Undergraduate Council of Students President Ricky Zhong ’23 will remain in office after he decisively won this week’s recall election, with 83% of voters opposing the recall, according to a Feb. 8 UCS announcement.
Twenty-seven percent of the undergraduate student body participated with a total of 1,988 votes cast. From that pool, 1,659 voted in favor of Zhong remaining in his position while 329 voted against it, the announcement said. Recall election procedures require at least 10% participation from the student body for the result to be valid, The Herald previously reported.
“I had a very high hope that I expected to win, but I was still very surprised and happy with the results,” Zhong said, adding that he thought the “general sentiment (on) social media” toward him was “very positive.”
“While I strongly disagree with the results of this recall election, I accept it,” wrote Christopher Vanderpool ’24, who started the petition to recall Zhong, in a statement reviewed by The Herald.
The recall petition, first published in September, met its signature requirements in November and received final approval from the UCS election committee to trigger an election on Jan. 30, The Herald previously reported.
“To an extent, I’m disappointed that more individuals didn’t … take the time to educate themselves and inform themselves of the issues” before they voted, Vanderpool said in an interview with The Herald. He added he thinks many people relied on Zhong’s public statements instead of searching for information themselves.
“I really wish that people had at least even reached out to me to ask about my opinions on this and why I’m doing this,” Vanderpool added.
The election, which lasted from noon Monday to noon Wednesday, was a simple majority vote that asked students: “Should Ricky Zhong be recalled from the office of UCS President?”
The initial petition to hold the recall election received 301 signatures. Vanderpool ’24 published a Herald op-ed on Monday encouraging students to vote “yes” on the recall election to promote accountability in student government.
“I knew I was doing what I could, and that gave me confidence (during the voting process) even if (the recall) didn’t work out the way I thought it would,” Vanderpool said, adding that he put up posters, made Instagram posts, talked to students and reminded them to vote.
According to Zhong, even though he posted on Instagram to encourage people to vote against the recall, he “didn’t personally have to do it as much” since he noticed that he had “a lot of supporters across social media.”
Now that the recall is over, Vanderpool said he might “relax and enjoy myself for a few weeks,” even though he is “not ruling (working with UCS) out.”
For Zhong, the end of the recall election means he can return his attention to his UCS role.
“I’m pumped. I’m more excited than ever,” he said. The recall “was really distracting and anxiety-inducing in my mind, but now I can fully focus back on (UCS) again.”
UCS is currently working with ResLife to make laundry permanently free, improve dining conditions for students and extend the Nelson Fitness Center’s operating hours to midnight, according to Zhong. He added that UCS is also working with the University on developing ways to maintain diversity and inclusion on campus in the case that affirmative action is struck down in the near future.
Kathy Wang is a University News editor who oversees the student government and international student life beats. She is a sophomore from Beijing, China studying Nonfiction Writing and Comparative Literature.