Last Monday, March 20, two and a half weeks after polls closed for USG elections, the full election results were released. Irma Valverde and Lysette Johnson were elected as president and vice-president respectively, while Seeya Sodani was elected as Comptroller. This long wait was the result of an ongoing trial wherein Valverde brought several charges against fellow contender Andrew Stern. The trial, and a subsequent appeal by Stern regarding its outcome, spilled over into spring break and beyond.
There was widespread frustration with the process. Those running for positions in the USG Senate did not understand why the results of their races could not be released (although the only seats in question were those in the School of Engineering) at an earlier date. Others were disappointed that yet another USG presidential race ended up in the hands of the Judiciary, which after half a month resulted in a six-vote change. Granted, the race was extremely close, as Valverde won the election by 49 after Stern lost his six votes, but there has to be a more efficient way to resolve disputes.
Stern was only found guilty on one charge, but votes were initially eliminated for all charges levied against him until he appealed. The entire process almost seemed a waste of time, even more so because the outcome of the election would never have changed. The Judiciary was not informed of the results to ensure it would not prejudice their decision, but in doing so the new administration has lost weeks of valuable time that they could have spent working on transitioning into power and developing initiatives to help students.
The constant slew of accusations from campaigns over the years has become tiresome. Valverde and her administration should do what they can to reform the election process, because a repeat of this year’s drawn out drama does nobody any good. It is also important for Valverde to look to the future and focus on initiatives that benefit students. One of her chief goals is to reform the student parking policies that have plagued UConn for years. There is little doubt in anyone’s mind that there has to be change in this respect. Valverde will also be in a strong position to improve USG funding policies, as vice president-elect Johnson served as the Funding Board Chair over the past year. Additionally, students should look forward to the new president continuing current USG initiatives, such as providing open-source resources and making UConn a safer campus.