Class of 2022 elects First Year Council president and vice president

Denzel Mitchell elected as president, Jennifer Lin as vice president

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First Year Council President Denzel Mitchell (left) and Vice President Jennifer Lin (right)

Courtesy Denzel Mitchell

The University Board of Elections announced the results of First Year Council elections Sunday, naming first-year College students Denzel Mitchell and Jennifer Lin as president and vice president, respectively. The election took place Sept. 24 to 27, following their election as FYC representatives Sept. 13.

Overall, there were 10 total candidates for president and 4 total candidates for vice president. Runners up for the presidential position include College students Campbell Turner (351 votes), Emma Sisk (275 votes) and Justin Costello (195 votes). For the position of vice president, runners up were College students Michael Kerns (304 votes), Joshua Franklin (226 votes) and Jordan Smith (151 votes). 

The presidential election results revealed a 35 percent dip in voter turnout compared to last year’s FYC election, with 1,167 out of 3,876 first-years — 30 percent — submitting ballots this year. Last year, 46 percent of first-years voted in the election for First Year Council president. 

28 percent of first-years voted in the First Year Council vice presidential election — down from 41 percent last year.

Mitchell, who won the election with 517 votes total, said his platform was based on engagement with the broader Charlottesville community. 

“Being big on community building and knowing that I wanted to make some changes to UVA after the events last August I saw it as my duty to get up and run,” Mitchell said in an email to The Cavalier Daily. 

Mitchell said that his participation in club running at the University exposed him to socioeconomic disparities in Charlottesville as he was able to see the contrast between wealthy and low-income areas of the City.   

Mitchell said he saw similar issues that inspired him to reach out to his community while he served as the governor of Boys State Virginia and student representative on the Northumberland County School Board for Northumberland High School in Heathsville, Va.. He said he established the county’s first honor code and opposed academic practices that hurt underprivileged students. 

“I am qualified to serve as the FYC President because I am willing to work with authority instead of fight against it, to avoid gridlock and make sure that the voices of my peers, even the silent ones, turn into action,” Mitchell said in his FYC candidate statement. 

To campaign, Mitchell used social media and hung campaign posters though he noted that most of his supporters came from knocking on dorm doors and getting to know other first year students. 

Mitchell said he hopes to work with FYC’s Community Service committee to plan events that reach Charlottesville residents as well as students, such as a community cookout on Grounds. 

“I will my shape my community service events around bringing those who would usually see the UVA as some foreign place, for the privileged, to Grounds so they can know that UVA supports them,” Mitchell said. 

Mitchell said he created a new committee on Political Action and Outreach within First Year Council in order to organize around local political issues. 

Mitchell said his goals include opening up U.Va.’s grounds to all citizens of Charlottesville — regardless of their economic status or race — and making all first year students feel at home. He said he plans to accomplish these by listening to the issues affecting the community and class and taking real action to fix them.  

Lin was elected vice president of FYC with a total of 551 votes. She ran on a platform that emphasized making the first year experience as memorable as possible and creating events that are specifically tailored to the needs and interests of the class.

Though Lin did not have direct experience with her high school’s student council, she held leadership positions in several clubs.

“As student council organized the events for the entire student body, I was able to work alongside them for each of the clubs that I was in,” Lin said in her FYC candidate statement. “I'm always dedicated to helping and working with people in my community and would love to continue to do so!”

Lin said she joined FYC because she wanted to have more of a voice in her new community and meet new people. To reach out to voters, she ventured around dorms to personally speak with them, hung self-made posters and handed out candy.

Lin said her goals as vice president are to bring the class together through new and interesting events as well as gain a better understanding of the FYC and her new role. She said she aims to work closely with all the committees of the FYC and be a liason to plan events that will be popular among the Class of 2022. 

“I plan on attending a lot of the association council meetings so I can hear the plans they have going on,” Lin said. “Then if they have [an event] that goes really well, we can hopefully make it bigger and open it up to the entire first year class.”

Through self-governance, Lin said she hopes there will be greater communication within the student body and that the opinions of all students will be heard and will have the opportunity to be put into action. 

The results of the First Year Student Council Representative and the Transfer Student Council Representative elections were announced Sunday as well. There were a total of 45 candidates for the three First Year representative slots available, with Isabella Liu (198 votes), Abigail Knox (124 votes) and Aneesha Goodala (98 votes) elected to office. The TSC Representative position had a total of 11 candidates, and Darlenne Helena was elected with 23 votes.

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