P.R.I.D.E. and joy
P.R.I.D.E. Party wins Student Association executive board election
Yousouf Amolegbe put his hand to his face and covered the tears in his eyes on Thursday afternoon.
He had just become the Student Association’s fifth black president ever.
Amolegbe, Georgia Hulbert and Kendra Harris –– the P.R.I.D.E. Party –– won the 2019-20 executive board election after a campaign based on progressive, reform, integrity, diversity and empowerment initiatives.
Elections and Credentials Chair Sophonie Pierre-Michel announced their victory in the SA office after the three-day election, which lasted from Tuesday to Thursday and brought out 2,181 student voters and 10.3% of the undergraduate student body. Amolegbe and Hulbert –– 2019-20 president and vice president, respectively –– received 1,043 votes and Harris –– 2019-20 treasurer –– received 1,027 votes. P.R.I.D.E. won over the Students Reform Party (681 votes on both tickets), the CLEAR Party (416 votes on the president/VP ticket and 370 votes for treasurer) and the Going Forward, Going Blue Party’s treasurer (27 votes).
The new e-board hopes to advocate for an increase in black faculty members, accessibility and disability rights awareness and implement mandatory sexual violence training for all student athletes and Inter-Greek Council members.
“All I can do is just thank the student body for having trust in us,” Amolegbe, a fourth year aerospace engineering major and SA event manager, said. “We promise not to disappoint you guys.”
Hulbert, a junior political science major and SA assistant entertainment director, joked that she’s looking forward to sleeping now that they’ve won the election. She said she is “grateful for everyone’s support.”
“We’re in shock,” Hulbert said. “It means so much to us. We’re really excited for next year, I’m sure there’s going to be a lot of ups and downs but we’ve been a great team and I’m super excited for the future.”
Harris, a junior economics major, SA senator and the Black Student Union’s treasurer, was also emotional following the announcement.
“Next year, we hope to make you guys proud,” Harris said. “[We hope to] fight on behalf of all undergraduate students here at UB and carry on the great work that [the current e-board has] been doing.”
Campaign opponents watched the new e-board celebrate its victory in the SA office and remained positive about next year, despite losing the election.
Sadie Kratt, CLEAR Party’s presidential candidate, said she thinks the upcoming e-board will “do a great job” and said she’s excited to work with them on her environmental goals.
“You know I love the earth and I’m not just going to let our campus environment go to s--t,” Kratt said. "There’s a lot I wanted to do and I hope we can keep that communication open.”
Omran Albarazanchi, Students Reform Party’s presidential candidate, said students voted “for their friends” for all parties, and found it “frustrating.” He said he hopes future elections can include a debate among candidates to better educate students on party platforms.
Jaycee Miller, Students Reform Party’s treasurer candidate, said she still hopes to talk with next year’s e-board about her party’s agenda.
“We’re not done,” Miller said. “We have a lot of work to do ahead of us. Our role in SA is TBD but we definitely have a lot of things we want to see out of the next administration. It's going to take cooperation, compromise and hard work.”
SA President Gunnar Haberl congratulated the new e-board on its victory in the SA office as the students celebrated and said he has already prepared a “transition folder” for Amolegbe.
“My goal right now –– the number-one priority –– is to make this transition as smooth as possible and make sure the initiatives that [the current e-board] and I led this year and made happen here at UB don’t get put on the backburner for next year.”
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