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Photo: Catherine de Luna / The Daily Pennsylvanian

Last week, the Nominations and Elections Committee announced the Special Elections results after five Undergraduate Assembly members resigned.

College junior Gabrielle Jackson, College sophomore Samara Wyant and College sophomore Kevin Myers were elected to three vacancies for UA School of Arts and Sciences Representative, with College sophomore Santosh Nori as the runner-up.

Earlier this semester, five UA members resigned for a variety of reasons. College senior and UA President Kat McKay cited time commitment as the biggest issue members face. “It’s hard to gauge in April if you will really end up having the time to focus on the UA in October … we respect the choices of our former colleagues to pursue academic, personal and professional successes in other ways,” she said.

For College sophomore Hannah Sweeney and College senior Ivan Sandoval, the decision to resign was caused by a unique class they are currently enrolled in called “Living Deliberately” — commonly known as “the monk class” — which allows students to experience aspects of monastic asceticism. The course limits their communication by requiring participants to take a vow of silence and refrain from using social media, culminating in a trip to Thailand to research monasteries.

College senior Ray Clark also chose to take a step back to focus on academics.

“I needed to finish my last year strong and invest the energy I do have into being the best student I can be here,” he said. “However, I made a personal commitment to finish my projects alongside [College junior and] Social Justice Director Justin Hopkins in order to uphold the promises I’ve made.”

Two of the vacancies were filled with runner-ups from the General Election in the spring. But after the Special Election was announced, College sophomore Tonna Obaze also made the decision to resign from her position, creating a third vacancy.

Obaze explained that her decision to leave the UA was “based on the fact that I believe students deserve representatives who are 100 percent committed and passionate to their role on the UA … I made a promise to serve the students and the best way to do that was to step down."

Despite the resignations, the new members believe they can manage their time and balance their commitments.

Jackson says that she will make time to work on something she really cares about. Myers similarly recognizes the necessity of proper time management, but is confident he can handle the commitment. Also involved in The Mask and Wig Club and the University Honor Council, Myers said that he “has not had any issues balancing these organizations, academics and UA.”

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