Raymond Arke | News Editor
02/28/18: UPDATED WITH CANDIDATE INTERVIEWS
The People’s Party delivered a clean sweep in the Feb. 20 student government elections, winning all three contested Student Government Association (SGA) executive board positions handily, according to the unofficial results. The unofficial results also suggested that student participation in this election was the highest of the past three years.
For SGA President, Eric Chatterjee (People’s Party) captured 51.78 percent of the vote, defeating Ben Long (United Party) who received 45.61 percent.
Ciara Bartic (People’s Party) won reelection to the position of SGA vice president of student life. She received 51.98 percent to Melissa Likar’s (United Party) 44.65 percent.
For the SGA Vice President of Finance position, James Joyce (People’s Party) received 53.42 percent of the vote. Jesse Anzelone (United Party) received 42.93 percent. This position had the highest percentage of votes that went to None of the Above with 3.63 percent.
Alexander Christensen (United Party) won his uncontested election to become SGA vice president of academic affairs. Maria Miller (United Party) was reelected uncontested to her position of SGA vice president of communications. Percentages or vote totals were not provided for the uncontested elections.
Chatterjee recognized the effort of all the candidates involved.
“All of the candidates running should be proud of themselves for the campaigns that they ran,” he said. “I know that the figures at least indicate that this was one of the highest voter turnouts, if not the highest, we ever had. And that is something we can all be proud of together.”
He said that he and his fellow People’s Party members worked incredibly hard during the campaign.
“We worked our hearts out. We were all physically, emotionally exhausted by the end of it,” he said.
Chatterjee has already started some of the projects he wants to work on as president.
“We are going to be forming a strategic plan. I think that many things in that strategic plan are going to mirror the president of the university’s strategic plan,” he said.
Joyce is ready to start focusing on the budgetary issues as vice president of finance.
“I think that the budget the [SGA] works with is the people’s money, the student’s money … it’s going to be important to release what would essentially be a ledger of the student government’s budget,” he said.
Bartic said she was also happy with the results.
“I am very pleased with how the campaign went,” she said.
Since she was reelected, Bartic has several projects she will continue to work on.
“In the continuation of my position, I’m looking forward to the increasing in safety initiatives with planning a large self-defense class for the entire student population,” she said. “I’m looking forward to working with Parkhurst again to address student concerns to an even greater degree.”
Jesse Anzelone, the United Party’s candidate for vice president of finance, was disappointed but had good things to say about his opponents.
“We were up against opponents who we knew would be tough to beat … we simply got out-worked,” he said. “All though we didn’t win, I know that students are good hands with James Joyce as the VP of Finance.”
Anzelone said he’ll stay on with SGA through legislative officer and chair positions; however, he won’t be around as much.
“Moving forward, I don’t want to be as heavily involved as I am now so that I can turn my attention to beginning law school and my career,” he said. “With that said, I love serving the students of Duquesne, and I will always serve them to the best of my ability.”
Ben Long, United’s presidential candidate, thought the electoral process went smoothly.
“I thought the campaign and overall elections were very well ran by the SGA Election Board, including Tim. They did a great job with this election and handled everything that came up very well,” he said.
Long enjoyed getting to know his party members better.
“The United Party was a great group of friends that I would have loved to work with on the SGA Executive Board, but unfortunately it did not turn out in our favor,” he said. “I do look forward to staying friends with everyone on the United Party.”
Long has been involved in SGA since his freshman year, but he will be stepping away in the future.
“I will be finishing the 46th Senate of SGA with my good friends in the United Party, while completing the roles that I currently hold for this Senate,” he said. However he won’t be returning to the 47th Senate so he can focus on classes and an internship.
Melissa Likar, United’s vice president of student life candidate, also discussed the campaign.
“Although the entire United Party would have hoped for a different outcome, we all tried our best,” she said.
Likar also plans to step back from SGA commitments.
“I want to focus more on my double major and become more active in my business fraternity. SGA became a big part of my life for a while, and I would like to do more things than just SGA,” she said.
The School of Liberal Arts will be represented by two more SGA senators, as Kelly Myer and Austin Imro were elected as senators for McAnulty. Nicholas France became a senator for the School of Business and Erin Lexner became a senator for the School of Pharmacy.
The Commuter Council also held elections for their executive board, with none of the positions being contested. Steven Dziadyk is president, Steven Strain is vice president, Sara Roberto is the vice president of programs and Nikola Ranick is the vice president of public relations.
A total of 1,458 students voted in the election, which was higher than the 2017, 2016 and 2015 turnout totals.
The official results will be posted on March 1.