Marquez is Next ASUSF President by Wide Margin

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Additional reporting by Staff Writer Laura Plantholt 

Online Exclusive  

Junior Bobby Marquez was declared the next student body president Thursday afternoon following the conclusion of ASUSF elections. Marquez beat incumbent Alex Platt by a margin of 30-percent (501 to 386) and current Off-Campus Representative Jon Coon who received 359 votes.

Three of the four vice president positions were closely contested races. Halimah Najieb-Locke edged-out incumbent Carmen Kestekyan with 52-percent of the vote to Kestekyan’s 45-percent to win the Vice President of Internal Affairs post. Danny Ha will be the next Vice President of Public Relations after receiving 37-percent of the vote, beating Ricardo Hieber (28-percent) who had allied with Marquez and Erick Irigoyen (34–percent) who campaigned with Platt. Incumbent Alia Al-Sharif defeated Shelly Saini with 52-percent of the vote to Saini’s 46-percent in the competition for Vice President of Mission.

The only uncontested Vice President position, business administration, went to incumbent Michelle “My” Nguyen who was voted-in with a 92-percent approval rating.

All of the senate seats were uncontested or without candidates with the exception of Junior Class Representative which was a three-way race for two seats. The positions went to Patrick Sudlow and Justin Setareh while Craig Jordan came in just one vote short of Setareh to finish in third.

Jordan was not eligible to vote in his own race because his credits give him senior standing, despite being a junior, meaning he was only eligible to vote for Senior Class Representative candidates. ASUSF’s Electoral Governing Board is looking into the issue of discrepancies between credit-standing and year in school for next year.

A referendum to continue the MUNI pass program after MUNI increased fees for the passes to $110 per semester, up from $90, passed with 82-percent of students voting in favor of paying the higher price instead of discontinuing the program. It was the only referendum on the ballot. 

1260 students, or roughly 26-percent of the undergraduate student body voted in the election, the largest number ever according to Nguyen, and far higher than the 10-percent who voted last year. Students who voted at the station setup outside the Market Café were given a coupon for a free Jamba Juice. An EGB survey found that 50-percent of voters said the Jamba promotion enticed them to go to the polls.

This is the first time in three years that the ASUSF presidential race has been contested. Last year Marquez planned to run against Platt for the position but was forced to drop-out of the race after it was discovered he did not have the 3.0 GPA required to run for president.

Since there was no pre-election polling, student support was hard to gauge going into election week yet most of the Senate Executive Board positions were perceived as being hotly contested. However, Marquez’s decisive victory comes as a surprise to many students who viewed him as a third party “Nader” candidate in relation to Platt and Coon.

Platt is a well recognized figure on campus who spent three years on Senate and is also an executive at USFtv, founded the Women in Media club and has performed in College Players plays, including “Vagina Monologues.” She is generally well-liked by students and was widely expected to win reelection. Meanwhile, Coon ran a high-profile campaign that Nguyen called “One of the best I’ve ever seen.” He enlisted the help of close friend Thomas Roche, a nightclub promoter and popular name on campus who hosted several election parties for Coon as well as a hip-hop concert in Crossroads during dead hour the week before elections.

When Marquez was announced the winner, Nguyen said she was shocked. “I knew Bobby had a lot of on-campus organizations that supported him but I really thought the race was between Jon and Alex,” she said.

Marquez credited his win to a grassroots effort. “I think just talking to students and being cordial is what got me the race,” he said. “People said they liked how approachable I am and how I give them straight answers.”

Marquez also made several campaign promises that attracted voters, including a proposal to spend $2000 of the $7000 stipend he would receive if elected president on an event for students.

Freshman Janet Glynn was not familiar with any of the presidential candidates but voted for Marquez because she liked his proposal to spend his stipend on students. “The other candidates [Coon and Platt] talked in vague terms about communication and involvement; it didn’t mean anything to me. Bobby was promising something concrete and I liked that,” she said. 

However, Platt is critical of Marquez’s campaign promises and said that he has still not fulfilled the promises he made when running last year for Off-Campus Representative which included improving student parking and installing lockers for off-campus students. Platt said this year Marquez has made no effort to correct the parking shortage and that it is her, not him, who has been working on a resolution to provide lockers on campus. Platt called his plan to spend $2000 of his stipend on students an “outlandish claim.”

When asked if he planned to make good on the promise to host an event Marquez said, “Of course, It may not be until the spring semester but we’re going to do something. It will be whatever students decide, maybe a rock concert or an event in Crossroads, we will do a survey to see what they want.”

Platt cited a lack of free time as one of the factors that led to her defeat. “I didn’t have time to throw the kinds of campaigns Bobby and Jon did because I was busy being president,” she said. Both Coon and Marquez, as well as candidates for other positions, spent long hours canvassing high traffic areas on campus handing out pins, flyers and business cards.

This election season also saw a number of highly creative campaigns that incorporated a variety of promotional materials and events not seen in past elections. In addition to the traditional posters and Facebook groups, candidates made websites and T-shirts and one student, Al-Sharif, donned a costume around campus. “[Al-Sharif] campaigned endlessly, walking around all week in a super-woman costume,” said Nguyen.

In reaction to the results, Platt said, “I took it way better than I thought I was going to.” She is disappointed but already looking forward and hopes to focus her energy in other ways on campus, including by strengthening the Women in Media club she founded.

Jon Coon was unavailable for comment on this article but gave Marquez a congratulatory handshake before leaving the Green & Gold room where the election results were announced Thursday evening.

