Student Senate Elections: No Reservations

Students hand RSVP ticket major victory at the polls
RSVP members hoist Kyle Triplett after being elected president for Student Senate during the election announcements in Baker University Center yesterday evening. RSVP won all but three seats after more than 4,000 students voted this year. (Dustin Lennert | STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER)

Every single RSVP candidate on the ballot won a seat in next year’s Student Senate, capping an intense month-long campaign against the opposing FACE ticket.

Student Trustee Kyle Triplett of RSVP won the presidential race with 1,961 votes over FACE presidential candidate Matthew Wallace’s 991 and write-in candidate Chris Wagner’s 978.

FACE snagged two seats, and another went to a write-in candidate.     
A total of 4,057 students voted in this year’s election — the highest since 2007, when 4,608 students voted.

“I’m ecstatic about it,” Triplett said. “We were persistent from day one … everyone was really dedicated.”

As Board of Elections Chairman Chauncey Jackson announced the results last night on the first floor of Baker University Center, a mob of supporters wearing bright-green RSVP T-shirts hoisted Triplett above their heads, mirroring last year’s celebration of senate President Jesse Neader’s victory.

Wallace slipped away from the throng and rode up the escalators, unusually quiet after a boisterous campaign.

“I don’t see much of a difference (from last year’s senate),” he said. “I’m sure they’ll do a fine job.”

Wagner, the current Honors Tutorial College senator, gained only 13 fewer votes than Wallace despite entering the campaign two days before the election began.

“I came and I proved my point,” Wagner said. “I showed that negative campaigning doesn’t get you anywhere.”

RSVP candidates and supporters cheered raucously as members of the Board of Elections announced the results. Off-Campus Life Senator-elect Kelsey Higgins jumped out of the crowd and danced in front of the podium when her name was called.

Vice President-elect Roger Jones said his party’s candidates deserved their seats because of their commitment and dedication.

“I’m glad it’s over,” he said. “It was fun, but it’s time. There’s a bunch of people here that worked tirelessly the past few days.”

FACE candidates only landed two seats. Michael Stover, who ran uncontested, was elected University College senator, and Rachel Ackerman was elected one of five at-large senators. One of RSVP’s five at-large candidates was disqualified, but the other four were elected.

Aaron Brown was elected College of Fine Arts senator with 13 write-in votes over Spencer Stidd, who received five write-in votes. Both RSVP and FACE’s candidates for the seat were disqualified early during the campaign.

Triplett said he was not disappointed to lose the three seats.

“We knew we’d lose a few because of the disqualifications,” he said, adding that he is looking forward to working with elected FACE members.

FACE vice presidential candidate Sean Kelley said some unelected members of FACE will apply for other positions on senate.

“This group … really needs a lot of fresh air, and we’ll provide it,” he said. “(Senate) is on the upswing.

“I think we still spoke for the everyday student.”

Wagner plans to apply for a commissioner position and said he is looking forward to next year.

“I think they have good guys running the show,” he said.

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