Dennis, Cunningham to lead Assembly

by Sara McGahan | 4/14/14 7:38pm

2,376 people cast ballots in this year's election, an increase of 531 from last year.

Casey Dennis ’15 and Frank Cunnningham ’16 were elected Student Assembly president and vice president on Monday. Dennis garnered 930 votes, 281 votes ahead of write-in candidate Sophia Pedlow ’15, according to a press release from the Election Planning and Advisory Committee. A total of 2,376 people cast ballots in this year’s election, an increase of 531 from last year.

Pedlow received 649 votes; Jay Graham ’15, 609 votes; Yesuto Shaw ’15, 340 votes; and Jon Miller ’15, 265 votes.

Cunningham, who ran on a ticket with Dennis, swept the vice presidential election with 1,108 votes, 473 votes ahead of Matt Robinson ’15, who ran with Graham. Harry Qi ’17, who ran with Miller, received 240 votes.

Both Dennis and Cunningham, who will replace Adrian Ferrari ’14 and Michael Zhu ’14, expressed their excitement at the large voter turnout.

“I am honored that the student body came out and voted for us,” Dennis said. “We truly want to make a difference at this school.”

Dennis said that his priorities as Assembly president will include increasing student engagement and Assembly transparency, partially through weekly office hours and a termly “state of the student body” video. Dennis also said he hopes to mandate Dartmouth Bystander Initiative training during freshman Orientation.

Cunningham said that turnout reflected enthusiasm for their platform, “Take Back Dartmouth,” and goal of re-energizing the student body.

Miller said that he was “flabbergasted” by the allocation of votes.

“I think the results show that the traditional way of campaigning might not be the best option,” Miller said, adding that he, Graham and Shaw all pursued similar campaign strategies.

Graham, Pedlow, Qi, Robinson and Shaw did not respond to requests for comment by press time.

Chase Mertz ’15 was elected 2015 Class Council president. Danny Reitsch ’16 and Victor Muchatuta ’16 will serve as 2016 Class Council president and vice president, respectively. Paul Ghazal ’17 and Elisabeth Schricker ’17 will serve as 2017 Class Council president and vice president.

Janelle Bullock ’15, Taylor Cathcart ’15, Chase Gilmore ’16, Grant Mortell ’16, Muchatuta, Daniel Pham ’16, Julia Pomerantz ’16 and Andrew Zhu ’16 were elected to serve on the Committee on Standards or Organizational Adjudication Committee.

Since 2011, EPAC has used an approval voting system to conduct Assembly elections. Instead of voting for one candidate, students may vote for as many candidates they feel are qualified.

On Sunday morning, Ke Li ’16 sent out a campus-wide email asking students to participate in a survey on voting systems. An academic project, the survey aimed to compare the results of “approval voting,” in which individuals can vote for as many candidates as they like, with “majority judgment,” in which voters rate candidates and whoever earns the highest median score wins.

The survey also tried to determine if student knowledge of a candidate’s platform influences election results.

Professor emeritus of mathematics and social sciences Robert Norman, who is Li’s research advisor, said that he believes the approval voting system is the most effective system for Student Assembly elections and reflects student opinion most accurately.

Elections were held from midnight to 8 p.m. on Monday.

Miller and Muchatuta are members of The Dartmouth opinion staff. Cunningham is a member of The Dartmouth business staff. Dennis is a former member of The Dartmouth staff.