 

 Complete Election Results

 

 

 

 

President

Bobby Marquez

39.76% (501 votes)

Alex Platt (incumbent)

30.63% (386 votes)

Jon Coon

28.49 (359 votes)

VP Business Administration

Michelle “My” Nguyen (incumbent, unopposed)

91.67% approval (1155 votes)

VP Internal Affairs

Halimah Najieb-Locke

51.67% (651 votes)

Carmen Kestekyan (incumbent)

45.48% (573 votes)

VP of Public Relations

Danny Ha

36.51% (460 votes)

Erick Irigoyen

33.57% (423 votes)

Ricardo Hieber

27.94% (352)

VP of Mission

Alia Al-Sharif (incumbent)

52.46% (661 votes)

Shelly Saini

46.11% (581 votes)

Junior Class Rep.

Patrick Sudlow

40.93% (88 votes)

Justin Setareh

29.30% (63 votes)

Craig Jordan

28.84% (62 votes)

Sophomore Class Rep.

Maggie Kennedy

83.52% approval (76 votes)

Kelsey Jones

81.32% approval (74 votes)

Off-Campus Rep.

Jennifer Beltran

92.37% approval (230 votes)

Joe Famularo

90.36% approval (225 votes)

On-Campus Rep.

Briceyda Lopez

95.14% approval (274 votes)

College of Arts & Sciences Rep.

David Morse

90.16% approval (339 votes)

School of Business Admin. Rep.

Liana Sun

93.63% approval (147 votes)

International Student Rep.

Emma Wenjie Zhang

82.76% approval (24 votes)

Jie Sun

75.86% approval (22 votes)

Non-Traditional Age Rep.

Ryan Cole

100% approval (14 votes)

Maura Boldocchi

92.86% approval (13 votes)

School of Nursing Rep.

Thuy Nguyen (write-in)

78.79% (26 votes)

Students With Disabilities Rep.

Nicholas Baradillo (write-in)

92.68% (114 votes)

AJ Smith (write-in)

7.32% (9 votes)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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13 COMMENTS

  1. Bobby Marquez is the new ASUSF president – not the outcome most people were expecting but it’s hard not to feel good for the underdog.

  2. as for the story, very interesting results.. i was surprised. not that bobby won — i really had no idea who would win — but that he won by such a large margin. who knew.
    either way i’m excited to see so many students caring about voting and their future senators. i hope it wasn’t ALL about the free jamba.

  3. Senate is not an event throwing body…therefore Bobby’s promise of throwing an “event” for students is bullshit….that’s the first campaign promise he cannot keep….let’s see what other promises he cannot keep.

  4. I wasn’t surprised at all that Marquez won the elections. I always said to my friends and even to Marquez that the final competition was between Platt ( Coon was close to Alex for the second place though). Coon ran a very good campaign, but sometimes I felt he was running more for a PR position than for the President one.

    I guess what surprised me the most was the margin between him and Platt. Although I don’t agree with many of the things Marquez promised during the campaign, he knows how to charm people (and clearly did during the meet the candidates meeting). He interacted with the audience, promised a party, 200 calls, and etc. That could explain those 500 votes.

    Yet, Marquez will be now under the loop, specially for the people who expects him to accomplish all what he said. The people who voted for him will be the ones who will see what he does. Hopefully his words won’t hunt him later.

    In other matters, isn’t a 3.0 GPA too low for a President position? I think it is; it should be at least 3.5. I’m sure Marquez won’t disappoint with the GPA; Platt was able to get high grades and keep up with the President responsibilities.

  5. *Correction:

    I always said to my friends and even to Marquez that the final competition was between Platt and him.

  6. Hey Hunter! Great job with the article. I always envy people who can write such good pieces in such a short amount of time. Good job!

    I just want to say that I truly enjoyed working with this year’s E-board and I will miss them. Both Alex and Carmen devoted so much time and effort to their positions, and I really admired them for doing so. They are two very valuable students at USF, and I am sure that we will continue to see them stay involve and dedicate themselves to the improving the school in one way or another. I was heartbroken when Erick was not elected, but I know that being President of ISA and CFCC will keep him busy. With my position, I will get to work with him next year with budgets/superfund etc., so I am very excited. I am happy that Alia was elected because she has so much passion and devotion for her position as VP of Mission (wow, that rhymes).

    Although I will miss this year’s E-board members dearly, I am also excited for next year. Our new E-board is comprised with many different perspectives, and these different viewpoints will help guide us to make decisions that truly represent the student body. I love to work with new members and learn new ideas.

    I was very happy with the campaign and the voter turnout (26% woohoo). I feel that the elected individuals will feel a lot more pressure from the student body to work harder than ever in their prospective positions. Students will not only keep track whether or not elected officers fulfill their promises, but how well did he/she fulfill them.

    I truly hoped that this election really got the students involved, and perhaps more and more students will attend Senate’s meetings next year and/or interact with their Senators to voice their opinions.

    –My

  7. I’m pretty impressed by the voter turnout. When we raised the stipends a few years ago our goal was to create more competitive elections. I think this is funny that the stipend thing played so heavily in this election. Whoever did the Jamba Juice thing is brilliant as well. Kudos to EGB and the candidates.

  8. Great coverage of this Hunter! Way to get em while the news is fresh! Also, I wanted to congratulate all of the winners of this year’s election. It was definitely one of the most exciting elections that I’ve seen during my time here at USF. Tata!

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