Special election winners declared
Four senators and two associate justices were elected to fill open seats on Thursday.
The Student Union held a special election to fill several open positions in the Senate and Judiciary on Thursday. Nancy Zhai ’22 won the open Senate position for the Class of 2022 in a four-way race. Zach Kern ’21 and Nakul Srinivas ’21 won seats for the Class of 2021 in an uncontested election, while Yuechen Ta ’21 won the Senate seat for International Students, also uncontested. Rachel Sterling ’21 and Jack Ranucci ’22 were elected Associate Justices of the Judiciary in a seven-way race for the two seats.
Class of 2022
In an email to the Justice, Zhai said the three most important parts of her platform were to “improve [the] dining experience, streamline communication between Union and student body, as well as foster a community that cherishes diversity and inclusion.” Zhai cites her experience on the Services and Outreach and Dining Committees, involvement in Waltham Group and work as an International Students and Scholars Office Fellow as her qualifications for the position. In the email, she called for greater accountability to students, including by making Senate and committee chair reports public.
Zhai won her seat with 45.1 percent of the 217 votes cast, with candidates Nathan Sayer ’22 and Jonathan Ayash ’22 receiving 21.6 and 19.3 percent respectively.
Class of 2021
Srinivas said that he wants to increase opportunities for student feedback about the Union to get a better idea of what his constituency wants, per a Facebook correspondence with the Justice. He said his familiarity with the Class of 2021 was his motivation to run. One of his goals is to push for requiring non-Senate committee members to attend at least one Senate meeting a year to “get a better idea of what the Student Union is like,” he said in the same Facebook message.
Kern said in a Facebook correspondence with the Justice that he wants to get a sign posted on Loop Road to notify drivers how to get to Rosenthal Quad.
63 people voted for Srinivas, while 56 voted for Kern. There were seven “Other” votes and 25 abstentions. 151 votes were cast in total.
International Student Senator
Ta wanted to run for her position because of her desire to support the International Student community, she said in a Facebook correspondence with the Justice. She said she realizes the community works hard; “But sometimes they don’t know where to find support.” She pledged to help cultural clubs organize more events, to “encourage international students to step out of their comfort zone,” and to work with ISSO and University Admissions to provide assistance to incoming and current international students. Her election comes after a turbulent recall process for former International Student senator Linfei Yang.
Ta was elected with a 73.3 percent vote share, with 4 percent of voters opting for “other” and 22.6 percent abstaining. There were 75 voters.
Sterling said that as an Associate Justice, one of her main goals was to foster “an environment that is built upon a foundation of trust and honesty within our community,” according to an email to the Justice. Sterling is an English Major and a Philosophy and Legal Studies Minor, and she told the Justice that her academic studies would help her succeed in her elected office. “I am passionate in the language of the law, and interpreting the text in a [sic] objective, yet reasonable, way that can be understood by the public,” Sterling said. She cited flaws in the University’s judicial system as her motivation in running, with one such flaw being the ambiguity of the Allocations Board’s rules regarding student clubs spending.
Ranucci said in his candidate bio that the Judiciary had an “incredible opportunity to guide the Union,” but that the Judiciary has a “responsibility to adhere to past precedent.” He did not respond to requests for comment.
In the seven-way election, Sterling took home 21.8 percent of the total 688 votes, while Ranucci received 16.5 percent. Trang Nguyen ’19 and Adrian Orduno ’21 were runners-up, receiving 15.7 percent and 14.4 percent of the votes respectively.
—Editor's note: Nakul Srinivas and Nancy Zhai are News writers for the Justice.