With some Republicans eating each other alive on the national stage in the midst of their primary season, here in the humble land of Greensboro, N.C., Guilford College recently held a more peaceful election of our own.
Senior Yahya Alazrak, current Community Senate president, is ordinarily found in Boren Lounge clerking impassioned Community Senate meetings. However, on the night of Monday, April 2, he joined 20 of his student peers in counting several hundred votes following the Community Senate elections held earlier in the day.
The occasional joke broke up the monotony for the students counting the nearly 500 ballots collected in the race for the 2012-2013 traditional student representatives.
Brian Jones, senior and current vice president of Community Senate, told The Guilfordian that during his time at Guilford he had never seen so many people come out to vote for the student government.
“We had nearly 48 percent of the student body come out to vote, which is more than we’ve ever had,” said Jones.
According to Director of Student Leadership and Engagement Erin Fox, after the polls closed, the votes were handled and counted by members of Community Senate’s Steering Committee.
“Volunteers are also able to help count votes and candidates are allowed to have a representative volunteer assure fairness in vote counting,” said Fox.
Junior Tim Leisman and sophomore Rose McIntyre ran for Community Senate president while juniors Paula Skandis and Karen Turner competed for the vice presidential position.
Shortly after midnight, the ballots were all counted. Leisman won by a little more than 20 votes and Skandis won the vice president seat.
Junior Robbie Ennis defeated first-year Alex Morales for the treasurer position while the secretary position went to junior Ali Krantzler, who ran unopposed.
According to Jones, the election process went without a hitch save for some small misunderstandings.
“We learned there were candidates who inadvertently violated some campaigning procedures,” said Jones. “Those items will be addressed in a coming Community Senate meeting and did not rise to the level of disqualification.”
Regardless of the misunderstanding with campaigning, Fox told The Guilfordian that the candidates have supported one another and not had run smear campaigns.
“I hope that is a legacy we can continue in the coming years,” said Fox. “There was no ‘othering’ and it’s highly exciting that this has been a close race. It shows the community’s involvement with the student government.”
The past two Community Senate administrations have been focused on building relationships within the community, making allies of the school administration and figuring out how to work to challenge administrative processes while honoring the process of change, according to Fox.
Though most of the incoming executive board was not immediately available for comment, Leisman told The Guilfordian in an email interview that he was excited to be elected and eager to serve the community.
“I’m so happy to be elected and get the support of the community,” said Leisman. “I know it’s a great responsibility. I feel that I have earned it, and I will not let the community down.”
Alazrak told The Guilfordian that elections this year were more exciting and dramatic than last year. He charged the incoming student leaders to remember their true purpose.
“It’s Senate’s job to represent the students, which I hope the incoming leaders keep in mind,” said Alazrak.
Fox told The Guilfordian that seeing such a close race between all the candidates was exciting for the college as a whole.
“A close race means means we’ve candidates (that) people believe in … whoever wins definitely has a job ahead of them,” said Fox. “There is a weight of the community voice behind each candidate and in the Quaker spirit that the collective is wiser than any one person.”