Bobcats pick new senate members

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With the highest turnout in years, students select Restart members for the two highest positions.
Megan Marzec of the Restart ticket is overcome with emotions after it was announced she would be the new Student Senate president. (Seth Archer | Staff photographer)

Ohio University students chose to restart Student Senate — or at least a majority of it.

Megan Marzec and Caitlyn McDaniel, both of Restart, were elected to the president and vice president positions respectively, and Carter Phillips of ONE was elected treasurer.

Marzec won with 1,334 votes. Jordan Ballinger, the presidential candidate for ONE, came in second with 1,192 votes. Zainab Kandeh of Action received 874 votes. There were 161 write-in answers.

McDaniel won with 1,588 votes and edged out Alex George of ONE by 151 votes. George received 1,437 votes. The Action ticket did not have a vice presidential candidate, but Kandeh — who The Post endorsed for vice president — received 75 write-in votes for the position.

The race between Phillips and Jolana Watson of Restart was the closest between the executive candidates. Phillips beat out Watson by 93 votes, winning with 1,349. Watson received 1,256 votes and Rose Troyer of Action received 773.

The Restart ticket won many seats on senate’s body as well, but did not achieve a clean sweep, winning 21 of the 34 seats on the body. ONE ticket members were elected to 12 seats and one member of the Action ticket, Hillary McClish, was elected as West Green senator — the only member of the Action ticket to be elected.

The results were read Thursday night in the Bobcat Student Lounge.

More students voted this year than in recent years. There were 3,561 votes cast Thursday, which surpassed last year’s turnout of 2,313 votes by about 35 percent. This year’s total is the highest since the election in 2011, whichreached 4,057 votes.

Ryan Lombardi, vice president for Student Affairs and senate’s advisor, said he was very pleased with the voter turnout.

“I think that it’s great, people getting involved,” he said.

The Graduate Student Senate election was also held Thursday, and a total of 235 students voted.

Many of the students running for GSS ran unopposed. Carl Smith was elected president of GSS. Kazi Silmi was elected as vice president of communications.
Hashim Pashtun, the current International Affairs commissioner for Student Senate, was elected to the vice president of finance position on GSS. Hannah Farchione was elected as the vice president of legislative affairs.

The election day filled with controversy as a photo circulated on Twitter of ONE ticket members getting students to vote on laptops outside Shively Dining Hall on Thursday afternoon.

Evan Wilkof, the Board of Elections chair, said he and other board members could not interpret this action as a violation of rules.

“If they want to put a computer on campus and ask people to vote, they can do that,” Wilkof said.

The rule states that “no candidate or campaign may display campaign materials or solicit support within 50 feet of any university computer facility or other designated polling location on Election Day,” according to the Election Rules and Procedures. 

The only polling station on campus was on the fourth floor of Baker University Center.

Wilkof also said an email sent to many OU students from the Student Union on Thursday morning encouraging students to vote for Restart did not violate any board rules.

This is the first time in recent years the executives elected have been from different parties, Lombardi said, who in his six years with OU has never witnessed a split executive results.

He said he believes it will bring discourse to the body.

“I think that having a mix like that is a really positive thing,” Lombardi said.

Phillips said he is disappointed Ballinger and George were not also elected, but he will work with Marzec and McDaniel to restructure senate.

“It’s exhilarating to be given this opportunity,” he said.

McDaniel said she looks forward to working with Phillips and acknowledged the need for change in senate.

“There’s a lot to come,” McDaniel said, as tears ran down her face. “We have a lot of work to do.”

Marzec, who also started crying upon hearing her name, said she and rest of the Restart members plan to continue the work they’ve done outside of senate.
“We’re going to keep doing what we’re doing and fighting for students,” Marzec said.


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