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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

UJ petition rejected as final elections results come in

Published: September 26, 2008
Section: Front Page

Wednesday night, Rosenthal Quad Senator candidate Stephen Robinson ’11 filed a case with the Union Judiciary (UJ) citing unfair advantages in his senate race. At a meeting Thursday night, the UJ decided not to grant cert to the petition, however the filing of the case is just one of many odd occurrences that characterize Tuesday’s election.

UJ Justice Jordan Rothman ’09 explained that the UJ decided not to grant cert because Robinson failed to cite any violations of specific bylaws or elections rules.

Robinson, who garnered 21 votes in the primary round, lost to Philips Loh ’11 who received 26. Because he received over 51% of the vote, Loh won the election.

Robinson explained that when he officially declared his candidacy near the deadline he was told that would be running unopposed. Union Secretary Tia Chatterjee ’09 then told him that an elections commissioner would meet with him “to go over rules and sign the contract.”

Chatterjee declined to comment on the case.

Robinson said that “no elections commissioner took it upon themselves to contact me.” After he did not hear from a commissioner, Robinson explained, he sought out a commissioner living near him.

When Robinson brought his materials to Chatterjee the Sunday before the Tuesday election, he was informed that he was ineligible because he had turned in his materials too late. He was also informed that another candidate, Loh, had entered the race.

Chatterjee then suggested he run as a write-in candidate. Shortly before the election voting began, Chatterjee decided to allow Robinson to run as a ballot candidate, Robinson said.

“I lost by five votes,” he said, “I feel at some level I was at a disadvantage and it had nothing to do with any action I did.”

“The disadvantages I faced were a direct result of actions made by student Union officials,” he continued. “The fairest way to ameliorate the situation would be to hold another election. I just want a fair election.”

He added, “if the results are the same, I’m ok with that. I don’t want to be a sore loser.”

The Robinson case is just one of many anomalies that studded Student Union Senate elections this fall.

In the Class of 2012 Senate race, three candidates, Supreetha Gubbala, Akash Vadalia, and Joseph Sloman, were on the primary round ballot. Gubbala and Vadalia won 35% and 29% of the vote respectively while Sloman received 25%.

After the primary round, all three candidates received an e-mail from Chatterjee saying they would continue to a final round. However, elections rules stipulate that if a final round would feature the same ballot as the primary round, the primary round results are final. The mistake was fixed shortly, Sloman explained, when he received an e-mail from Chatterjee stating that he would not continue into the final round.

In the primary round, no official ballot candidates ran for TYP, Village, or Charles River Senator.

Chenchao Lu ’09 ran as a write-in candidate for Charles River senator. Lu, a Community Advisor, explained, “I was surprised when I saw that no one was running. I thought it was a great idea because I’m a CA anyway…it’s an opportunity to represent the residents and serve the community.” In the final round, Lu received 22 votes.

Terrence Johnson (TYP) ran a successful write-in campaign for TYP Senator and won the final round with three votes.

No write-in candidates emerged in the race for Village Quad Senator. The position will remain open until winter elections next semester.

Other races including Mods and East Quad featured only one candidate.

Jonathan Freed ’09 won the position of Mods Senator.

Sara Enan ’11 ran a write-in campaign against sole ballot candidate Edward Tanenbaum ’11 in the contest for East Quad Senator. Enan received 51 write-in votes to Tanabaum’s 50 ballot votes to earn a spot on the final round ballot. Enan won in the final round with 78 votes. Tanenbaum received 59.

Andy Hogan ’11 won the race for North Quad Senator in the first round with a 56% mandate. Hogan, a sophomore, beat his nearest opponent by 40 votes, the largest margin in the primary round.

Andrew Brooks ’09, who filed a UJ case last year after losing the election for Senator-at-large, and who recently lost the special Vice-President election last week, was elected Ziv Quad Senator. “I’m so happy that I won…it’s a final opportunity to serve.” He added, “I still want to make an impact.”

The races for Massell Quad Senator and Castle Quad Senator were the most competitive in the primary round. Nipun Marwaha ’12 and Narayan Wong ’12 moved onto the final round with 29% and 20% of the vote respectively. Marwaha won in the final round by a seven vote margin.

In the race for Castle Quad Senator, Sahar Massachi ’11 and Nathan Robinson ’11 finished the primary round in a dead heat with 16 votes each. Robinson beat Massachi in the final round by three votes.