Acheampong wins presidency of the Student Union
Daniel Acheampong '11 will serve as Student Union president for the 2010 to 2011 academic year after defeating opponents J.V. Souffrant '13, Matt Kriegsman '11 and Sahar Massachi '11 in the April 13 Student Union elections. Acheampong won in the first count with 908 votes, followed by Massachi with 388 votes, Kriegsman with 280 votes and Souffrant by 131."[The presidential candidates] all had great ideas. That is what really made this election special. . My whole campaign was about moving forward together, and I really want to bring the student body and the Student Union and the administration together to move our university forward," Acheampong said.
This was the first election that implemented instant runoff voting, which eliminates the need for additional runoff rounds of voting. Students rank candidates in order of preference, and if no candidate wins a majority of votes after the first count, students whose first-choice candidate received the fewest votes have their second-place choice counted instead. Voting counts continue in this fashion until a majority winner is obtained.
Shirel Guez '12 won the seat for vice president over current Senator for Ziv Quad Ryan Fanning '11. Herbie Rosen '12 will serve in the position of secretary after winning in the first count with 871 votes. Akash Vadalia '12, who will serve as treasurer, won in the first count with 1,105 votes.
Supreetha Gubbala '12 won the most votes for the junior representative to the Board of Trustees, and Savannah Pearlman '12 for junior representative to the Alumni Association. Pearlman won in the first count with 939 votes. The seat for the representative to the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee was not filled.
Students who won seats on the Finance Board are Sidak Pannu '12, Jessica Preis '13, Makensley Lordeus '11. The fourth seat on F-Board, as well as the seat for racial minority students, has not been filled. The F-Board is staffed by seven students, including the representative for racial minority students.
Positions for which the majority of voters abstained will be filled in the second round of elections. The second round will occur next Thursday along with the voting for senators for the Class of 2011, senators for the Class of 2012, senators for the Class of 2013, senators at large, racial minority senator and associate justices for the Student Judiciary.
There was a 50.94-percent turnout in the elections for president. The lowest percentage turnout of 38.66 percent was for the representative to the Alumni Association.
Kriegsman told the Justice, "I honestly hope that [Acheampong] takes all of our platforms seriously. I think that we all had very good ideas and we all actually drew in a lot of different communities on campus. So, with that in mind, . he should also consider our platforms and our communities, too." He added that although he was not sure about his next position in the Union, he will still try to remain involved.
Commenting on the experience of campaigning, Massachi said, "Every student on the Brandeis campus secretly or not-so-secretly kicks ass. I've known this since my freshman year. I still see it today. Campaigning, you get to meet a lot of people, and that means you get to meet a lot of people who kick ass."
Souffrant told the Justice, "Even though you don't win . you cant give up . so it's important that . I continue to fight for the rights of the students academically any way possible, so I don't need the Union to achieve my dreams."
Guez said that she will "push for Greek life to be recognized by Brandeis" after receiving support from Greek life for her campaign. The University does not currently recognize Greek fraternities or sororities. She added that she will also work on improving residence hall conditions.
Current Student Union President Andy Hogan '11 told the Justice that he is "very excited for [Acheampong] to take office. I think he will do a fantastic job as president. One thing that needs to be worked on will be issues surrounding overcrowding. I know he will bring his own issues to the table."
Hogan said that he was "really surprised" at the voter turnout of 50 percent. Commenting on the instant runoff voting system, Hogan said that although the system worked well, some issues still need to be worked out. He elaborated that there should be more rules in the instant runoff system that are geared toward abstains and write-ins.
Former Student Union President Jason Gray '10 said, "I think that [Acheampong has] got a great opportunity to do an incredible job next year, and he has my full confidence."
-Hannah Kirsch, Harry Shipps, Brian Fromm, Alana Abramson and Fiona Lockyer contributed reporting.