a member of the Theta Chi fraternity, as well as a marketing director for TEDxUMassAmherst. Schissel, currently a senator for the Central Residential Area, enlisted in the United States Navy Reserve after his freshman year and currently serves as a Petty Officer Third Class. In the SGA, he serves on the Students and Academics Affairs Committee.

Freudson currently serves as public relations chair for the Sigma Kappa sorority and works at Student Legal Services as a legal intern.

The DMC ticket included Ellie Miske, Gabrielle Cook and Emily Devenney. The ticket found out about their invalidation through a Facebook post on the official SGA page announcing the results of the election. In a statement to the Massachusetts Daily Collegian, DMC said that they are planning to appeal the Elections Commission’s decision to the SGA Judiciary and implored that it is crucial that the Senate hold off on ratifying the Elections Report until DMC has had an appeals hearing with SGA Judiciary.

“We will use any means necessary to ensure the validation of the students’ decision,” the campaign said.

“Students spoke out strongly in favor of Devenney, Miske and Cook,” they added. “(Thirty-six) percent of students elected us to be the SGA President, Vice President and Student Trustee. We will not allow the decision of the Elections Commission to crush the voice of students who turned out in force to put DMC in office and fix the serious institutional problems of the SGA, which are clearly represented by this decision.”

According to the SGA Elections Report, there were seven formal complaints against DMC that were taken into account in the decision to invalidate their candidacy. The three main complaints involved the use of a 10 percent off coupon at Campus Design and Copy, the campaigning in residence halls without proper escort and the use of a personal printer.

Giordano said that in past years, each campaign would be given a warning before being suspended or invalidated but due to the number of tickets this year, all of the candidates signed a memo of understanding which outlined all of the rules and procedures of the election and served as the “first and only warning in the case of violations,” according to the Elections Report.

Rao, Schissel and Freudson could not be reached for comment.

Patrick Hoff can be reached at [email protected]