MForward candidates DeAndree Watson and Brendan Campbell were elected the next Michigan Student Assembly president and vice president early this morning.
Watson and Campbell, both LSA juniors, defeated LSA freshman Briana Hatcher and LSA sophomore Lena Cintron of the Defend Affirmative Action Party. The voting numbers were unavailable as of 2:45 a.m. today.
Watson and Campbell’s campaign emphasized MSA’s potential for more student advocacy and the candidates’ hope to increase interest in MSA among the student body.
Interviewed after results came in early this morning, Watson — who currently serves as MSA’s speaker — said he is excited to take the top position.
“I want everyone to know that I’m extremely honored to know that so many students have entrusted me with the responsibilities of president,” Watson said. “They can expect great things from this administration.”
According to unofficial election results, this year’s turnout was 11 percent. While the turnout dropped from last year’s 14 percent, Watson said he is happy with the number.
“I’m at least excited that over 10 percent of the student body decided to vote in this election, especially considering that it wasn’t the most contested,” Watson said.
MSA Election Director Breaha Patterson wrote in an e-mail interview early this morning that more numbers for the election would be available today. Like Watson, she wrote that she is satisfied with the voter turnout.
“I would have liked to see a higher turnout of course, we think the elections are important and strive to get as many students as possible,” Patterson wrote.
For this semester’s election, the student governments also brought back polling stations — which had not been used in 10 years — in addition to online voting with the hopes of getting more students to vote.
“I definitely think the parties did a good job with visibility and with the addition of polling stations, it at least put into people’s minds that there was an election,” Patterson wrote. “… I think it actually gave voters a chance to ask questions that they might not have gotten the opportunity to otherwise.”
Hatcher, whose campaign was centered on bringing the campus community together and making it more diverse, said while she was disappointed with the election’s outcome, she is looking forward to continuing her work with DAAP and is optimistic about next year’s elections.
“I’m a little bit disappointed, but I guess that just comes along with it,” Hatcher said. “I really hope that a lot of things that (Watson and Campbell) said in their platform, I really hope that they get them done because they really do have some nice points.”
Out of 39 total representative seats on MSA, MForward won 28 spots.
In opposition to the MSA parties, the student-run satire magazine on campus, The Every Three Weekly, endorsed a a fictitious presidential candidate, Karlos Marks, and encouraged students to write-in his name on the ballot.
“The Every Three Weekly supported Marks’s campaign because we were tired of the usual uninspiring MSA candidates …” The Every Three Weekly editorial staff wrote in an e-mail interview prior to the election.
According to unofficial election results, 55 percent of students who cast their ballots voted yes on a poll question on the MSA ballot inquiring whether students would want to pay a maximum of $4 per term to have free copies of The New York Times on campus. MSA planned on using the ballot question to assess student sentiment on The New York Times College Readership Program, which had a trial run on campus last week.
Also elected in the student government elections is LSA junior Ellen Steele, who won the student position on the University’s Department of Public Safety Oversight Committee, an advisory board that hears grievances against the campus police. Steele ran uncontested.
The second student seat on the committee will become open in May. MSA plans to fill the position with a write-in candidate from this week’s election.