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Class elections vary from close to unopposed

Eva Binda | Friday, February 23, 2007

With tickets for Junior and Senior Class Council each running unopposed, the Student Senate voted unanimously Wednesday to suspend the elections and declared the candidates the winners of their respective classes. However, four tickets will run for Sophomore Class Council Monday.

Bridget Keating, Chris Doughty, Megan O’Hara and Kathleen Coverick were declared Senior Class president, vice president, secretary and treasurer, respectively.

The Junior Class Council ticket was composed of Bob Reish, Joey Brown, Callie Pogge and Alvin Adjei.

Last year’s Class Council races all featured at least two tickets, and Judicial Council president Liz Kozlow said it was “not expected” to see a ticket run unopposed.

“It is surprising especially because it happened for two classes this year,” she said.

And while four tickets may seem like a lot in comparison, Kozlow said it’s “common” to see more tickets running for sophomore class positions. Five ran last year.

“Students are excited to get involved and feel ready to lead their class,” she said.

The four tickets competing for Sophomore Class Council are David Landry, Nick Abercrombie, Laura Bodien and Dan Dixon; Adam Mathews, Jenna Adsit, Kathleen McDonald and Mike Rose; Grant Schmidt, Jeff Lakusta, Joy Hwang and Kim Kyrouac; and Frank Vento, Cristina Romano, Sean Callinan and Gavin Green.

A fifth ticket was also running, but dropped out of the race on Wednesday after two members decided they no longer wanted to run.

The four tickets include members with a variety of different backgrounds and activities – athletics like men’s varsity lacrosse and women’s water polo to academic clubs like Anthropology Club to religious organizations like Freshman Peer Leaders and Gospel Choir.

All of the tickets hope they will be able to get input from their class as to what events should be planned and what the council should accomplish next year.

“We’d like to bring things to the class and allow them to have input,” presidential candidate Mathews said.

Fellow presidential hopeful Schmidt said it was “so beneficial” to interact with his classmates and find out what they want from student government.

“Even though there are so many people, you’d be surprised by how many people are in agreement,” he said.

While all of the platforms differ in certain plans, one theme is shared: improving class unity through a class formal, class trips and more apparel.

Despite the long list of ideas on his ticket’s Web site, Schmidt admitted it wasn’t unique. “Our platform is extremely generic and we did it for a reason. There’s so many ways you can go with things,” he said. “We’re not looking to change the world, but there’s lots of fun things you can do and a lot of impact you can make.”

Although some of the tickets are already involved in student government, others see problems with the current Freshman Class Council and want to rectify things.

“The major problem this year was communication between the Freshman Class Council and the actual freshman class,” presidential candidate Vento said.

Vento also said this year’s Freshman Class Council “wasn’t a good representation of the class” since freshmen voted so early in the first semester.

Mathews criticized the lack of transparency this year.

“This year’s Freshman Class Council did a lot of good things, but [the freshmen] didn’t really know what was going on or what was happening during proceedings,” Mathews said.

This dissatisfaction with current conditions motivated some of the tickets.

“We wanted to offer a different choice than is usually available. We wanted to present a ticket of students who were responsible in doing their job, but would also have fun with it and really relate to students,” presidential candidate Landry said.

Kozlow is hoping for at least 50 percent turnout by freshmen to vote for their class council.

“Since it’s their first time to really vote [for their class council leaders], they’re hopefully going to take it seriously,” she said.

Freshmen will be able to vote Monday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on the Judicial Council web site.

As for the unanimously chosen Junior and Senior Class Council tickets, the election process was much smoother. But new class presidents Keating – who also writes news for The Observer – and Reish said they were not as surprised as Kozlow about running unopposed.

“We feel we’ve proved ourselves. We didn’t need to beat another ticket this year to prove that,” said Keating, who served as junior class president this year.

“I think it just attests to how we did this year,” said Reish, the class vice president during both his freshman and sophomore years. “Our ticket definitely deserved it since we’re very experienced.”

Reish said his ticket was composed of individuals from “a wide variety of groups on campus.” He plans to “hit the ground running” and not only plan events for the rising junior class but also “focus on co-sponsoring events with other classes.”

Keating praised the Judicial Council and Kozlow for how they handled the elections.

“I’ve always known the Judicial Council and Liz Kozlow to act professionally and in accordance with the [Senate] Constitution,” she said.

Keating said she looks forward to focusing on “both those time-honored Notre Dame traditions and ones that the Class of 2008 has already made their own.”

“We’re class council veterans and dedicated to serving the class with diverse talents and perspectives,” she said.