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Jemison '18 elected as USG president, Eating Club Referendum passes

Voter turnout 49.8 percent

<p>USG Presidential Candidate Myesha Jemison</p>

USG Presidential Candidate Myesha Jemison

Class of 2018 Undergraduate Student Government Senator Myesha Jemison '18  won the 2016 USG presidential election, securing 51.6 percent of 2,410 votes, according to USG Chief Elections Manager Sung Won Chang '18.

Her opponent, Rachel Yee '19, received the remaining 48.4 percent of the vote.

According to Jemison’s candidate biography, released by Chang through email, her goal is to “work to increase transparency, communication, and student input so that your voices aren’t just heard, but are met with concrete action.”

“I wanted to focus on a wide variety of topics so that all students would be impacted, but also that all students would feel that their voices are heard,” Jemison said in an interview with the Daily Princetonian regarding her platform.

“In my first couple of weeks in office, I want to bring a lot of student voices and speech back in,” she said. “I’ll also focus on establishing the committees and positions laid out in my platform. I want to bring students in and bring in feedback, so the policies in my administration will follow what students want.”

Jemison said the campaign process was a new experience for her.

“It was interesting to get to know different members of the student body,” she said. “I’m looking forward to more relaxed engagement with the student body in the coming months.”

The referendum, sponsored by Leila Clark '18, calling for eating clubs to release demographic statistics also passed. The USG Senate will be directed to form a standing committee and work with the Interclub Council to collect and report information such as gender, race, and academic major, on both eating club members and bickerees.

Dan Qian '19 was elected vice president, Alison Shim '19 was elected treasurer, Patrick Flanigan '18 was elected Academics Committee chair, Christine Jeong '19 was elected Campus and Community Affairs Committee chair, and Lavinia Liang '18 was elected Social Committee chair.

A runoff election between University Student Life Committee Chair candidates Tania Bore '20 and Michael Zhou '19 will be held Dec. 12-14.

Eli Schechner '18 was elected Class of 2018 senator, with the second 2018 senator seat left vacant. Ruby Guo '19 and Andrew Ma '19 were elected Class of 2019 senators, and Nate Lambert ‘20 and June Philippe '20 were elected Class of 2020 senators.

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With a total turnout of 49.8 percent, or 2,615 votes out of an undergraduate student body of 5,251, voter turnout was higher than in recent winter elections. 

The Class of 2018 had the highest turnout of 698 votes; the Class of 2019 had 677, 2020 had 661, and 2017 had 579.

“I think there were three main reasons for the higher voter turnout this year,” current USG President Aleksandra Czulak '17 said. “This was one of the most contested races we’ve had, with very few uncontested seats. Only the vice president and 2018 senator seats were uncontested.”

“I also think the national election had an impact. Students were more interested in looking at candidates presented to them,” she added. “Those were the more organic reasons for reaching the 49 percent.”

The third major cause, Czulak said, was the increased publicity regarding the election.

“There were a lot more emails from me, and we encouraged all USG members not up for election, or even up for election, to get the general link out to spaces. It was sent to residential college listservs, eating club listservs, posted on Facebook.”  

Czulak also sent an email to the Classes of 2018, 2019, and 2020 with the subject line “Less than 12 Hours Left to Beat Harvard,” encouraging students to vote in the elections. She sent an additional email to the Class of 2017 with the subject line “Seniors — You Can Vote in the USG Election & You Should.”