Undergrad presidential race in run-off

Wednesday, April 14, the SGA elections committee announced the results of the undergraduate and graduate SGA elections at the Student Center commons at 7:00 p.m.

The elections took place from Friday, April 6 at noon to Wednesday, April 14 at 4:00 p.m. While most of the executive positions up for vote were filled, the undergraduate president election will go into run-off between frontrunners Jimmy Williams and Corey Boone. There is also one Undergraduate House Representative position, for Architecture, which remains unfilled.

Winners were decided for the remaining executive positions. 3484 students voted in the undergraduate executive vice president election (EVP). Brenda Morales won with 82.1 percent of the vote, and Ajai Karthikeyan garnered the remaining 17.9 percent of the vote.

“I feel wonderful. I’m so proud to be able to serve the student body in this way. I’m really looking forward to it,” Morales said. “The first thing I aim to do is really get everything organized so that we have a system that runs smoothly to make sure that I am able to train representatives well… and also contacting administrators so that in turn representatives will be able to contact them.”

In contrast to the undergraduate executive elections, the graduate executive president and executive vice president candidates ran unopposed. Anthony Baldridge and Katherine Schnure ran for graduate presidency and vice-presidency respectively. 129 graduate students voted for Baldridge in the president election, and 122 students for Schnure in the EVP election.

“One of the greatest [issues within the graduate body] is communications, and bringing together with all the different departments to get opportunities out there for graduate students,” Baldridge said. “Not to mention a number of social endeavors that we as graduate SGA, as well as teaming up with undergraduate SGA, like to offer to campus that corral both the graduate and undergrad students together.”

Of the issues discussed in their campaigns, Baldridge and Schnure aimed to continue to work on certain problems such as health insurance for graduate students.

“We’re going to possibly take on and reevaluate our current insurance… that will be a big deal this year,” Schnure said.

Over 3700 undergraduate students voted for the undergraduate president alone, which featured five candidates up for election. Williams received 41.3 percent of the vote, and Boone received 38.5 percent of the vote. Candidates Wallace Benton, Daniel Nussenbaum and Jeff Porubsky together amassed 20.1 percent of the vote.

“I’m excited. I am so honored that 1443 people had enough confidence for me to be their next student body president,” Boone said. “I’m excited to make my case over the next week and see how this thing turns out. It’s by no means over for us. It was such a close margin that I’m really, really excited to get back out there.”

“It’s been a great two weeks and we’re hyped up and ready to go for one more,” Williams said.

Jimmy Williams, a third-year BME major with experience working in campus affairs, ran a campaign focusing on restructuring academics and improving campus life.

“Specifically what I’d like to do is put in an institute wide mentoring program to get faculty and students talking about things bigger than just textbook problems. Bringing in outside companies for students to work with and looking to redefine grading that is not pre-defined on bell curves but on objectives,” Williams said. “One thing I’d like to do specifically in student life is to submit by-laws in SGA that would fund food and give-aways for large campus events that would affect some 500-1000 students. With SGA funding these types of incentives, we could encourage collaboration across campus. Another area I’d like to work on building is campus support… Specifically what I’d like to do here is work on warning [parking] tickets, and have those applied throughout the semester. I’d also like to expand our transportation services beyond the current routes.”

Corey Boone, a third-year MGT major with experience working in committees such as the student rules and communications committee, likewise had his own programs focusing on academic revisions and student life improvement.

“My first goal would be to improve the classroom environment… and that could be done by the mentoring programs also by having our individual schools and colleges place a greater emphasis on discussion from the professor,” Boone said. “I want to incorporate a service option here in Tech. It would be similar to the research option or the international plan… Also opening up our Think Big program to allow students who don’t necessarily live in Georgia Tech housing to be apart of.”

In addition to the elections undergraduate voters cast a yay or nay ballot in a referendum to change the Constitution of the Undergraduate Student Government Association. The changes concerned the responsibilities and electoral processes for two executive positions.

The Chief of Staff position will be eliminated, and the Executive Vice President, which will still be directly elected, will assume the responsibilities of the Chief of Staff. A new position, to be called the Speaker of the House, will assume the current EVP responsibilities. Members of the House of Representatives will elect this position. The move was prompted by the technical nature of the EVP position, which deals with intimate legislative processes, and works not only to serve the students, but also to run an effective UHR. The referendum passed overwhelmingly with over 2,500 votes in favor of the change.

The election process started early this semester with a series of election code changes and meetings concerning how to and who can run for SGA election. Elections packets for students interested in running were released on March 1 with various elections committee meetings held until spring break. The election was overseen by the SGA elections committee. Their tasks included setting up ballots, running the voting system, advertising and adjudicating violations.

“If students wished to run for a position, they met with me or a member of my committee and we pretty much brought them up to speed on the rules on the election code,” said Mike Donohue, a second year-PUBP major and SGA elections chair.

Although these positions and motions have been decided, the run-off election will continue into next week.

“I think that the platform that we’re running on is one appeals to all students across the board no matter what their experiences at Tech have been,” Williams said. “I think one thing to look forward to in the next week is a slight rebranding but the rebranding will solely be visual. The rest of the message will stay the same.”

“I just want to continue expressing what it means when I say I want to enrich our Georgia Tech experience. I think has resounded clearly with a number of students and I just want to continue to spread that message to people who have not heard it yet, and just drive that home,” Boone said.

The run-off elections for undergraduate president will take place on the SGA website starting at 11:00 a.m. on Friday, April 16 and will continue until 4:00 p.m. on Wednesday, April 21. Results will be announced later on that day.