The screaming crowd in front of Kerckhoff Hall grew silent Thursday night when it was announced that Taylor Bazley, the Bruin Alliance slate presidential candidate in this year’s undergraduate student government elections, was eliminated from the running.
Along with Bazley, who received the lowest number of votes in the presidential race, Bruin Alliance failed to find a place on next year’s council.
Despite losing some key positions, the Bruins United slate will still hold a majority of the council. The Undergraduate Students Association Council will be led by John Joanino, the LET’S ACT! candidate for president.
“It’s just surreal. Just being able to be here is a blessing,” said Joanino, after the results were announced. “I don’t think party politics is going to stop us from doing good things for this campus.”
The group of Bruin Alliance supporters was stunned by the results. The students held hands and consoled each other as they heard the news that both of their candidates were eliminated.
“I can’t say I’m completely shocked that I lost, but I’m shocked that I lost by that much,” said Bazley, with tears in his eyes. “I hate to say it, but the slates were stronger than we thought.”
Nicole Fossier, the Bruin Alliance candidate for external vice president, said she was disappointed she did not win the position, but she was glad to see such high voter turnout. This year’s election garnered the highest turnout since 2011.
“I will continue to work in the office if they will let me, and I will definitely apply again next year,” said Fossier, a third-year political science and psychology student.
After hearing that many of their candidates had lost, many LET’S ACT! supporters were in tears.
But the final announcement – the outcome of the presidential race – garnered an explosion of sound from LET’S ACT! supporters when their candidate, Joanino, was elected the USAC president.
“It was hard not seeing many people from different communities on the board (this year),” said Christiana Cunanan, a third-year sociology student and LET’S ACT! supporter. “But this year we have different people and it will represent the voice of the campus.”
Many of the winning candidates said they want to look beyond slate lines and work to be a cohesive council.
“The first thing I’m going to do is call John tomorrow,” said Avi Oved, the internal vice president-elect who ran on the Bruins United slate. “USAC is not a place for slate elections and this is our time to accomplish (cohesiveness).”
Carly Yoshida, the Bruins United presidential candidate, stood in the arms of friends and fellow Bruins United members in the crowd.
“Why are you crying?” Yoshida asked multiple friends she hugged. “Don’t cry, don’t cry.”
Yoshida and Joanino embraced on the steps as the crowd dwindled. Yoshida congratulated Joanino and told him she holds a lot of respect for him.
Sahil Seth, the outgoing Financial Supports commissioner, said he wished there was going to be a three-slate council next year. He said he expects the council to run the same next year.
“Council will be united at the beginning,” Seth said. “But as the year unfolds, slate politics are going to unfold, and that is the truth.”
The three slates separated into clusters in front of Kerckhoff Hall, as they awaited the results.
Tensions ran high during the night, particularly when the results for the three general representatives were announced.
Members of LET’S ACT! mistakenly started cheering when Charmaine Campbell’s name was called after being eliminated as a candidate for general representative running with LET’S ACT!.
Their cheers stopped only after Dana Pede, the chair of the USAC Election Board, repeatedly stated that Campbell had not won any position on the council.
After the announcement, LET’S ACT! supporters gathered in the middle of a circle of about 200 people that took over Bruin Plaza, where they thanked their supporters.
“It feels bittersweet,” said Lizzy Naameh, the sole general representative-elect from the LET’S ACT! slate. “It doesn’t feel as meaningful without more of my candidates with me.”
After the Bruin Bash Referendum passed, students from the Bruins United slate burst into cheers, hugged one another and chanted “David! David!” in reference to outgoing USAC President David Bocarsly who campaigned for the measure, until they were silenced by Pede’s voice again.
Incoming Internal Vice President Oved was knocked to the ground by friends and supporters swarming around him after he was announced as the winner of his election.
Bruins United members shouted, “He won! He did it!” as Oved remained on the ground.
As he prepares for his first meeting as president-elect, Joanino said he is looking forward to prioritizing service and advocacy.
“Students really realizing that every student has the agency to create change – that’s really what it’s all about,” he said.
With contributing reports from Sonali Kohli, Bruin senior staff, Kristen Taketa, Yael Levin, Hong Chen, Yancey Cashell, Taylor Aquino and Vishaka Sriniwasan, Bruin reporters.