UB Student Association Senate for 2016-17 announced
Riley Oates and 11 Empowerment Party members elected senators
The underdog candidate received the highest number of votes at the Student Association Senate election on Thursday.
Riley Oates, a junior economics and political science major, was elected SA senator along with 11 members of the Empowerment Party. Oates ran independently in the Integrity Party against the Empowerment Party. He received 553 total student votes in the election. SA also passed a referendum during the election to continue the mandatory student activity fee, which is currently $104.75 per student each semester.
Roughly four percent of students voted in the election. Only 1,182 students voted out of roughly 30,000 students at UB.
There were narrow margins separating the votes between each candidate. Deepesh Jhamtani, a senior business major, who ran on the Empowerment Party was just four votes short of being elected an SA senator.
Empowerment Party members Dillon Smith, Monica Duque, Deidree Golbourne, Katie Raymond, Vanessa Dwyer, Anna Jacquinot, Gabi Cohen, David Wu, Trevi Fulater, Anthony Taboni and Emily Sharp-O’Connor were also elected to SA Senate.
Duque, a senior interdisciplinary social sciences major and former Latin American Student Association treasurer received 545 student votes, which was the second-highest number of votes.
“It feels good [to be elected],” Oates said. “I put a lot of hard work into it. I want to thank everyone that came out to vote, I couldn’t have done it without them.”
Smith, a senior political science major, said students empowered themselves to help make a change by voting in the election.
“Moving forward, we want to stand with Riley Oates to have both integrity and empowerment,” Smith said.
He looks forward to having SA Senate make positive changes on campus.
Taboni, a sophomore physics major, said it’s great seeing people get involved with SA and the university.
“It’s been a very long three days but we got to meet a ton of new students,” Taboni said. “I was just super happy and surprised by how many people took time out of their day to talk to us [in the Student Union].”
SA senators assume their positions immediately, according to Megan Glander, SA vice president.
Duque said although she initially doubted herself “it feels good to finally be part of something and make a difference in the university.”
“I was very nervous,” Duque said. “I feel like out of anyone on this ticket I was the least experienced. I felt that I didn’t know anything about politics.”
SA passed the referendum to continue the mandatory student activity fee with 790 students voting in favor and 191 students voting against the referendum.
Smith’s position as SA Senate chair became vacant after the elections concluded, according to Daniel Christian, SA elections and credentials chair. SA Senate chair elections will occur after SA president Matt Rivera determines the first Senate meeting at the “State of the SA” address, according to Glander.
The date for the SA Senate chair election has yet to be determined.
“It was a very nice turnout that we got here,” Christian said. “Some people would be upset with a little over 1100 people [voting] but [there] are juniors at this school who don’t know we have Senate elections because there hasn’t been a contested Senate election so this was an excellent opportunity for a lot of people.”
Christian said the election was a great way to get ideas about how a student government should run.
“We saw a single candidate who was able to put out a great effort and it ended up paying off for him,” he said.