More candidates spur more votes in student officer elections

Lis Sorensen, Channels Contributer

The number of candidates running for campus offices was higher than in past years, resulting in a higher number of votes.

A total of 863 ballots were cast in the online election, compared with 592 last year. Last year, most positions were uncontested.

“The turnout was not great considering there are 20,000 students on campus,” said Amy Collins, Student Senate adviser.

What students should really be asking themselves, Collins said, is, “Do they deserve my vote?”

Collins met with the newly elected student officers Friday morning and announced that Neekta Izadian won the Student Trustee position by only one vote more than Mercy Campos. That race was too close to call on Thursday when the voting closed.

In another close race, Elie Katzenson was voted next year’s ASG president by a mere four votes.

The day before the polling was set to close, Katzenson and Nicholas Steil were tied, but Katzenson pulled ahead at the last moment, winning the election.

With 287 votes, Katzenson beat her closest competitor, Nicholas Steil with 283 votes.

“We do very important representation on campus committees,” said Katzenson, a New Mexico native and photography and political science major. “I plan on continuing that intensely.”

First runner-up Steil is an active student within the school’s extracurricular activities and has gone from a high school dropout to a successful honor student.

Much of the campaigns for all of the candidates focused on representing the student body and actively speaking for the betterment of the school.

“Let’s figure out how to make all our students feel safe and comfortable,” Katzenson said.

Another influential position filled by the election is the Student Trustee, who is now Levi Palencia, a global studies major. He defeated Brian Osgood, 366 to 300 votes.

Palencia served as the Student Advocate this past year and is the Region VI Treasurer. He represents nine community colleges and over 112,000 students.

“I really want to make sure we represent the student voices properly and accurately, so my biggest challenge will be to find a way to do polls and survey, to gather the opinions of the student body,” Palencia said.

“I don’t think that’s being done.”

Palencia is the current student advocate on the student senate and plans on transferring to UCSB. “My opinions and my thoughts on things don’t matter. I think the student body’s overall consensus on things is what matters,” he said.

In debates during the Friday’s student senate meeting, Palencia displayed diplomacy and took the values of the student body into every decision made.

As Student Trustee, Palencia will hold a powerful position on the Board of Trustees and now has the ability to relate the needs of the school’s student population to the people making executive decisions.