College juniors Joyce Kim and Joshua Chilcote will be the next Undergraduate Assembly president and vice president, respectively.
Kim and Chilcote’s victory comes after the Nominations and Elections Committee determined that both Delaney and Bittar had violated the Fair Practice's Code campaign spending limits, which is $50 per candidate
Sunday afternoon, the NEC conducted a Fair Practices Hearing on College junior Gabe Delaney’s and College sophomore Julie Bittar’s campaigns for president and vice president, respectively.
Regardless of the NEC’s FPC decision, both Kim and Chilcote would have won their respective elections since they individually placed higher in the NEC’s point-based system than Delaney and Bittar. However, Delaney would have been elected a UA representative for the School of Arts and Sciences had he not been disqualified.
?The decision comes after Chilcote and College senior Ernest Owens filed a total of four charges against Delaney and Bittar.
The NEC overturned Owens’ single charge, which alleged that Delaney and Bittar had purchased Facebook likes for their campaign Facebook page. The NEC also overturned a charge filed by Chilcote alleging that Delaney and Bittar showed the Penn Political Coalition their Facebook page prior to the start of monetary campaigning.
The two charges the NEC upheld were filed by Chilcote separately against Delaney and Bittar. During the hearing on these charges on Sunday afternoon, Chilcote argued both that Delaney and Bittar had purchased Facebook likes from an independent vendor and that the two candidates had not accounted for certain campaign spending, such as the cost of paper for flyers.
NEC Vice Chair for Elections Frederick Ding declined to comment further about the specifics of the NEC’s determination, citing precedent that the NEC does not comment on specifics about their decisions in order to be sensitive to the permanent records of the individuals against whom they are ruling.
However, Ding said that no precedent was set with regards to purchasing Facebook likes, as “the facts of this case were very specific — hard to extend to other decisions.”
Neither Delaney nor Bittar, who both maintain they ran a clean race, were told the specific reason why they were disqualified.
“I’m going to assume it was the flyers — that third charge was the flyers because they did not approve of Ernest’s complaint. The same logic must have applied to the third complaint,” Delaney said.
Kim commended the work Delaney has completed as a member of the UA in the past. Of his absence from next year’s assembly, she said “That’s tough ... But it is what it is.” She noted that the FPC exists for a reason, and said that she thinks Delaney will still do good work for the student body outside of student government.
Kim herself was absent from the FPC hearing earlier on Sunday afternoon. “Although I was informed that Josh was going to file these claims, ultimately that was Josh,” she said, citing a need to catch up on school work after a “kind of nonstop” week of campaigning.
Kim and Chilcote both said they are excited to get started as the new president and vice president. This year saw the highest voter turnout in recent years, with 53.64 percent voter turnout of the undergraduate student body.
“Honestly, with the vote totals, I was pretty flabbergasted. I was in shock. I wasn’t expecting to win,” Kim said.
“It was a good run. It was a lot of fun doing the campaign with Joyce. I couldn’t imagine a better running mate,” Chilcote said, adding that his first reaction upon learning of their victory was to hug Kim.
A transition UA meeting will take place in April and the UA will select its new executive board, after Kim and Chilcote meet with their predecessors about handing off duties.
In addition to the contested and controversial presidential race, the NEC released the results of all other student government races on Sunday night — following its decision in the FPC hearing.
Nearly all incumbent Class Board officers were re-elected to their roles.
However, the incumbents running for Class Board 2015 Vice Presidents of External and Internal Affairs, Tess Michaels and Kay Lu, respectively, lost their seats to newcomers Srikar Reddy and Allison Bart, a former Daily Pennsylvanian sports editor.
Class Board 2017 incumbent Vice President of Finance Andrew Klimaszewski lost to Ashley Berg. Class Board 2017 College representative Rhea Singh was replaced by Werner Glass, as Singh was not on the ballot last week.
Engineering sophomore Jacob Henner was also elected to the UA following a small snafu at the beginning of the election, wherein the NEC left his name off the ballot for 13 minutes — causing them to restart voting for that race.