By Jeff Frankel
Sophomore music education major Dionne Lashley was sitting in class when she heard the good news.
She was about to play piano for her professor when she got a text message from senior Theory/Composition major Edward James Whittle telling her she had won the position of Princeton campus SGA president. Whittle had won the position of Princeton SGA vice president after defeating seven write-in challengers.
Voice Pedagogy major Erin Knapp, a graduate student, beat out three candidates to win the Treasurer seat, and Vocal Pedagogy and Performance major Kathleen Comstock, another graduate student, won the uncontested seat of Secretary. The elections were held Tuesday, April 17.
Forty-six percent, or roughly 200 students of Westminster Choir College (WCC) voted in the election, said Associate Dean Laura Seplaki. Although official margins are not released, Lashley did not think it was a close race.
“I’ve been confident of my ability to secure the position, but I was careful not to be presumptuous, but in terms of the ultimate closeness in the race, I wouldn’t be surprised if it wasn’t terribly close,” she said.
Whittle, on the other hand, does not know how he weathered against his other
“I was a write-in candidate,” he said. “It is so hard to tell how close an election is for write-ins because it could be between two people or five people.”
WCC students had a chance to vote via the Internet, through Votenet Solutions, a company dedicated to online voting. Students were also able to vote with paper ballot.
“The process went smooth,” said outgoing Princeton campus SGA President Christian Stück, who set up the online voting. “It was completely convenient because you could vote from anywhere.”
However, online voting raised some of the eyebrows of next year’s SGA members over on the Lawrenceville campus, which currently only uses voting machines to poll the student voters.
“I don’t like on-line voting,” said newly sworn in vice president of the Lawrenceville campus Brian Pawelko. “Even if they say it is safe, who’s to say that it’s really secure?”
Online voting didn’t seem to bother either Lashley or Whittle. Both saw it as a fast and convenient way to vote.
“I thought that the system worked quite well,” Lashley said. “It also makes the process quite convenient for students, as no matter where they are, whether student teaching or interning.
“I’ll be in contact with Lawrenceville leadership in the very near future, and I do hope that they too are open to building on the current relationship between the two campuses and expanding our joint vision, which could only benefit the students we represent,” she said.
Whittle said he looks forward to working hand-in-hand with the Lawrenceville campus and hopes the SGAs will invite each other to different campus events.
“I anticipate University-wide events for the forthcoming year,” he said. “Strong communication and efficient meetings will bring success to both
As her first action as Princeton SGA president, Lashley plans on meeting with the current and incoming executive board to ensure a proper hand over.
“The first thing I will be doing is joining with the current and incoming executive boards to discuss the SGA’s current standing and to consolidate our vision for the way forward, ensuring a seamless hand-over and a solid foundation for the new academic year,” she said.
Whittle has similar plans.
“I also want to give the students a chance to share their concerns and ideas about campus improvement for the upcoming year,” he said.