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Narrow race decides 2019-20 ASSU executives, new class presidents also announced

Courtesy of Scott and Drummond

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By a margin of less than 0.5 percent — 19 votes — Erica Scott ’20 and Isaiah Drummond ’20 were elected Associated Students of Stanford University (ASSU) executives over Kimiko Hirota ’20 and Bryce Tuttle ’20.

“We are extremely honored and proud to be named the ASSU Executives for the 2019-20 academic year,” Scott and Drummond told The Daily in a joint statement. “After learning the results, we realized just how important every single aspect of our campaign has been. Right now, we are beyond proud of all the hard work and dedication that our campaign team put in, and we are excited for what is to come!”

In addition to the new executives, Saturday’s release of the 2019 ASSU elections results revealed the 15 winners of a record-high, 34-candidate race to join the forthcoming 21st Undergraduate Senate. The ASSU elections commission also announced next year’s Graduate Student Council members and undergraduate class presidents. Stanford LorAxe won the three-way race for sophomore class presidents, while 21 Jump Street and The Sunshine Slate won the junior and senior class presidencies uncontested.

At 3,502 ballots cast, the total undergraduate voter turnout dropped to 50.8 percent from last year’s 57.4 percent, and the graduate voter turnout saw an even sharper decrease of 12.2 percent to only 21.9 percent. This continues a pattern of low voter graduate student voter turnout, which was potentially countered last year by Ph.D. candidate Rosie Nelson’s presence on the winning executive slate. No graduate students were present on executive slates for the 2019 elections.

Despite the narrow margin of victory in the executive race, Drummond told The Daily that he does not “foresee any upcoming challenges to the elections results — we trust the work of the Elections Commission.”

Hirota posted to Facebook shortly after results were announced, conceding the election.

“We want to congratulate Erica Scott and Isaiah Drummond on their victory and look forward to seeing their work in the coming year!” Hirota wrote.  

Executive

For executive and class president races, the elections commission implemented a ranked voting system where voters were asked to rank slates depending on preferences. The tabulation of the vote count was conducted via instant runoff. The slate garnering the lowest vote count each round was eliminated, with their votes re-tallied for subsequent rounds.

While Hirota and Tuttle won the initial vote with all five slates, as well as two following rounds — which saw the elimination of the Fiesta Party slate, the Kojoh Atta ’20 and Yusef Ferhani ’20 slate and The Flipside’s satirical slate “DavidMan, the Man who is David” — they ultimately lost to Scott and Drummond.

“This was a really competitive race, and we believe that every event leading up to the election pushed us to become better candidates,” Scott and Drummond wrote.

Scott and Drummond’s slate was endorsed by the Students of Color Coalition (SOCC). Among other issues, their platform focused on increasing the accountability of ASSU, reforming Residential Education with mental health resources, better channels for communication and working on completing an official free speech guide for students.

Scott has previously served as a Frosh Council representative, ASSU Senator and as Co-Chair of the ASSU’s working group on academic freedom. Drummond is currently a Resident Assistant and has served as the Co-Director of Diversity and Outreach for Stanford in Government (SIG). He is also the Co-Founder of the Christian Union and the Co-President of Veritas Forum.

Their victory over Hirota and Tuttle follows significant controversy leading up to election day. At the conclusion of the April 7 executive debate, candidate Kojoh Atta ’20 criticized Hirota for taking credit in securing increased funds for campus community centers in an effort that he said involved more than “just one person.”

On the day prior to the opening of elections, Stanford College Republicans (SCR) posted old tweets from Hirota’s since-deleted Twitter account, calling them “anti-male, anti-American and anti-Israeli.” Hirota apologized, but the controversy continued through election day, when the Fountain Hopper reported on Hirota’s alleged role in the removal of Scott’s original running mate.

“While we were disappointed that this election raised so much controversy, we believe that we tried our hardest to focus exclusively on our policy positions, which is what this election should really be about,” Scott and Drummond said. “We truly respect Kimiko and Bryce and their activism, and we hope to collaborate with them in the future on policy efforts.”

Class Presidents

In sharp contrast with the race for ASSU Executive, the individual class president elections were less than competitive.

Stanford LorAXE overwhelmed the race for Sophomore Class President overwhelmingly, with 48.6 percent of the vote in Round 1 and 61.7 percent in Round 2, defeating Slate of the Union and Dream Team. The slate consists of Ari Nazem ’22, Jackson Parrell ’22, Juyon Lee ’22 and Nidhi Mahale ’22. All four currently serve on Frosh Council.

According to their official campaign handbook, the slate’s platform consists of a four-step plan to  “sophomore year as iconic and as memorable as our first.” The steps include class-wide recreational activities to bring, such as a Sophomore Olympics in which members of different freshman dorms would compete in a series of activities. The handbook also expresses a commitment to “engaging the outside community” through connecting the sophomore class to off-campus stores and organizations.

“We are thankful for the support we received in the last few weeks, and we are honored to serve as the Sophomore Class Presidents,” Parell said on behalf of the slate. “In the coming months, we will lay the groundwork to bring our platform to life next year.”

The junior and senior class president slates both ran unopposed for their respective presidencies. David Pantera ’21, Celine Foster ’21, Johnathan Bridges ’21, Zarah Tesfai ’21, Robert Ross ’21 and N’Naserri Carew-Johnson ’21 — also known as 21 Jump Street — will become junior class presidents. Sunshine Slate — comprised of A.J. Aldana ’20, Maeve Givens ’20, Jackson Eilers ’20 and Leila Mengesha ’20 — will become senior class presidents.

21 Jump Street hopes to “to continue the work we’ve done so far to provide much needed resources to the class of 2021 and to further solidify efforts to catalyze a strong and healthy class community,” according to the group’s official statement. Their platform included a plan to improve campus safety through collaboration with on-campus resources. Additionally, they plan to continue building community within the junior class with “Junior Dinners Off the Farm” and class concerts.

According to The Sunshine Slate’s official statement, their platform was focused on “brighten[ing] up the real and fun sides of our final year.” Their plan to do this included instituting guided meditations for seniors and coffee chats with faculty about post-Stanford life.

Pending the validation of election results, all elected candidates will take office at the start of the next academic year.

Patrick Monreal contributed to this report.

Contact Elena Shao at eshao98 ‘at’ stanford.edu, Zora Ilunga-Reed at zora814 ‘at’ stanford.edu.

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