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Unopposed Steele ’18 elected UCS president, Akasaka ’18 wins UFB chair

Roughly 22 percent of undergraduates vote in election, all UCS positions uncontested

Running unopposed, Chelse-Amoy Steele ’18 was elected the president-elect of the Undergraduate Council of Students. Naveen Srinivasan ’19 will become the vice president of UCS. Both ultimately ran unopposed, as the race for vice president became uncontested after Alex Volpicello ’18 dropped out Monday night. Steele assumes her position with no previous UCS experience, and Srinivasan currently serves as chair of student activities on UCS.

Yuzuka Akasaka ’18 and Drew To ’19 won the race for chair and vice chair of the Undergraduate Finance Board, respectively, announced Katherine Barry ’19 and Kathryn Stack ’19, chairs of the UCS Election Board, Thursday night just after 10 p.m. on the steps of the Stephen Robert ’62 Campus Center.

With 74 percent of the vote, Akasaka decisively defeated Aryan Chhabria ’18. Akasaka received 943 votes to Chhabria’s 307 out of 1,269 total votes, according to the UCS Election Board. With only 52 percent of the vote, To narrowly defeated Julian DeGeorgia ’20, 595 to 533, out of 1,152 total votes. Akasaka previously sat on UCS and To was a member of UFB.

Voting began Mar. 21 at noon and ended Mar. 23 at noon. Candidates were announced Mar. 15 and campaigning began the following day.

Roughly 22 percent of the undergraduate body voted — approximately 1,400 out of 6,320 students — a decline from the 1,892 students who voted last year. Last year’s figures, however, represented an immense decrease from the 3,152 student who voted in 2015.

1,148 students cast a vote for Steele and 1,118 voted for Srinivasan, though both candidates ran unopposed.

Just after the results were announced, Steele said she felt “excited to continue working with different student groups (and) with the administration.”

Though the race for UCS president was uncontested, Steele felt it did not affect her priorities.

Running uncontested was “definitely not something I take lightly,” she said, but “it hasn’t changed how I want to run my campaign or how I want to conduct the rest of the next year. I still want to be diligent in being the best liaison I can possibly be for the Brown community. I still want to be open to critique.”

Steele recognized it was not only her race that was uncontested but also the elections of all other UCS positions.

“I understand that … people have limited options for where to place their trust,” Steele said. “That is an issue.”

Steele reiterated her platform’s priorities, which include addressing the understaffing within the Title IX Office and within the Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion.

“My first priorities are working with the folks who are in charge of the interim process for the Title IX Office and re-staffing that office, but also addressing the reasons for why that understaffing is a current problem,” Steele said.

For the OIDI, Steele wants to address the “burden that’s placed on them from being needed from so many places on campus.”

In addition to Steele and Srinivasan, three other uncontested UCS positions were filled. William Zhou ’20 will be the chair of student activities, Sharon Zeldin ’20 will be the chair of student wellness and Camila Pelsinger ’20 will be the chair of campus life. No student ran for the position of chair of academic affairs.

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