Emma Dillon elected Student Senate President

Tyler McNeil
Managing Editor

Emma Dillon defeated Shane Batcher by 25 votes for Student Senate president with the Surprise Party taking the majority of the executive board.

All of the candidates — with the exception of treasurer elect Daniel Kusky — gathered outside of the Student Activities office after the polls closed to await election results. Dillon previously doubted a win against Batcher over ten minutes before election committee chair Brody O’Connor announced her victory.

“It was crazy,” said Dillon a minute after hearing the results.

Dillon’s win was her second consecutive victory over the academic year after becoming freshman class president in the fall. Including Dillon, all of the freshman class presidential candidates in the fall were elected to work as student leaders next academic year.

“There really wasn’t a bad candidate this year,” said senior class president Alex Shannon.

Last week’s election had the second highest voter turnout since 2008. It failed to break the highest recent voter turnout made last year with 648 votes.

“Over 500 people went out to vote so you should all be proud of that,” said Alfredo Balarin, assistant director of student life, addressing the candidates before the election results came in.

The election also continued recent trends. Manik Elahi’s win was the fourth straight year that students were elected both to executive board and trustee positions.

Despite continuing back-to-back Senate trends in the election, Elahi considered his win to be a turning point, about six months after losing the freshman class presidential seat to Dillon.

After hearing the results, Elahi related his victory to quote from his mother, who died when he was seven years old.

“My mom used to say ‘whenever there are two doors closing, there are … ten doors opening,’ and it literally happened like that today,” said Elahi.

While Elahi’s victory against Shane Batcher and Stephen Pelletier for trustee had the narrowest voting margin by 15 points, his win over Sam Paradise in the secretary race has the widest voting gap.

Paradise declined to comment.

During the election, Paradise would often advocate for Dillon before his own candidacy, which she believes reduced his notoriety among voters during the election.

“He’d introduce me before he even introduced himself, so I couldn’t have won without him,” she said.

Candidates ran unopposed for the majority of positions. Although he lost the student trustee seat by 136 votes, Pelletier secured the vice presidency, running unopposed. The spot originally had two potential contenders from the People’s Party until both candidates failed to make it into the race.

“It’s not that I necessarily wanted to win this way, but I obtained the role the best I could, and I will do everything I can to serve it,” he said.

While Pelletier and Kusky faced competition earlier during the petition process, senior class president elect Jad El Khoury had no competition throughout campaign season.

“I really think competition brings out something in me that wasn’t really brought here, but I did really go out of my way to help support the party,” he said.

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