New USG officers elected, Honor Code referendum passes overwhelmingly| Apr 21, 2018
In an email to the student body late Friday, April 20, the Undergraduate Student Government announced the newly elected U-Councilors and officers for the classes of 2019, 2020, and 2021. A referendum on the Honor Committee was also overwhelmingly passed.
The email also announced that there will be runoff elections for the president and the social chair of the Class of 2021. USG policy requires candidates to receive a 50 percent majority of votes to be elected, which no candidate in either position received. According to the USG email, runoff elections will take place from noon of April 23 to noon of April 25.
A total of 1,948 students voted in this year’s spring elections, almost 40 percent of whom were in the Class of 2021.
The elected officers for the Class of 2019 are Chris Umanzor ’19 for president, Susan Liu ’19 for vice president, Nicole Kalhorn ’19 for treasurer, Carly Bonnet ’19 for secretary, and Chelsea Ng ’19 for social chair. All 2019 officers ran unopposed and were re-elected for the same positions that they held during the past academic year.
Umanzor is a former staff writer for The Daily Princetonian.
“I am tremendously humbled and honored by these results, and I think the Class of 2019 is filled with passionate and hard-working individuals,” said Umanzor. “I’m excited to give them a fantastic culminating year of their Princeton experience.”
Moving into his third term as class president, Umanzor said he hopes to plan pub nights and a “fantastic” Commencement that students and their families will remember. He mentioned that he wants to engage more students in the planning of Commencement and the selection of a Class Day Speaker to gain different perspectives.
“[I want to] continue focusing on class unity so that students feel that they have a strong bond in the Class of 2019,” he said.
For the Class of 2020, the officers are Alaa Ghoneim ’20 as president, Ellen Scott-Young ’20 as vice president, Juston Forte ’20 as treasurer, and Ben Musoke-Lubega ’20 as secretary. No candidates ran for the position of social chair, vacated by Scott-Young.
Ghoneim expressed her excitement to “serve another year with an incredible team of class officers who are all very dedicated and hardworking” as well as her drive to increase opportunities for the Class of 2020 in the coming year.
“As juniors, we will be more interested in careers and internships,” wrote Ghoneim in an email to the ‘Prince.’ “I plan to address this interest with networking events with alumni classes.”
Ghoneim also noted that she would like to oversee “new initiatives that can bring our class together with more frequent study breaks and events.”
Representing the Class of 2021 are Sanjana Duggirala ’21 as vice president, Arielle Mindel ’21 as treasurer, and Kavya Chaturvedi ’21 as secretary.
Emma Parish ’21 and Tiger Gao ’21, who received 366 and 217 votes, respectively, are the two presidential candidates who will participate in a runoff election.
“I am so thankful to everyone who showed their support throughout the first campaign cycle,” said Parish. “I think that the freshman class had an incredible participation rate in this election, and I hope to see even more engagement in this coming runoff.”
Parish emphasized that, if elected, she would strive towards “bolstering class unity, creating more spaces for small-group interaction within the class, getting more non-class officers involved with planning and creating class programming, and connecting our class with our wonderful grandparent class” of 1971 with the implementation of a one-on-one mentorship program.
Gao wrote in a message to the ‘Prince’ that he believes that his platform “goes beyond study breaks and class gears to address some of the issues in our community in more fundamental and bold approaches” and noted that his platform would “have such substance that people can truly hold me accountable for with measurable benchmarks.”
“I think it’s important for a presidential candidate’s platform to have such substance that people can truly hold me accountable for with measurable benchmarks,” wrote Gao. “I’m confident in my classmates that they will make a decision based on the candidates’ vision.
The Class of 2021 was the only class that had more than one candidate for the presidency.
In addition, Phoebe Park ’21 and Harsh Babla ’21, who earned 327 and 211 votes respectively, are the two candidates in the social chair runoff elections.
Park affirmed that she “genuinely love[s] the people” that she has “found at this school” and hopes to create more opportunities “to come together as a family.”
“I hope the ‘Party with Park’ movement extends past these elections and whoever wins will be intentional about creating a space for meaningful memories together,” Park said.
Babla also appreciated “getting to know more new people, listening to their stories about Princeton, talking to them about their ideas and things that they’d like to see changed on campus.”
“Princeton can often be a very overwhelming place, and while the University does do a great job at providing resources for students, they are often quite hard to navigate,” said Babla. “A big part of what I want to do is make these resources more accessible to students.”
This year’s fifth Honor Code referendum, which allows Honor Committee members to evaluate leadership and potentially petition to replace the clerk or chair also passed with 1,556 affirmative votes, 84.15 percent of the total referendum votes.
“The student body has spoken again, and they said that there needs to be greater accountability on the Honor Committee,” said Umanzor, the sponsor of the referendum. “The nice thing about this campaign was that it was a community effort, like the one in the fall.”
To be officially approved by the student body, the referendum needed to pass two criteria: 33 percent turnout and 75 percent approval. With 1,849 total votes, the referendum narrowly exceeded the minimum turnout requirement with 35.4 percent of the total student body.
“I’m really excited to work with members of the USG, members of the Honor Committee, and the administration to ensure that this Honor Committee becomes even fairer,” Umanzor said.
Unlike the earlier referenda passed in December — three of which were stayed by the University administration — Umanzor had previously told the ‘Prince’ that he believes that the University administrators would not remand this referendum because it is more procedural in nature.
Additionally, the newly elected U-Councilors are Yousef Elzalabany ’20, Aditya Shah ’21, Katya Flores ’20, Isabella Faccone ’21, Morgan Carmen ’21, Wendy Zhao ’19, Nancy Wenger ’19, Rachel Hazan ’21, Matthew Bomparola ’21, and Ben Press ’20.
Hazan is a staff copy editor for the ‘Prince.’
Press expressed his hope for the coming school year and acknowledged the student body’s recent concerns.
“Over the coming year, I’m looking forward to working on issues of mental health, fiscal reform, and increasing USG transparency,” he wrote in an email to the ‘Prince.’ “We’ve heard a lot from the student body that we need to do better in each of those areas, so it’s important to me that we make progress on each of those issues over the coming year.”
Press also noted that “the number of candidates who ran for U-Council was also higher than we’ve seen in recent years,” which ultimately has the potential to bring “a lot of new voices to the Senate.”
The newly elected officers will officially take over from their predecessors at the beginning of fall semester, in September 2018, and the referendum will be implemented immediately.