Public Health junior Nithya Arun and Engineering junior Carla Voigt will serve as president and vice president of the University of Michigan Central Student Government’s 11th Assembly, according to the student government elections preliminary results. The pair received 1,574 out of the 3,067 votes that were cast, according to preliminary election results obtained by The Daily.
Arun and Voigt ran with the IMPACT party, which endorsed candidates in representative elections for nine schools. Their platform had nine policy areas which included initiatives that addressed anti-racism, health and wellness as well as affordability and accessibility.
Both Arun and Voigt have been involved with CSG since their freshman year. Arun has served as a policy advisor for the past two years, while Voigt filled a vacancy as Speaker of the Assembly in Fall 2020 after the previous speaker was removed from the position.
Following notification of their victory, Arun and Voigt thanked voters and the candidates who ran with them in a statement to The Daily.
“After the many challenges our campus has faced during this time we are incredibly grateful for the opportunity to represent the student body,” their statement read. “This would not have been possible without the immense support we have received from our friends and the entire Michigan community. Thank you to all of the candidates who ran. We acknowledge that this campaign season was contentious, but your passion and will to represent your fellow students was nothing short of inspiring. We are so excited to serve, advocate, and affect change with the student body.”
This victory comes after controversy with the ORGANIZE party’s vice presidential candidate Sam Burnstein, LSA junior, resulted in his resignation from the race hours before voting began. Burnstein dropped out after tweets from 2017 he had liked — that included included xenophobic, anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim rhetoric — surfaced the day before elections. Burnstein’s running mate, LSA junior Sujin Kim, ran alone as the presidential candidate on the ORGANIZE executive ticket and came in second place with 1,384 votes.
Due to rules surrounding when the ballot could be edited, Burnstein’s name continued to appear next to Kim’s on the ticket throughout voting even though he had officially announced his departure from the race by the time it began.
Despite the ORGANIZE executive ticket losing, candidates for the Assembly were elected across both campaigns. In a statement to The Daily, the ORGANIZE campaign thanked their supporters and said they are proud of the coalition of campus activist organizations and students they built and look forward to continuing to work with them.
“We want to thank everyone for believing in our collective potential, and for dedicating so much of their lives over the last few weeks to working towards making it a reality,” their statement read. “Though we are of course disappointed that the results were not what we’d hoped for, we are proud of our team, and we are proud of what we have accomplished together.”
With 241 votes, LSA juniors Abner Santiago and Nicole Lin from the CHANGE party came in third place and ran without endorsing a representative slate of candidates for the Assembly. Santiago and Lin did not respond to The Daily’s request for comment in time for publication.
Along with voting for an executive ticket, students also selected representatives for their respective colleges: 15 for LSA, seven for Rackham, six for College of Engineering, three for the Business School and one for each of the remaining 14 colleges. Party affiliations were not listed on the representative ballots and some candidates were not endorsed by IMPACT or ORGANIZE.
Approximately 6.5% of students voted in the University-wide election, which could be accessed online by all students. This percentage was an increase from 5% in 2020, but a decrease from the 11.9% who voted in 2019.
During the CSG presidential debate, Arun said she will work hard throughout her tenure as president and live up to her campaign promises to make the University an equitable community.
“I cannot wait to start working on a large fund to help students meet daily expenses, subsidize grocery delivery subscriptions and increase funding to SAPAC, among many, many other things,” Arun said at the debate. “Put simply, I cannot wait to impact Michigan.”
During the vice presidential debate, Voigt said while the student body will continue to be confronted with challenges, she and Arun are ready to fight for the students.
“The problems before the student body are complex and multi dimensional, the legacy of an IMPACT administration then will be the building of an army of students that works hand in hand to overcome any and all challenges,” Voigt said.
Daily Staff Reporter Martina Zacker can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.