Nine students were elected to the Undergraduate Council after this week’s midterm election, according to UC Election Commission Chair Jubin Gorji ’21. The Election Commission also called for a re-vote in Leverett House after no candidate there reached the vote threshold necessary to be elected.
A total of 371 undergraduates cast ballots this year, according to data provided by the Election Commission, representing a slight decrease from the 402 who voted in last year's midterm election.
UC elections use the Hare-Clark voting method, a type of ranked voting system in which each candidate must reach a certain vote quota to be elected. In Leverett this week, a write-in candidacy by former UC representative Benjamin Sorkin ’20 prevented incumbent Ruiqi He ’19 from reaching the required threshold.
Sorkin, who lost his seat on the Council in last fall’s UC election, received more first, second, and third-place votes than He. Sorkin said he was “peeved” that he was not declared the outright winner.
Sorkin said he ran as a write-in candidate because he was not properly informed of the open seat, only finding out when candidates officially filed declarations Monday.
“I ran because the open seat wasn’t advertised and so we tried to stick it to the fact that the seat wasn’t advertised as being open, even though I knew well in advance that it should’ve been open,” Sorkin said.
UC President Catherine L. Zhang ’19 said that communication with prospective candidates could have been better, but that she promises to improve communication in the future.
“There should have been an email to Leverett and I’m glad that we had the write-in system so that [Sorkin] was able to run as a write-in candidate,” Zhang said. “We’ll make sure in the future that all publicity is going to be streamlined, especially since our secretary is getting an email that will be able to be sent out to all students.”
Leverett’s re-vote began Thursday night with an email from the Election Commission to Leverett students, and will end Friday at 5 p.m.
Newly elected Adams House Representative K. Yu-Mi Kim ’20 said she is excited to start her term on the Council, and will draw on her experience in student government from high school to help her on the UC.
“I feel really privileged to get to represent so many truly exceptional people who have such different interests,” Kim said. “I felt like I had leadership skills that I could use to both improve Harvard community as it is today and also for future Harvard students.”
Kim said her ability to bring students from different viewpoints together would be a useful asset on the Council.
“I’m definitely both a generalist and a specialist in that I study History of Science and English and I think that I understand the experience of both science students as well as students in the humanities,” Kim said.
Newly elected Dudley House Representative Sophia M.F. Higgins ’20 also said she was eager to get to work, hoping to focus her efforts on the Council on issues facing minority students and those with mental illnesses. Specifically, Higgins said she hopes to be involved in the efforts to establish a multicultural center on campus, which have gained momentum in the past few months.
Higgins, an active Crimson magazine editor, said a priority of the Council should be to improve its communication with the student body.
“The UC should probably hold more town halls just to keep the student body up to speed on where they’re at in proposing certain policies,” Higgins said. “I think getting more student opinions in the mix will probably help the UC accurately represent what the student body wants.”
The full list of newly elected Council members are as follows:
K. Yu-Mi Kim ’20
Ashish Dahal ’20
Anne M. Raheem ’19
Sophia M. F. Higgins ’20
Victor C. Agbafe ’19
Andrea G. Martinez ’20
Andrew Perez ’20
Victoria M. Marquez ’20
Katherine Qian ’20
—Staff writer Jonah S. Berger can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @jonahberger98.
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