Two women of color will serve as Chapman’s new president and vice president of student government, marking a “changing of campus climate,” said to Vice President-elect Abby Tan.
Sophomore Saba Amid beat opponent Alex Ballard, a junior, for student government president by nine points, or 130 votes, on March 13. Tan won her unopposed bid for vice president.
“I don’t have the words to express my thanks to the student body,” said Amid, who serves as the Wilkinson College for Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences senator and the university and Academic Affairs chair. “I’m ready to take my role and dive right into it.”
This year’s election saw a total of 1,541 votes, or about 22.5 percent of the student body, according to Director of Elections Wil Harris. This is a decrease from last year’s election, in which 26 percent of students cast votes.
Student government used various means to encourage voter participation, including holding a raffle for students to win a $20 Starbucks gift card, a $60 Amazon gift card or two tickets to pop-alternative singer Billie Eilish concert. In exchange for entering the raffle, students must cast their vote and encourage their friends to vote by tagging them in an Instagram post. As of March 13, the post had 271 likes and 362 comments.
Amid garnered 54 percent of the votes for president, while Ballard received 46 percent.
Although student government elections do not utilize official presidential and vice-presidential tickets, the two winners combined efforts for a campaign, one of the main goals of which was to increase and recognize diversity.
“I feel very empowered right now,” said Tan, who serves as the Schmid School of Science and Technology senator. “Female people of color together … to me, that speaks to a lot of truths as to where this campus is heading.”
Last year, two candidates from separate unofficial tickets, Mitchell Rosenberg and Arianna Ngnomire, were elected president and vice president respectively.
Amid and Tan included their position on diversity early in their campaign, with Amid saying that she wants to make Chapman a place students are proud to attend.
“We all go to Chapman; we all should be proud that we go to Chapman,” Amid said at the presidential debate on March 5. “I want to make campus something that we can be proud of. That’s why I’m on student government.”
The election results were announced by Harris on the steps of the Student Union stage at 6 p.m. today. Amid was rushed by friends and supporters before making her way to Ballard, who was visibly upset, to hug and congratulate him on his campaign.
“I want to commend Alex on running an amazing campaign,” Amid said in her speech to a crowd of about 30 students and faculty. “Alex, you were an amazing competitor.”
Ballard, who serves as allocations chair and upperclassmen senator told The Panther that despite his disappointment in the results, he’s determined to serve the student body in some capacity.
“A lot of people saw how hard I worked and I’m really thankful,” he said. “I’m going to take some time to think about how I want to accomplish my goals in a different role. There are important things that I want to be seen done.”
Ballard ran for vice president last year, but lost to senior Arianna Ngnomire.
Amid and Tan will begin the transitional process with current student government president Mitchell Rosenberg and vice president Arianna Ngnomire next week.