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Petkis and Patel elected USG leaders

By Nick Rondinone
On March 7, 2012

  • Stephen Petkis was voted the USG president for the 2012-2013 academic year. Petkis and Vice President Jigish Patel received approximately 32 percent of the total votes. Ashley Pospisil/The Daily Campus

Students elected Stephen Petkis and Jigish Patel as USG president and vice president and approved a referendum supporting a student fee increase for USG in this year's joint elections, but failed to approve increases for The Daily Campus and Nutmeg Yearbook.

"[Jigish] and I are extremely excited to move past the campaign portion to work on the promises we made," said USG President-Elect Stephen Petkis. "We were really impressed with the campaigns everyone ran, it was a good group of guys and girls…we are really going to make sure we capitalize on the opportunity the student body gave us. "

Petkis and Patel received approximately 32 percent of the total votes with 1,028 votes, according election results.

"Congratulations to president-elect Petkis and president-elect Patel, I know all four tickets put a lot into the elections and had a lot of good ideas," said USG President Sam Tracy. "I know they will do an awesome job representing students."

In the joint elections, there were referenda for fee increases for several Tier III organizations.

The long-standing university institution The Daily Campus failed to get the majority, with 54 percent, a total of 1,815 students, having voted against the $3-per-semester student fee increase proposed to keep the paper viable beyond fall of 2014.

"Because all of us at The Daily Campus feel so passionately about the paper, about the work that we do and about the effort we put into creating an informative campaign, it's disappointing that it didn't turn out as we had hoped," said The Daily Campus Editor-in-chief Melanie Deziel. "But this isn't the last step in the process and we're not ready to give up just yet. We're going to continue campaigning to drum up support from the community until the Board of Trustees makes the final decision. We're also examining ways to get the student body more engaged in our process so that, moving forward, they can feel as passionately about The Daily Campus as we do."

Nutmeg Yearbook also failed to get a majority with 62 percent of participating student voters turning down their proposal for $2-per-semester fee increase, which they proposed to bring full color to the yearbook.

"We are not surprised that the majority of the students did not vote in favor of the Nutmeg Yearbook fee increase because the majority of the student body are not seniors. We also understand this because we are not able to supply our product until after the academic year is over; students never benefit from what we do until they leave," said Nutmeg Editor-in-Chief Leah Pemberton and Assistant Editor-in-chief Gregory Bruno said in statement. "We understand that the student body lives for today, but we feel that the student body needs to understand that we supply something for them that is going to last forever."

Though these organizations did not get the majority of the student voters, the $5-per-semester fee increase proposed by USG received approval by a narrow margin of only 136 votes, with 1750 voters, or 52 percent of the participating voters.

"I am very happy to have seen the student body has put forward USG's request for funding, we are going to put it right back to students through funding organizations," said Tracy. "This will allow us to better fund those groups, which are really the backbone of involvement at UConn, and we are really looking forward to working with students for years to come."

The election ran from Monday until Wednesday at 9 a.m., but nearly 70 percent of the votes came on Monday, with a meager 3 percent coming on Wednesday, according to numbers from Students Activities.

Despite numerous changes in the elections process this year, the voter turnout was 20.4 percent of the eligible students, which translates to 3,485 participating voters, according to statistics provided by Student Activities.

These numbers are close to the official numbers recorded during last year's campaign, which ran during a longer period.

The elections, held online through a ballot powered by eBallot, had nearly 2 percent of eligible students, 317 to be exact, view the ballot but not submit a vote.


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