Landslide win for Matthews
With the highest vote totals for a president-elect in Wilfrid Laurier University Students’ Union history, Olivia Matthews was named president and CEO last Thursday.
With 72.74 per cent of the vote and 2,868 total votes, Matthews claimed the position over candidate Frank Cirinna. The second-most votes for a president-elect in history was Michael Onabolu in 2012 with 2,592.
4,138 students cast their ballots on Feb. 4 and 5, equating to approximately 24.2 per cent of the student body. 46 students spoiled their ballots, with 203 abstaining from voting for a presidential candidate.
Turnout decreased slightly; in 2014 with three presidential candidates, turnout was 25.57 per cent.
“On top of the world,” Matthews said of how she felt after the announcement Thursday. “That’s an honest answer.”
Matthews contributed her win to her team, who she took time after the announcement to individually hug and congratulate.
“I wouldn’t have changed anything, hopefully, now that I’ve won. I think it went very well.”
Cirinna was the only other candidate in the election for presidency. Dave Patterson withdrew from the race the Monday before the results. Cirinna garnered 27.26 per cent of the vote.
“I kind of expected the result … this might upset some people for me to say this, but I didn’t come into this election thinking I was going to win. The odds were like, legitimately not in my favour,” Cirinna said after the announcement.
“If the most qualified person actually won the Students’ Union elections year after year, the past Students’ Union presidents — going back six years as far as I can count — would be me, Chandler Jolliffe, Chris Walker, Mike Onabolu — who did win — Matt Park and then Kory Preston,” he continued.
At 11:30 p.m. — significantly earlier than the year previous when results weren’t announced until almost 2 a.m. — Kaipa Bhraucha, assistant chief returning officer, and Matt McLean, chair of the board and chief governing officer, announced the results for the School of Business and Economics Students’ Society president, all eight referendum questions, board of governors, senate, board of directors and president and CEO.
Vanessa Buttinger defeated Shadi Varkiani for SBESS president, who will also start May 1.
Kanwar Brar and Trevor Thompson were elected to Senate, while Derek Worden, Ryley Fletcher, Sujaay Jagannathan and Abdiasis Issa were elected to the board in the first, second, seventh and eighth rounds, respectively.
They will join acclaimed directors Colin Aitchison, Kanwar Brar, Matt DeSumma, Nick DeSumma, Giovanni Giuga, Andrew Harris, Melody Parton and Jonathan Ricci.
“I’m so excited. Especially to hear [I was elected] first round — that just felt great,” Worden said.
Jagannathan will be one of five returning directors to the board, an increase from two last year. He said he believes his biggest role is going to be to “use the experience to enhance the role of the director” and act as a mentor for the seven first-time directors.
Brantford directors, Matt DeSumma, Nick DeSumma, Parton and Fletcher, will now represent one third of the board.
“I mean a third of the board being from Brantford is the biggest by far that they’ve ever seen,” Fletcher said.
“From Brantford I feel that Waterloo under-represents the Brantford campus and I am beyond happy that Brantford now represents a third of the board.”
Three referenda questions failed: the SBESS levy fee raise; the Waterloo faculty association fee; and the Brantford faculty association fee for programs that are not criminology, leadership and journalism.
The remaining five passed: Daughters for Life fee; Brantford association fee for criminology, leadership and journalism; Brantford student life levy; and the two constitutional amendments.
Bharucha said she was pleased with the way the campaign period went, commending the candidates’ professionalism.
“The thing I’m most proud of is the candidates’ behaviour and how they were all really great sports with each other,” she said.
“Something we told them before is you’re running together. Again, not everyone is getting every position … [but] they have to support each other just like they ask other students to do.”
UPDATED FEB. 11
-With files from Marissa Evans and Kaitlyn Severin