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Takeuchi ’23 elected USG president, midterm grading referendum passes

Kapoor ’23 elected vice president, 5 committee chairs, 6 class senators elected

<h5>Mayu Takeuchi ’23 and Hannah Kapoor ’23, who will serve as USG President and Vice President.</h5>
<h6>Courtesy of Mayu Takeuchi and Hannah Kapoor</h6>
Mayu Takeuchi ’23 and Hannah Kapoor ’23, who will serve as USG President and Vice President.
Courtesy of Mayu Takeuchi and Hannah Kapoor

In this year’s Undergraduate Student Government (USG) winter elections, Mayu Takeuchi ’23 was elected USG President, and a midterm grading policy referendum passed by a wide margin.

Voter turnout for the election — which took place between Monday, Dec. 6 and Thursday, Dec. 9 — was 45 percent, lower than last year’s winter election turnout rate of 52 percent.

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Takeuchi, who currently serves as USG Sustainability Committee Chair, received 1,643 votes. Opponent Jasman Singh ’23 received 494 votes while 192 students chose to abstain from casting a vote for either presidential candidate.

“Thank you for your trust and support,” Takeuchi wrote in an Instagram story on Friday, Dec. 11. “I’ll be here not only as your USG President, but also (and more importantly) as a friend.”

In an email to The Daily Princetonian, Takeuchi congratulated all of the candidates who ran.

“I've learned something from each of you,” she wrote, noting Singh’s “continued dedication to encouraging student engagement with USG, through elections and beyond.”

The USG vice presidential race had three candidates, so students voted using a ranked-choice system. Current USG Director of Communications Hannah Kapoor ’23, who campaigned with Takeuchi, was elected with 62.3 percent of the votes.

The pair ran on a platform of enhancing mental health care on campus, prioritizing equity and inclusion by removing student contributions from Princeton’s financial aid packages and amplifying student athlete representation, and building community through Tigers in Town and programming for first-year students.

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Takeuchi and Kapoor were the first joint ticket for USG President and Vice President in recent years, so the campaign process involved “navigating a lot of uncharted territory,” according to Takeuchi. “I am honored and excited to serve alongside Hannah for the upcoming year,” she wrote in an email to the ‘Prince.’

A referendum on midterm grading policy passed with 89 percent support; 41 percent of the student body voted on the referendum. In order for a referendum to pass, at least 33 percent of students must vote and more than 50 percent of those students must vote in favor.

The referendum proposed that universal midterm grading be provided for all courses. Currently, this is only required for 100- and 200-level courses. It also proposes the creation of a TigerHub function where professors can provide students with written feedback and disincentivizes the use of the “no grade” designation by requiring that professors who choose not to give a midterm grade leave written comments instead.

Now that the measure has passed, the USG Senate is responsible for drafting a report for administrators. The Office of the Dean of the College can then decide whether to implement the proposed changes.

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The referendum was sponsored by USG Academics Chair Austin Davis ’23, who ran unopposed to retain his position for the upcoming year.

“I was elated to see that my peers supported the referendum by such a wide margin,” Davis wrote in an email to the ‘Prince.’ “I think it speaks volumes to students’ attitudes towards grading and assessment.”

U-Councilor Isabella Shutt ’24 was elected Campus and Community Affairs Committee Chair in the closest race for an Executive Committee position this year, surpassing opponent Alexandra Orbuch ’25 by a 7 percent margin of 146 votes.

Shutt wrote to the ‘Prince’ that her priorities for the upcoming semester include “securing the future of community dining (i.e., Tigers In Town) independent of pandemic-specific funding” and strengthening community partnerships.

Madi Linton ’24 was elected USG Social Committee Chair, garnering 56 percent of votes in a race in which 26 percent of voters abstained and 21 percent voted for Emma Limor ’25.

