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Fewer than five students were in the audience at the debates, none of whom asked questions.

Voting for first-year elections for student councils opened and closed this week without a single announcement about how or when to vote emailed by the Columbia Elections Board, posted to the board’s Facebook page, or mentioned on the board’s website.

Though traditionally taken less seriously than college-wide elections held in the spring, first-year council elections determine council members who typically win other elections down the road, sometimes keeping their council seats until graduation.

For the past two years, the Columbia Elections Board—the group responsible for publicizing and overseeing elections—had created Facebook events advertising the debates and posted on both Facebook and their website with links to voting. Neither of those things happened this fall.

Fewer than five students attended debates held last weekend, other than candidates. Spectator was not notified of the debates in advance, and no reporters from campus media were in attendance to question candidates or report on their platforms—another departure from years past.

CEB President Charlie Kang, CC ’19, said in an email to Spectator on Friday that the debates were intended “purely for candidates” and that CEB is “severely understaffed.”

“It has been one of the smoother elections I’ve ran in recent memory,” Kang added.

Instead of inviting students, videos of the debates were uploaded to a YouTube channel with zero subscribers, and candidates were asked to share the videos themselves in order to publicize their platforms. Links to videos were posted in class Facebook groups by CEB, but some videos garnered a single view by the time voting closed. The videos and links to voting were not emailed to students—according to Kang, CEB does not have access to email listservs.

“I think that they wanted us to do the campaigning and spread the word for ourselves,” ESC class of 2021 representative candidate Kat Chen said. “This maybe wasn’t an intentional decision, it may have just been a mere oversight.”

Kang also said that CEB expected councils to be in charge of publicizing the elections, a claim that CCSC President Nathan Rosin, CC ’18 and ESC President Aida Lu, SEAS ’19, denied on Friday. The councils had agreed to publicize whatever materials CEB asked, Rosin said, but CEB barely contacted them all month after asking them to publicize the link to candidate registration more than two weeks ago.

“It’s fine if that’s the way that he decided to go about it, but we weren’t given any information,” Rosin said, adding that council members tend to avoid publicizing elections to avoid conflicts of interest. “After [CEB’s request to publicize registration links] we didn’t really hear anything, didn’t publicize anything, and didn’t really know what to publicize.”

Lu said that the same situation was the case for ESC.

“We were under the impression that [Kang] would be reaching out to us whenever he would require that publicity,” Lu said. “On our end, we wouldn’t know what to publicize if we were given nothing to publicize.”

As a result, many first-years were left in the dark.

“If I weren’t on the Facebook page I probably would have had no idea what was going on,” Jason Mohabir, SEAS ’21, said. “I didn’t get a link from Columbia. I even checked my email to look for it. I only got it from a friend who sent me the link. It was kind of concerning.”

Other first years said they were only aware of the elections because they were friends with candidates.

“I knew that the debate was happening because one of my friends was running for election and she told me,” Grace MacNeill, CC ’21, said. “I found out via text message; there were never any emails.”

Council leaders said they will reevaluate how elections were run in the future to increase transparency and make more students aware of voting.

“This process seriously needs to be reformed and thankfully we have a full school year to create a new process with more institutional support,” Rosin said. “We will sit down with [council adviser] Josh [Lucas] and seniors from councils and figure out where we can go from here.”

The full election results can be found below:

CCSC​ ​2021​ ​President​ ​&​ ​Vice​ ​President

Prem​ ​Thakker​ ​and​ ​Skye​ ​Bork​ ​(LionRoar) – 119 votes – 24.43 percent

Victoria Hou and Alie Yu (’21 SAVAGES) – 106 votes – 21.76 percent

Fahima Ali and Tova Ricardo (A Seat at the Table) 98 votes – 20.12 percent

Sophia Breslauer and Anisah Nsugbe (Beginner’s Mind) – 70 votes – 16.01 percent

Heven Haile and Jake Tibbets (Ubuntu) – 49 votes – 10.06 percent

Sena Adansi and Gregory Billingsley (Fill in the Gaps) 15 votes – 3.08 percent

None – 11 votes – 2.25 percent

Jaxon Williams-Bellamy and Mohammad Shah (Progressive Party) – 11 votes – 2.25 percent

