Only a week after the political madness began, SGA executive elections are—for the most part—already over. While the results of the run-off between Vice President Student of Affairs (VPSA) candidates Ben Offenberg ’11 and Alex Peitz ’10 will not be announced until midnight on Saturday, the planning, campaigning, and voting have all ceased, leaving campus a little bit quieter.
Shortly after discovering at midnight Tuesday, March 3 that he would be involved in a runoff against Peitz, Offenberg printed off new posters and made a four-hour journey across campus to advertise the second round.
Offenberg, however, said he was prepared for the close first round—only nine votes separated him and Peitz—and thus the run-off. “I fully expected a close race, and I fully expected there to be a run-off,” Offenberg said.
Peitz also said she was ready for a narrow margin. Similar to Offenberg, Peitz had postered well past midnight for the election. “For run-offs I already had posters printed out, because I was kind of expecting it,” she said. “I have never not been in a run-off.”
But while a heated VPSA race pushed Offenberg and Peitz to continue their campaigning, other candidates had opposite reactions to their respective contests. Vice President of Academic Affairs (VPAA) candidate Jacob Reisberg ’10 withdrew from his run-off against rival VPAA candidate Joanna DeMars ‘10 in the afternoon Thursday during voting. Trailing 43 percent to 28 percent in the general election to Demars, Reisberg said that he decided to “bow out graciously” and remove much of the stress from the election.
“I felt like there was no point in making the voters speak again,” Reisberg said. “Also, there was no point in making Joanna have to be nervous for another two days.”
Another candidate’s withdrawal was not initially as clear-cut as Reisberg’s. Most students did not foresee Presidential candidate John Burrows’ ’10 premature departure from the presidential race less than six hours prior to the election Monday night, and were left with little explanation.
Burrows, who is currently the SGA VPSA, said that he dropped out of the race due to a “confluence of factors.” He stressed the importance of remaining in touch with students’ wants and needs as a cabinet executive, and said the nature of the position grew isolating with time in a way that would inhibit his productivity as an SGA President.
“People have lost trust in me, and I have a much bigger problem with that than the position,” Burrows said. “To remain an effective advocate while still maintaining those friendships and relationships and the actual lived experiences that matter, that’s why I decide to drop out, because I’m still going to pursue and be an advocate while not necessarily being part of the system.”
In the two-person race that resulted from Burrows’ withdrawal, Presidential candidate Harry Krejsa ’10 handily won the election over Fernando Jenkins ’10, effectively laying the first seeds for the formation of next year’s SGA.
Even though the VPSA race is still unresolved, Krejsa has already begun to roughly mold the shape of the SGA Cabinet and Joint Board, with a post-election rhetoric heavily reliant on what Krejsa said is a “fundamental reimagining of what the senator position is.” Krejsa said he has begun talks with current Assistant Treasurer and future Treasurer Cyrus Witthaus and Demars, and scheduled a meeting with College President Russell K. Osgood for today in hopes of getting a head start on the duties of next fall.
Krejsa said he hopes to have his new SGA Cabinet ratified as soon as possible after spring break so that they can begin shadowing the current cabinet “immediately.”
“Each of us will follow around our predecessor as much time as our schedules can permit,” Krejsa said. “Most importantly, we want to see them on a daily basis. … I want my cabinet to know [their roles] now so that as soon as we get back on campus we can settle right back into that job.”
The candidates who lost their bids said they have varying plans. Mona Ghadiri ’11, who ran for VPSA, said the race only stoked her desire to continue in SGA. Reisberg said he plans to continue in JudCo but will likely abstain from seeking an SGA position.
With the elections past, the candidates tended to agree on one thing—they are glad it’s over. “I’m horribly behind on homework,” Ghadiri said. “I’m glad to be done with it.”
—Additional reporting by Ari Anisfeld, David Logan & Brian Sherwin