News, University News

Zhou ’20 elected UCS president

Student body votes De Georgia ’20 as UFB chair, passes Brown Divest referendum

By
Senior Staff Writer
Friday, March 22, 2019

William Zhou ’20 (right) was elected UCS president Thursday night with 50.1 percent of the vote. Zhou currently serves as UCS vice president.

Updated 2:30 a.m. March 22, 2019.

William Zhou ’20 was elected president of the Undergraduate Council of Students and Julian De Georgia ’20 was chosen as chair of the Undergraduate Finance Board in this year’s elections, announced Elections Board Co-Chairs Katie Barry ’19 and Kathryn Stack ’19 Thursday night on the steps of the Stephen Robert ’62 Campus Center.

Jason Carroll ’21 will serve as the next UCS vice president and Fatoumata Kabba ’22 will serve as the next UFB vice chair. All elected candidates will begin their terms in the fall.

Student coalition Brown Divest’s referendum passed with around 69 percent of the vote. The referendum asked whether the University should “divest all stocks, funds, endowment and other monetary instruments from companies complicit in human rights abuses in Palestine” and also “establish a means of implementing financial transparency and student oversight of the University’s investments.”

Around 44 percent of the undergraduate student body voted in this year’s elections — 3,076 out of 7,043 students. This represents the highest voter turnout in three years. Turnout stood at approximately 36 percent in 2018, 20 percent in 2017 and 29 percent in 2016, according to numbers provided by Barry and Stack. Brown Divest’s referendum passed with 1,939 of 2,810 votes.

The University is not obligated to take any action based on the referendum outcome, The Herald previously reported.

The University expects “to communicate with the campus community on Friday after carefully considering the results of the referendum,” wrote Director of News and Editorial Development Brian Clark in email to The Herald.

Shortly after results were announced, Brown Divest and Brown Students for Israel posted responses to the referendum outcome on their Facebook pages.

“Today is a historic day for Brown as we take an emboldened and clear stand against the University’s complicity in human rights abuses in Palestine and in similar systems of oppression across the world,” Brown Divest wrote. “We will continue this momentum and come together as a community to hold the administration accountable.”

BSI called the referendum outcome “a defeat for all students who believe there is a better way to pursue peace between Israelis and Palestinians, who seek intellectually honest discourse about Israel and the conflict and who prioritize a safe and inclusive community at Brown.” They pledged to “continue to share our beliefs with Brown’s administration and encourage them to reject divestment.”

Zhou, who is currently UCS vice president, received 50.1 percent of the vote to defeat current UCS Chair of Campus Life Melissa Lee ’20 and UCS Secretary Vanessa Garcia ’20.5. Lee earned 28.8 percent and Garcia received 14.1 percent of the vote. The remaining seven percent of the vote went to write-in candidates.

“I’m very excited, very honored to be given an opportunity to represent our incredible student body,” Zhou told The Herald after results were announced. “I’m really looking forward to working with the newly-elected UFB and UCS representatives, and to make some change and hopefully make Brown a better place for all students.” Zhou’s election marks the first time since 2015 that a UCS president-elect has served on the Council at the time of their election, The Herald previously reported.

De Georgia, who is currently UFB vice chair, won 51.9 percent of the vote to overtake UFB At-Large Member Alesandro Walker ’20 in the race for chair.

“I think that there’s a lot that we can do to improve,” De Georgia told The Herald. “I’m excited about the opportunity.”

Carroll, who is UCS Appointments chair, defeated UCS Chair of Student Activities Alex Song ’20 with 72 percent of the vote. Song received 25.8 percent of the vote and write-in candidates receiving the remaining votes.

“I’m super passionate about UCS and that won’t change,” Song told The Herald. “There are plenty of other places you can do amazing stuff on UCS, and Jason will do an awesome job.”

Kabba, who is currently a UFB member at-large, won 51.9 percent of the vote to defeat At-Large Members Phillip Champagne ’21 and Peter Deegan ’21, who received 28.7 and 19.5 percent of the vote, respectively.

The races for chairs of Academic Affairs, Student Activities, Campus Life and Student Wellness were all uncontested. Two candidates without prior UCS experience — Livingstone Harriott Jr. ’20 and Chima Amushie ’21 — will assume the roles of chair of Academic Affairs and Student Activities, respectively.

Zanagee Artis ’22, a member of the Council’s Academic Affairs and Campus Life committees,will be chair of Campus Life, and Shivani Nishar ’20 was re-elected chair of Student Wellness.

All the unsuccessful candidates for UFB chair and vice chair were elected to serve as UFB at-large representatives. Current members Gianna DeVincenzo ’22, Nimo Ismail ’21 and Jeewon Shin ’21 and newcomers Okezie Okoro ’22 and Akilesh Raman ’22 were also chosen as at-large representatives.

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