CCSC 2021 Class Representatives

Aja​ ​Johnson​ ​(’21​ ​SAVAGES) – 131 votes – 11.50 percent

Ramsay​ ​Eyre​ ​(’21​ ​SAVAGES) – 105 votes – 9.21 percent

Sarah​ ​Radway​ ​(Unaffiliated) – 102 votes – 8.95 percent

Cat Sposato (A Seat at the Table) – 95 votes – 8.34 percent

Maryam Elsayed (Ubuntu) – 82 votes – 7.19 percent

Cassius Rathbone (’21 SAVAGES) – 80 votes – 7.02 percent

Karina Blodnieks (A Seat at the Table ) – 74 votes – 6.49 percent

Vincent Wai Hong Kwok (Beginner’s Mind) – 70 votes – 6.14 percent

Joyce Tan (Beginner’s Mind) – 69 votes – 6.05 percent

Aneesah Ayub (LionRoar) – 69 votes – 6.05 percent

Christopher Taktak (Beginner’s Mind) – 67 votes – 5.88 percent

Tasha Garayo (A Seat at the Table ) – 65 votes – 5.70 percent

Nicholas Manriquez (LionRoar) – 56 votes – 4.91 percent

Maria Avila-Franklin (LionRoar) – 47 votes – 4.12 percent

None – 27 votes – 2.37 percent

CCSC​ ​International​ ​Students​ ​Representative

Sim​ ​Mander – 303 votes – 33.48 percent

Heejo Kang – 255 votes – 28.17 percent

None – 203 votes – 22.43 percent

Ge Hai – 144 votes – 15.91 percent

ESC​ ​2021​ ​Class​ ​President

Jaidev​ ​Shah​ ​(SEAS​ ​the​ ​Change) – 76 votes – 39.17 percent

Jillian Ross (Pantone 29Fu) – 29 votes – 14.94 percent

Shawn Amirthan (Sail the Seven SEAS) – 26 votes – 13.40 percent

Alexander Danechi (Tis the SEASon) – 26 votes – 13.40 percent

William Shamma (Steminists) – 24 votes – 12.37 – percent

None – 13 votes – 6.70 percent

ESC​ ​2021​ ​Class​ ​Vice​ ​President

Alina​ ​Ying​ ​(SEAS​ ​the​ ​Change) – 71 votes – 36.59 percent

Ketsia Zinga (Sail the Seven SEAS) – 38 votes – 19.58 percent

Kalisa Ndamage (Patone 29Fu) – 30 votes – 15.46 percent

Riya Desai (Steminists) – 26 votes – 13.40 percent

Rachel Park (Tis the SEASon) – 21 votes – 10.82 percent

None – 8 votes – 4.12 percent

ESC​ ​2021​ ​Class​ ​Representatives​ ​(2)

Nicolas​ ​Acosta​ ​(SEAS​ ​the​ ​Change) – 60 votes – 18.07 percent

Adheli​ ​Gonzalez​ ​(SEAS​ ​the​ ​Change) – 56 votes – 16.86 percent

Kat Chen (Sail the Seven Seas) – 42 votes – 12.95 percent

Shiv Patil (Tis the SEASon) – 37 votes – 11.14 percent

Samantha Mayers (Tis the SEASon) – 30 votes – 9.03 percent

Jose Ronaldo Pinheiro Carneiro Filho (Pantone 29Fu) – 30 votes – 9.03 percent

Jacy Fang (Sail the Seven SEAS) – 24 votes – 7.53 percent

Aagrika Neupane (Unaffiliated) – 19 votes – 5.72 percent

Aurola Qin (Pantone 29Fu) – 18 votes – 5.42 percent

None – 14 votes – 4.21 percent

ESC​ ​VP​ ​Finance

Austen​ ​Paris – 113 votes – 42.32 percent

None – 80 votes – 29.96 percent

Hunter Hasley – 74 votes – 27.71 percent

ESC​ ​Disability​ ​and​ ​Accessibility​ ​Issues​ ​Representative

Adriana​ ​Echeverria – 222 votes – 83.14 percent

None – 45 votes – 16.85 percent

ESC​ ​International​ ​Students​ ​Representative

Katherine​ ​Liu – 225 votes – 84.26 percent

None – 42 votes – 15.73 percent | @columbiaspec

CCSC ESC councils ceb