Students First! sweeps elections

    Members of the Students First! slate won nearly all of the top positions in the A.S. general elections on April 7. Bryce Warwick, who ran independently for commissioner of athletics, was the only non-Students First! candidate to win a cabinet position. The election results came after the A.S. Elections Committee resolved and ruled on four grievances filed against Students First!.

    The Students First! winners included Catherine Yapyuco for A.S. vice president internal, Rigo Marquez for vice president external, Caroline Song for vice president of academic affairs, Christopher Sweeten for commissioner of diversity affairs, Rishi Shah for commissioner of programming, Kian Maleki for commissioner of student services and Angela Fornero for commissioner of enterprise operations.

    The position of president will be decided in a runoff vote, which will take place April 8 and April 9. Independent presidential candidate Jenn Pae, who garnered 1,138 votes, will face Students First! candidate Harish Nandagopal, who won 916 votes.

    “There were a lot of people who helped me, and I wish I could thank them all,” Pae said. “My hope is … to continue what I’ve been doing and to put myself out there.”

    Nandagopal stressed the importance of voter turnout in the runoff elections.

    “I’m pretty happy right now,” Nandagopal said. “We’ve just got to get people out to vote. That’s all there is to it.”

    Hillary Elder of Students First! was set to face Emily Castor of Unity in a runoff for the position of commissioner of communications, but Castor withdrew following the announcement of the results.

    Students First! slate members celebrated following the announced results.

    “I loved everybody I worked with [and] I’m so happy for them all,” Yapuco said. “Today was really hard because we had all those grievances filed against us at the very last minute, so it was all really stressful, but it all paid off.”

    Unity slate presidential candidate Jeremy Cogan thanked his slate members for their effort during the elections.

    “I feel good about having done this,” Cogan said. “I will never be more proud of a group of candidates than those I ran with … I will always be proud of them.”

    Unity candidate for vice president finance Denis Shmidt echoed the sentiment.

    “I feel pretty upset, of course, but it was a good fight,” Shmidt said.

    According to A.S. executive secretary Kyle Nakanishi, student turnout for the election increased by 0.7 percent compared to last year, with 3,497 students casting ballots, or 17.8 percent of the student body.

    “I’m glad we had students come out,” A.S. Elections Manager Tom Chapman said. “I think we had a pretty good percentage for only three days of voting.”

    In a grievance filed against Students First! by John Muir College senior Konstantinos Roditis, the Elections Committee found that the slate violated UCSD posting policies on two counts — once for using tape instead of string to hold up a poster, and once for not including a contact number on a poster. The committee gave the slate one point toward disqualification for the violations. In a grievance filed against Students First! by student Adam Richards, the committee ruled in favor of the slate, throwing out the claim that they put up posters at Earl’s Place for lack of evidence, and ruling that Nandagopal’s speech during the March 30 John Kerry rally did not constitute a campaign contribution from Kerry. The committee ruled against the slate for using issues of the New Indicators to weight posters in a case brought by Muir senior Bryan Barton, assessing the slate another point toward disqualification. A fourth grievance, filed by Muir sophomore senator candidate and Unity slate member Lulu Ge, was withdrawn.

    “I thought [elections were] a lot dirtier than I expected, but our slate was so close,” Song said. “I think we’re really going to be able to do a lot in office next year because we have the support and general goals that we all want to work on.”

    Results for the second Thurgood Marshall College at-large representative will be determined through runoff voting.

    [Ed. Note: Bryce Warwick is a staff writer for the Guardian.]

    — Additional reporting by Lisa Mak, Staff Writer.

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