Rutgers United wins RUSA election
The incumbent Rutgers United Party won the Rutgers University Student Assembly election by a landslide, with John Connelly, a School of Arts and Sciences junior, elected the next RUSA president.
Connelly received 1,423 votes for president, while Scott Siegel, a School of Arts and Sciences junior, received 723 votes in the election. None of the opposing Old Raritan party members running for the top ticket came within 500 votes of their Rutgers United counterparts, according to the official RUSA election results.
Before revealing the winner, current RUSA President Matt Cordeiro called Siegel and Connelly in to a corner for a brief conference.
“The treasurer is Pavel Sokolov and the vice president will be Sherif [Ibrahim],” said Cordeiro, a School of Arts and Sciences senior.
Ibrahim, a School of Arts and Sciences sophomore, received 1,328 votes for vice president while his opponent Joe Fontana, a School of Arts and Sciences sophomore only received 818 votes.
Sokolov, a Rutgers Business School sophomore, received 1,370 votes to become RUSA treasurer while Sabrina Arias, a School of Arts and Sciences sophomore, received just 776 votes, according to RUSA election results.
Connelly offered a consolatory phone call to his opponent, but was unable to reach him.
He said there is a lot of work to be done still and that his victory is only the beginning of the long road ahead.
“I’m very honored that the Rutgers community has entrusted me with this position,” Connelly said. “I look forward in this process to working with Scott … and I have a lot of faith in the younger members that have been elected.”
RUSA met in the Student Activities Center on the College Avenue campus yesterday to discuss two resolutions before revealing the results of the RUSA presidential election.
The first of the two resolutions stated RUSA’s support for The Medium in light of the recent controversy regarding an article printed last week under the name of Aaron Marcus, a The Daily Targum columnist, said Donggu Yoon, a RUSA member.
The column, “What about the good things Hitler did?” went on to praise the dictator, and Marcus, a School of Arts and Sciences senior, filed a bias complaint with the University.
Yoon, a School of Arts and Sciences senior, said The Medium is protected by free speech.
“The Medium, as a satire publication, is guaranteed protection of speech under the constitution of the United States,” Yoon said. “Whereas any attempt to silence free speech on campus, no matter personal preference of comedy or preference is no excuse to limit the contents of free speech.”
He went on to state that, if passed, the resolution would define RUSA’s support of satirical speech.
“Be it hereby resolved, [RUSA] supports The Medium’s right of free speech, and condemns any efforts to limit anyone’s free speech,” Yoon said.
Cordeiro said there are different rules that apply for public figures than for private individuals.
“Whether or not Marcus is a public figure is a different question, however,” Cordeiro said.
Joseph Cashin, RUSA corresponding secretary, proposed an amendment to the resolution that RUSA did not endorse The Medium’s article despite supporting their right to free speech.
“I think we have all our bases covered,” said Cashin, a School of Arts and Sciences sophomore. “We need to focus on the First Amendment, however we need to make it clear that we do not endorse the article, ‘What about the good things Hitler did?’”
The assembly then held a caucus to vote on the resolution — some members wanted to pass the bill on the auspices of free speech while others wanted to table it until the University’s definition of libel could be procured.
After the debate, the assembly passed the resolution with a vast majority, with only three members voting against it.
Aamir Lalani, a School of Arts and Sciences sophomore then introduced the second resolution for RUSA to cosponsor Delta Kappa Epsilon’s benefit for the Special Olympics.
Lalani said he wanted the public relations committee to use its ability to network and raise awareness for the event but was not seeking to gain funding from RUSA.
“I’m not asking for any money at all,” Lalani said, “I’m asking for RUSA’s public relations committee.”
There was no debate on this resolution, and the assembly agreed unanimously that RUSA would co-sponsor the event.