Official SGA election results name Sonya Epstein president with 60 percent of the vote

Jennie Chang is named the new vice president

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Sonya and Jennie 2020

By Sophia Gardner, Assistant News Editor

Sonya Epstein won the 2020 Student Government Association presidential election with 60 percent of the vote, according to the SGA’s Fall Special Elections Report. Epstein and their running mate, Jennie Chang, received 1,175 votes of 2,193 total votes cast in the presidential election, which was ratified at the semester’s first SGA senate meeting on Wednesday.

Tim Scalona won the race for student trustee, the report said. He was running unopposed and received 82 percent of the votes cast in the student trustee race.

The presidential-vice presidential ticket of Kyle Kendall and Chris Figueiredo were the runners up to Epstein and Chang. They received 24 percent of the votes in the election.

The ticket of Michael Suchecki and Sean Vo placed third, receiving 285 votes.

“My first priority is working with students, faculty and administration around the plans for the Spring 2021 semester,” Epstein said. “I’m already in the process of catching up on where that planning process is at and I’ll be joining and communicating with the working groups set up by the chancellor.”

“My priority as VP is to make sure there is a smooth transition between President Ellis’s term and President-elect Epstein’s term,” Chang said. “I want to make sure there is clear and frequent communications with everyone about the transition. I want to also make sure people involved in projects under President Ellis have a space to work and continue their projects under President-elect Epstein’s.”

Epstein also stressed the importance of communication to a smooth transition period: “Our transition plan has been centered around communication and asking as many questions as possible in order to ensure that we know exactly what is going on and nothing slips through the cracks during this transition,” Epstein said.

“Although the results are not what I would’ve liked, I was glad to see our students go out and make their voices heard,” Figueiredo said. “I want to congratulate Sonya and Jennie on their win and wish them nothing but the best during their time in the role . . . I plan to stay involved in SGA and drive the body to be ever-better in our mission to represent students through other capacities.”

“While I am a bit disappointed that Michael and I didn’t win, I do genuinely congratulate Sonya and Jennie for winning,” Vo said. “While I haven’t gotten the chance to work with either of them much, I can tell that their passion will hopefully get a lot done this year.”

“Now that Michael and I have lost, I know that I plan to apply for at least three cabinet positions to work closely with Sonya and Jennie, as Michael and I’s mission to ensure the SGA is truly dedicated to the undergraduate student body has not ended with our campaign coming to a close,” Vo continued. “Our mission will not end. If I end up not getting any cabinet positions, then I plan on interviewing in for a vacancy in my class’s senate. If that doesn’t work out, then I plan on seeing how best I can serve the undergraduate student body without a formal position in the SGA.”

Epstein also thanked the student body for their votes. “I am beyond honored to have been elected as your student body President,” they said. “Seeing how passionate so many people were about the platform points that Jennie and I ran on was so amazing and I cannot wait to work with as many students as possible around those goals. I am here for all of you and am ready to fight for all of your rights, from racial justice to academic accommodations, to a just conduct process.”

“We will work hard to meet the students’ expectations and create a UMass that values students’ needs first. We are committed to create a campus where justice, equity, and safety are prioritized,” Chang said.

Sophia Gardner can be reached at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter at @sophieegardnerr.