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Senate suspends one-ticket Junior Class Council election, names winner

| Thursday, February 15, 2018

Student senate voted to suspend the Junior Class Council election for the class of 2020 and declared the only ticket the winner Wednesday night.

Laksumi Sivanandan will be president, Brandon Garcia will be vice president, Quentin Colo will be treasurer and Gabrielle Meridien will be secretary.

Judicial Council president and senior Matt Ross brought the order before the student senate to instigate the vote.

The majority of senate supported the suspension, with only four members voting against it. The dissentors included junior Sebastian Lopez, the senator from O’Neill Hall, who “vehemently opposed” the order.

“Why are we shortcutting democracy?” Lopez said. “Why are we stealing the freedom of choice?”

Lopez suggested there were not more tickets because of a lack of advertisement of the election.

Sophomore Joe Witt, president of the current Sophomore Class Council, voted to pass the suspension and opposed Lopez’s suggestion regarding the advertisement of the election.

“There are three tickets running for Sophomore Class Council and two running for Senior, so I don’t really think that [advertisement] is a big deal,” Witt said. “Laksumi is one of the best vice presidents [and] one of the best people who I am very happy to hand the reigns over to.”

Witt said Sivanandan, Garcia, Colo and Meridien will all be present at the upcoming Winter Carnival on Saturday and at the Gatsby Dance if their future constituents would like to meet them.

Senior Sara Dugan, president of Senior Class Council, also expressed support for the suspension of the campaign.

“I would echo Joe’s sentiment that it is unnecessary and honestly just annoying to Laksumi and her ticket to not pass this,” Dugan said.

Following Dugan’s comment, senate voted to pass the order, making Sivanandan and her ticket the future Junior Class Council.

Senate also heard from representatives from two campus groups promoting the upcoming Be The Match Drive, a nationwide effort to break the world record of the most people added to the bone marrow registry in a single day.

Junior Clay Elmore, last year’s president of the Notre Dame Be The Match club, implored student senate to attend the drive and promote it among their dorms.

The drive is a result of the return of 20-year-old Chris Betancourt’s battle with leukemia last September, Elmore said. With the help of his friend Dillon Hill, 19, Betancourt has created a bucket list for the last one or two years of his life.

On the list was Betancourt’s wish to break a world record, and the record that Betancourt and Hill settled on was to have the most people register with Be The Match, a bone marrow transplant registry, in a single day, Elmore said.

“Universities all around the nation, and not just universities … are hosting these drives, and everyone who gets registered on March 1 is going towards the total,” Elmore said. “Any person registered at Notre Dame will be part of the world record, if they’re able to break it.”

The drive will take place March 1 at the Duncan Student Center in room 246 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Elmore said. There will also be a table on the first floor from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

To register with Be The Match, students only need to have their cheeks swabbed, a five-minute process, Elmore said. The swab will allow the doctors to find donors of the correct ethnicity in order to make a suitable pair for the transplant.

“Sometimes, pairing people with their match can be the only way to save a life,” Elmore said. “Bone marrow transplants are by no means a 100 percent cure, but if you do get to the point of a bone marrow transplant, usually patients are pretty desperate for something and are willing to take on whatever challenges it presents.”

The Love Your Melon campus group will also be present at the drive, sophomore Jenna Koenig, who also spoke to senate regarding the drive, said.

“[Love Your Melon’s] mission is to put a hat on every kid battling cancer,” she said.

Love Your Melon uses the profits from their beanie sales to support non-profit partners, Koenig said.

“Be The Match is one of our non-profit partners, so that’s why we’re doing the drive with them,” she said.

Senior and student body president Becca Blais expressed support for the drive because of her own experience receiving a bone marrow transplant.

“I had a random donor that I found through Be The Match,” Blais said. “It’s really important to me, personally, that we can get a lot of people involved and it makes such a big difference. A cheek swab literally will save someone’s life.”

Seven minutes into the meeting, the senate voted against two senators’ motions to close the meeting, allowing the meeting to continue as planned with the presentations from Be The Match and Judicial Council.

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About Mary Bernard

Mary Bernard is a senior with a major in Anthropology and a minor in Journalism, Ethics and Democracy. She grew up in St. Louis, Missouri, and is the Social Media Editor for The Observer, managing and overseeing all things audience engagement.

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