Undergraduates Celebrate Second Consecutive Virtual Housing Day
Dean of Students Office Discusses Housing Day, Anti-Racism Goals
Renowned Cardiologist and Nobel Peace Prize Winner Bernard Lown Dies at 99
Native American Nonprofit Accuses Harvard of Violating Federal Graves Protection and Repatriation Act
U.S. Reps Assess Biden’s Progress on Immigration at HKS Event
After five consecutive semesters of activist leadership , the Undergraduate Council took a dramatic turn last night in the organization's most hotly-contested presidential race since the adoption of popular elections.
Harvard students elected Beth A. Stewart '00 president of the council, affirming her call for greater attention to student services.
Stewart's running mate Samuel C. Cohen '00 was elected vice-president.
"[The vote] represents the fact that some things need to change and that we're going to change them," said Stewart, who is the second woman to be elected council president.
"I think that this was the voice of the student body expressing that there are some specific problems at Harvard that, given the voice of the president, can be addressed successfully," she added.
Stewart narrowly edged out Jobe G. Danganan '99 by 48 votes, the closest margin since the advent of popular elections in the spring of 1996.
Michael S. Bush '99 finished third with 614; Benjamin W. Hulse '99 was fourth with 355; David J. Malan '99 was fifth with 197; Dorian S. Berger '00 was sixth with 127; Stuart D. Shapley '99 was seventh with 98, and Cabot Henderson '00 was eighth with 74.
In the vice presidential race, Kamil E. Redmond '00 finished second with 1,084 votes; Lilly J. Epstein '00 was third with 540; Olivia Verma '00 was fourth with 270; Andrew F. Ruggiero '99 was fifth with 197, and Alex M. Carter '00 was sixth with 103.
Stewart's election turns the tide of the council, which, until the selection of Robert M. Hyman '98 as president in the fall of 1995, largely eschewed political issues.
Stewart ran under a battle cry of depoliticizing the council and refocusing on student services, as well as increasing funding for student groups through solicitation of outside donations.
Though the council under Hyman and his successor, Lamelle D. Rawlins '99 has tackled progressive issues from anonymous HIV testing at University Health Services to the plight of California grape workers, Stewart and Cohen have pledged to take political debate out of the council.
"I do think in some ways it shows the student body wants us to focus on the things that make a day-to-day difference. Now it's up to us to take them and make them a reality," said Cohen, who is currently the co-chair of the council's Campus Life Committee, which plans social events and other student services.
"I wish them luck," Rawlins said of Stewart and Cohen.
"I'm sure they'll do a great job," Redmond said.
Danganan had pledged to continue the Hyman/Rawlins legacy of political activism on the council, and he captured the endorsements of many of the progressive student groups that were crucial to Rawlins' election last year.
Danganan could not be reached for comment last night.
Bush, whose platform mirrored Stewart's in rejecting political activism, said he thought his presence in the race ultimately helped tip the scales in her favor.
"If I hadn't been in the race, I think Jobe would have won," Bush said, "When I got eliminated, the people who voted for me were redistributed for Beth, and that put her over the top. A lot of people voted for me who wouldn't have voted otherwise."
In fact, in the round in which Bush was eliminated, Danganan and Stewart were separated by two votes. When Bush's votes were redistributed, 125 of them went to Stewart and 79 to Danganan.
Despite predictions of low voter turnout due to the subdued nature of this campaign and the relative obscurity of most of the candidates before it began, more students voted in this popular election than in either of the previous two, Turnout numbered 3,084 students, just shy of the 3,166 students who voted in last week's Harvard Dining Services' campus-wide referendum on serving grapes in the dining halls.
Stewart said she and her campaign staff, which assembled with her and Cohen to await the results, were jubilant after the Election Commission delivered the news at 1:45 a.m.
"We ran outside so that we could scream with liberty," Stewart said. "As we ran outside, the heavens opened and the snow fell down and we screamed and hugged. It was beautiful."
U.C. Election Results
The reace for president and vice-president remained tight in each round, but Beth A. Stewart '00 and Samuel C. Cohen '00 managed to hang on to their initial leads.
Want to keep up with breaking news? Subscribe to our email newsletter.