For the first time since 2004, Penn’s incoming class has elected a female president, the Nominations and Elections Committee announced on Friday.
College freshman Ariel Koren was elected 2015 Class Board president. Nine other freshmen were elected to the Class Board and eight to the Undergraduate Assembly.
“It is both gratifying and humbling [to be elected],” Koren said. “It didn’t occur to me that I would win or lose the election because I was a woman.”
The elections saw a record voter turnout of 65.7 percent, an increase from last year’s 56 percent. Unlike last fall when three violations were filed against three different candidates, no candidates violated the campaign rules this year.
The NEC voting system experienced a “glitch,” and miscounted votes for the position of Vice President of Internal Affairs, NEC Chairman and College senior Shom Sarkar wrote in an email.
The system malfunctioned and double-counted votes for the first candidate, NEC Vice Chairwoman and College junior Ariela Cohen wrote in an email.
“The error was unforeseen,” Sarkar wrote, adding the NEC would be in touch with the Office of Student Affairs to “encourage them to look into a [system] update.”
Cruz said the incident was “unfortunate” and “humiliating.”
“I couldn’t believe such a mistake was made here at Penn, especially by the NEC. They’re really big on political rules and protocol and they made a big mistake here,” Cruz said.
“I am not a quiet Al Gore. I will be back after this election mishap,” he wrote in an email.
College junior Janet Chow, a prose editor for Penn’s feminist magazine The F-Word, thinks that it was “about time” a female class president was elected.
Chow added that girls may be less likely to run for president because they face “a lot more scrutiny on things that don’t matter” such as physical appearance and reputation.
United Minorities Council Chairman Chris Cruz, who is a College junior and UA representative, thinks Koren’s election will “inherently inspire more females to run for student government,” he wrote in an email.
Wharton freshman Matthew DeGagne thought that Koren gained more votes neither because she is a woman nor because her platform was well known. “People didn’t respond to the Dream Team concept so well, so she was the only other alternative,” DeGagne said.
The Dream Team was an unofficial ticket under which four freshmen ran for UA positions. Wharton freshman Daniel Fine and College freshman Gabe Delaney, both members of the Dream Team, were also competing for the position of Class Board president.
College freshman Victor Debenedetti believes freshman elections should be held a “month or a month and a half” later into the semester so freshmen get to know the candidates better.
“It’s still a popularity contest at this [time of year],” DeGagne added.Comments powered by Disqus
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