The results of the University of Connecticut’s Undergraduate Student Government (USG) elections were released Monday morning, two and a half weeks after voting closed, showing Irma Valverde to be the president, and Lysette Johnson to be the vice president. Seeya Sodani won comptroller.
“I’m so so excited and I’m happy that I ran a positive and fair campaign and that it all paid off in the end,” Valverde said. “I’m honored to advocate for the student body and represent them this upcoming year.”
Valverde’s opponent Andrew Stern said he is looking forward to seeing what she will accomplish during her presidency.
“Obviously I’m disappointed, but I wish Irma the best of luck,” Stern said. “There’s definitely a lot of work that needs to be done with the organization.”
Valverde said her first priority is building “a strong and diverse” executive board, then working on making parking policies more fair for students and finding solutions to make USG’s funding of student groups more efficient.
Results were kept under wraps due to an ongoing trial concerning Valverde and Stern. Valverde brought violations against Stern’s campaign during the initial hearing, including slander, campaigning next to students who were voting and bribery.
Stern’s campaign was found guilty on one change of slander, but the judiciary eliminated votes from his total for all charges, including those he was found not guilty on, on the grounds that an unfair election environment was nonetheless created for Valverde. Stern then appealed this decision, arguing votes should not be eliminated after he was found not guilty. Stern won his appeal, restoring some deducted votes to his total, and results were released after the decision was made, according to USG judiciary.
Valverde won the election by 49 votes after Stern’s deducted votes were factored into the results.
“This is certainly a testament to how competitive the race was,” Stern said of the close vote margin.
Stern initially filed charges against Valverde’s campaign, then dropped them before the case was heard. Stern said his charges were filed in response to Valverde’s “baseless and petty” charges against him, and that he never intended to carry them out, only to make a point about past presidential candidates brining violations against each other.
Stern and his pick for Vice President, Ven Gopal, expressed frustration with the judiciary’s involvement in past USG elections.
“We didn’t want to let the judiciary decide. We wanted to let the students decide,” Gopal said of the campaign’s decision to drop the charges after the initial hearing. “If we lose, we lose graciously because we lost by the popular vote.”
“I would much rather lose the election by popular vote than be disqualified in a frivolous case,” Stern added.
After results were released, Stern stood by his statement.
“I’m glad that it ended up going to the popular vote… I think it’s important that the student body has a say,” Stern said.
Results for USG Senators were also released.
Only the race for School of Engineering senators was competitive, with five seats and six candidates. USG Deputy Speaker Soumya Kundu, Prince Nwaohuocha, Adam Burns, Priyanka Thakkar and Justin Schroeder were elected as Engineering senators.
Schae Beaudoin is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.