UPDATED: December 9, 2013, at 3:35 a.m.
Sietse K. Goffard ’15, who was defeated last month in his campaign to become vice president of the Undergraduate Council, was elected UC vice president in an internal UC election Sunday night that resolved several weeks of uncertainty about the incoming Council leadership.
Goffard, a representative from Currier House, defeated challenger and outgoing UC Secretary Meghamsh Kanuparthy ’16 by a vote of 28-14, with Council members casting the secret ballots.
Goffard will serve alongside Gus A. Mayopoulos ’15, the UC vice president-elect who ascended to the UC presidency when his former running mate UC president-elect Samuel B. Clark ’15 resigned from the presidency immediately before his inauguration Sunday night.
Sunday night’s internal election came two and a half weeks after Clark and Mayopoulos, running as a joke ticket, won the UC election and immediately declared their intent to resign. Last week, however, Mayopoulos announced that he had changed his mind and would assume the UC presidency upon Clark’s resignation, leaving the UC vice president position vacant.
In a short speech to the Council after his inauguration, Mayopoulos explained to the gathered representatives why he changed his mind about stepping down.
“The UC has a problem: The student body does not understand the efficacy and purpose of the UC,” Mayopoulos said. “I want to fix this problem.”
After losing the vice presidential vote, Kanuparthy was nominated and elected as the new Council treasurer and Ivy Yard representative Stephen A. Turban ’17 was voted in as UC secretary.
Former UC presidential candidate C.C. Gong ’15 began the vice presidential election process by nominating her former running-mate, Goffard. When Goffard returned the nomination, Gong declined to be considered. Similarly, former UC presidential candidate Chika-Dike O. Nwokike ’15 also declined a nomination for the position.
Kanuparthy was the only candidate to receive a nomination who did not run in last month’s election. In an interview after the meeting, he said that he asked to be nominated in part to provide choices that would incite conversation about the role of the vice president position.
Although both candidates used their three-minute speeches to emphasize the time they had dedicated to the UC, they differentiated themselves during the question-and-answer session.
Goffard highlighted his efforts to facilitate student advocacy while Kanuparthy noted that his involvement in the UC Finance Committee would be particularly beneficial with the state of UC finances expected to remain a major issue in the next year.
In a discussion period during which both candidates left the room, outgoing UC Treasurer Jonathan Y. Li ’14 and outgoing UC Finance Committee Chair Matthew R. Marotta ’14 both agreed with Kanuparthy that it was important for the UC vice president to have a good understanding of the UC finances.
“Especially now, [with] the position that this Council is in in our finances, it is crucial that somebody has finance experience on this ticket,” Marotta said. “I think that the work that Meghamsh has done [on this issue] is extremely in-depth.”
UC Education Committee Chair Dhruv P. Goyal ’16 pushed back, pointing out that neither outgoing UC President Tara Raghuveer ’14 nor outgoing UC vice president Jen Q. Zhu ’14 had significant experience in the Council’s finances when they were elected. Rather, he argued, it is the role of the UC vice president to facilitate “big-picture advocacy” efforts.
Zhu said that the position is not strictly defined. “It’s up to you what you think the UC vice president role should be, whether it’s finance or advocacy,” Zhu said.
Raghuveer emphasized the importance of having a UC vice president who can support Mayopoulos, a UC outsider, in “every single capacity” as he navigates the UC presidency.
“Gus is in for a big learning curve,” Raghuveer said. “I’m saying that now because my learning curve was incredibly steep.”
The election of the vice president, secretary, and treasurer of the Council finalized the Council’s Executive Committee for 2014. In internal committee elections held throughout the last week, Goyal was re-elected as Education Committee chair, Leah C. Singer ’16 was elected as Finance Committee chair, Gong was elected as student initiatives chair, Ava Nasrollahzadeh ’16 was elected as student relations chair, and Oliver W. Kim ’16, a Crimson editorial writer, was elected student life committee chair. The Rules Committee does not hold elections, as the chair position is appointed by the UC president.
Later in the three-hour long meeting, the Council allocated funds to student organizations through its last grants package of the semester and passed legislation renewing the UC’s commitment to fund DAPA.
—Staff writer Steven S. Lee can reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @StevenSJLee.
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