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Harvard Undergraduate Association Presidential Election Timeline Delayed Twice in Three Days

The Harvard Undergraduate Association is led by co-presidents LyLena D. Estabine '24 and Travis A. Johnson '24.
The Harvard Undergraduate Association is led by co-presidents LyLena D. Estabine '24 and Travis A. Johnson '24. By J. Sellers Hill
By Rahem D. Hamid, Crimson Staff Writer

The Harvard Undergraduate Association’s presidential election timeline has been delayed for the second time in three days, according to emails to candidates from the body’s election commission.

In a Feb. 13 email to candidates obtained by The Crimson, the HUA election commission cited “complications” in the “candidate verification process” which led the Dean of Students Office to delay the election timeline by 24 hours.

“I am fighting for us to be clear by tomorrow morning and the campaign blurbs will be sent out to the student body once I get the verified candidates,” election commission member Victoria T. Li ’25 wrote in the email.

The campaign period for candidates, which was scheduled to begin Monday at 4 p.m., will now kick off at 12 a.m. on Wednesday. Voting, which was slated to run from Feb. 16 through Feb 18., will now run from Feb. 17 through Feb. 19.

The announcement comes two days after a Feb. 11 email from the election commission pushed back the election timeline by a day, also citing verification issues.

“I do not anticipate it delaying any further but I will make sure to notify you all first thing if I find out we have to wait again,” Li wrote in the Feb. 13 email.

Li wrote in a statement on behalf of the election commission that the timeline was delayed because the DSO must verify the eligibility of candidates before campaigning can begin.

“We have provided student information to the necessary officials and have been instructed to wait until they are finished with the verification process,” Li wrote. “While the delay is unfortunate, we just want extra precaution to ensure that all candidates are eligible to run rather than forcing any ineligible candidate(s) to withdraw after publicly announcing their candidacy.”

Ethan C. Kelly ’25, who is running for the co-presidency alongside Laila A. Nasher ’25, wrote in a statement that the delay “has us really confused.”

“We wish there would be more transparency from the DSO about why the delay is occurring,” he wrote.

DSO spokesperson Aaron M. Goldman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The DSO provides guidance to the HUA and furnishes the body with a budget to allocate toward club funding and other activities each year. Still, the groups operate largely independently, according to Associate Dean for Student Engagement Jason R. Meier, who said in an interview last semester that the DSO does not make decisions on behalf of the HUA.

The five tickets for the HUA co-presidency participated in a presidential debate Sunday evening, where candidates promised to increase funding for clubs and improve the HUA’s transparency.

The election will be the second-ever for the Harvard Undergraduate Association, which formed after students voted in March 2022 to dissolve the Undergraduate Council, Harvard’s previous student government structure.

—Staff writer Rahem D. Hamid can be reached at rahem.hamid@thecrimson.com.

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