Results are in, class of 2015 still without president

by Katie Prisco-Buxbaum / Beacon Staff • December 8, 2011

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Jon Allen, at podium, hosted the debate between the class of 2015 candidates last Wednesday. Donovan Birch Jr., left, and Ben Halls, far right, will have a run off election.
Jon Allen, at podium, hosted the debate between the class of 2015 candidates last Wednesday. Donovan Birch Jr., left, and Ben Halls, far right, will have a run off election.

The class of 2015 remains without a president and treasurer after elections results were announced last night. 

According to Patrick Comeau, Student Government Association elections commissioner, the candidates for the two roles will now participate in a runoff election since no one received the 51 percent majority vote necessary to win. 

Ben Halls and Donovan Birch Jr., class of 2015 presidential candidates, and Leeanne Dillmann and Lauren Mandel, candidates for the 2015 treasurer seat, will have a runoff election, the date of which will be determined today. 

According to Comeau, Halls received 36 percent of the vote, while Birch had 30 percent. The third candidate for the position, Paul Almeida, had the lowest number of votes. 

Halls said that with four candidates, runoff races were to be expected. 

“I feel confident,” said the freshman writing, literature and publishing major. “I think lots of people want to see issues addressed rather than pep rallies hosted for Emerson, and I think people will continue to buy into that message.”

To fill out the class of 2015 council, Lilly Joynes will be senator, winning by a 58 percent vote, while fellow candidate Aishwarya Ramani only received 36 percent. Renee Smith, the new class secretary, and Vice President Emily Wald, ran unopposed. 

Caitlin Higgins, who ran unopposed for executive vice president, said she is excited to jump into her busy agenda of student issues including dining option reform, improving teacher evaluations, and creating spirit events to facilitate Emerson pride.

According to Comeau, one third of the student body participated in elections, the highest rate in 10 years. Higgins said that she was shocked by the student involvement. 

“I know I was the only balloted candidate, but I wasn’t expecting to see 400 votes. I won the senator position with 38 votes, so it felt great to see such a big number,” said Higgins, a junior journalism major, who was previously class of 2013 senator. “I hope next election has just as much of a student turnout; this is huge.”

Other elected officials include class of 2012 Vice President Maxwell Peters and Treasurer Joe Petrowski, class of 2014 senator Ramon Calderon, and writing, literature and publishing senator Alyssa Guarino.

In two cases, candidates that had dropped out of the race remained on the ballot and were able to receive votes. Lauren Mandel remained on the ballot for class of 2015 president and received 19 votes. Michael Dunlevy, a candidate for senator of 2014, received 40 percent of votes, compared to those cast for Ramon Calderon who won with 50 percent. 

“What surprised me was that Lauren was still on the ballot when the poll was open, because a week before ballot opened she pulled out [of the race]. She got 5 percent –19 votes,” said Halls. “With that much advanced notice having her still on it was surprising.”

According to Comeau, once a candidate submits an elections packet, they request to be on the ballot and cannot be removed. 

Dunlevy stepped down a few days ago, but was called again after the results were counted because of the number of votes he received. According to Comeau, Dunlevy still maintained that he was no longer interested in running for the position. 

Dunlevy said his decision to step down was based on over-scheduling with other extra-curricular activities, but he plans to run in the future.

“I didn’t want to take office as a senator if I knew I couldn’t make some meetings or fulfill all of my duties. I’m sorry to everyone who voted for me, and if I could I would thank every one of you,” said the political communication major. “But I just figured it wouldn’t be right to get elected if I knew I wouldn’t be putting forth my full effort into the role.”

Lauren Mandel ran as one of two write-in candidates for treasurer of her class and will participate in a runoff election with opponent Leeane Dillmann. 

“When I found out no one else was running, I decided to try to get people to write me in,” said Dillmann, a political communication major. “I was originally planning on running, but time got away from me.” 

Dillmann said her campaign strategy will now be to try to talk to as many students as she can, and that she is familiar with leadership positions from high school experience. 

“I think the runoff elections will be competitive,” said Higgins. “I wish all those students the best of luck.”