On the changing nature of social events, given recent changes to University guidelines, Linton wrote in an email to the ‘Prince’ that she plans to prioritize “maintaining in-person social events under University's COVID guidelines,” with the possibility of planning equivalent virtual events should restrictions require her to do so.

Several other Executive Committee candidates were elected after running unopposed, including USG Treasurer-elect Adam Hoffman ’23 and USG Sustainability Committee Chair-elect Audrey Zhang ’25.

“I am excited to work with you all to make positive change!” Zhang wrote in a statement on her Instagram page. According to her campaign materials, she intends to enhance sustainability at Princeton through the merging of art, science, and the humanities, and by working in collaboration with peer institutions.

Ned Dockery ’25 and Walker Penfield ’25 will be the Class of 2025 Senators — in this year’s closest race and the one with the greatest number of candidates. Out of seven candidates, Dockery received 268 votes, and Penfield received 227.

“The countless incredible leaders in our class serve as just another testament to the quality and talent of Princeton’s most competitive admissions cycle in history,” Penfield wrote in an email to the ‘Prince.’

Third- and fourth-place candidates Braiden Aaronson ’25 and Laura Vergara ’25 received 225 and 221 votes, respectively.

Aaronson wrote in an email to the ‘Prince’ that he plans to continue working on the USG Sustainability Committee. “I believe that we’ll be able to do a lot of great sustainability work under Mayu’s administration!” they added.

“I’d like to extend my congratulations to Ned and Walker,” candidate Kalu Obasi ’25 wrote in an Instagram story. “I have no doubt that they’ll be fantastic senators.”

Both Dockery and Penfield told the ‘Prince’ that they hope to prioritize the development of a hybrid learning system amid concerns around the “freshman flu” and the recent announcement informing international students that the University does not plan to offer a hybrid option next semester should they not be able to return to the U.S. following winter break.

“More than any other class, I think the Class of 2025 uniquely understands the need for hybrid-class options,” Penfield wrote. “Many of our classmates were influential in the strong student response to the Davis International Center’s email.”

Penfield also emphasized that his “most immediate priority” is to meet with organizations on campus to learn how he can best support them as Senator, and Dockery noted his desire to increase access to performing arts shows and athletic events.

The Class of 2025 had a voter turnout of 42 percent, 3 percent lower than that of the Class of 2024.

Incumbents Sean Bradley ’24 and Mariam Latif ’24 were re-elected as senators, with Latif garnering 43 percent of the class’s vote and Bradley receiving 37 percent. Prince Takano ’24 received 20 percent of the vote and was not elected.

In the past year of representing the class of 2024, Bradley believes that he and Latif have gained a better understanding of the value of student input.

“I want to increase the amount of student voices in our decision making and give our community ample opportunity to provide feedback,” Bradley wrote in an email to the ‘Prince.’

Gisell Curbelo ’23 and Kanishkh Kanodia ’23 will both serve as 2023 Senators after running unopposed.

Kanodia noted his enthusiasm at the prospect of working with the other student leaders elected to USG.

“I am very excited to see Mayu and Hannah leading the student body next year,” he wrote in an email to the ‘Prince.’

Looking forward to the next year after yet another semester of pandemic-related uncertainty, Takeuchi noted in an email to the ‘Prince’ that she is “cautiously optimistic.”

She also expressed gratitude for her predecessor, USG President Christian Potter ’22: “I deeply appreciate and respect the work Christian has done through USG, especially this past year as President leading us through a transition towards a more normal Princeton campus life,” she wrote.

Kapoor echoed Takeuchi’s excitement for the year to come, telling the ‘Prince’ that “between the search for normalcy amidst the pandemic, the University’s expansion, and the general determination I’ve observed amongst my peers, there’s a lot of capacity and momentum to enact change on this campus. It’s an honor to have been entrusted to help facilitate that momentum.”

Annie Rupertus is a first-year from Philadelphia and a News contributing writer who covers USG for the 'Prince.' She can be reached at arupertus@princeton.edu or @annierupertus on Instagram and Twitter.

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