A lot is on the ballot this election cycle. While a few elected positions remain unchallenged, many crucial races are contested — this includes races for Student Council, the Honor Committee, the University Judiciary Committee and Class Council, as well as critical referenda that will determine the future of both Honor and UJC.
One referendum on the ballot this spring is a proposal to amend Article II of the Honor Committee’s constitution, which would reduce the single sanction for committing an Honor offense from expulsion to a two-semester leave of absence.
This is the first time in over five years that the student body will vote on such a fundamental change to the University’s Honor system, but the process to getting the referenda on the ballot has not been easy. The amendment was authored and submitted to the UBE by third-year Law student Rep. Christopher Benos.
Last year, the Honor Committee did not bring any referenda to ballot, citing low turnout rates — the last election when an Honor referendum was put to a student vote was in 2019 and the proposal barely surpassed the required 10 percent threshold. Voter turnout was merely 10.51 percent, per results.
Since the Honor Committee’s adoption of a constitution in 1977, there have been nearly a dozen attempts to alter the constitution, none of which have achieved majority support among student voters.
The Honor Committee’s constitution requires that 10 percent of the eligible voting population vote in favor of a proposed amendment for it to pass and 60 percent of the voters vote in favor.
The other proposed amendment comes from the University Judiciary Committee, and will increase the number of representatives for the College of Arts and Sciences from three to five to better reflect the size of the College.
UJC is the student-run judiciary body of the University of Virginia and is authorized to investigate and adjudicate alleged violations of the University’s Standards of Conduct, including physical assault, disorderly conduct and damage to University property.
The motion to increase the number of representatives has already been passed internally among the UJC body — now, the amendment must be ratified by two-thirds of the students voting in a referendum election, provided that at least 10 percent of the entire eligible voting population votes in favor of the amendment.
Two candidates are currently in the running for Student Council president — fourth-year College student Ceci Cain and third-year College student David Alari. Cain currently serves as vice president for administration on Student Council, while Alari is involved with Third Year Class Council, University Programs Council and the Lighting of the Lawn Committee.
Cain is running on a ticket alongside third-year College students Riley Reynolds and Jaden Evans — Reynolds is running unopposed for vice president for organizations and Evans is running unopposed for vice president for administration. The candidates discussed their visions for the future of Student Council during a debate hosted by The Cavalier Daily Monday night.
Fourth Year Trustees and Class Council races
Fourth Year Trustees is a group that operates as the Class Council for the fourth-year class. The race for president will see a contested election between third-year College student Anisa Mohamed and third-year Commerce student Sophia Liao. Third-year College student Lara Arif is the only candidate running for vice president and is doing so on a ticket with Liao.
Liao and Arif are the current president and vice president of the Third-Year Class Council, respectively, while Mohamed has previously served as vice president of the Class of 2023’s First and Second Year Class Councils.
Elections for class councils are highly competitive, with many candidates vying for president and vice president positions.
Second-year College students Amit Vallabh, Kyle Woodson and Rob Clawes are running for president of Third Year Council, while the candidates for vice president are second-year College students Karina Reynolds, Simeon Belgrave and Ben Lenox.
Woodson, who is the current president of Second-Year Council, will be running on a ticket with Reynolds, who is the current vice president of Second-Year Council.
The races for Second Year Council are also highly contested, with first-year College students Trisha Gulati, Joshua Maggiano and first-year Engineering student Christopher Joseph all running for president.
Joseph, who is the current First-Year Council president, will be running alongside first-year Nursing student James Edwards, the current vice-president of First Year Council. Maggiano is running alongside first-year College student Lydia Church.
Second-year College student Christopher Daleo is running uncontested for College Council president, as well as third-year Engineering student Isaac Heath, who is running for Engineering Student Council president and third-year Architecture student Thomas Ryan, who is running for School of Architecture Council president.
Third-year Batten student Haley Davie will be running against third-year Batten student Ahana Rosha for Batten Undergraduate Council president.
Third-year Nursing student Zoya Zahid is the only candidate running for Nursing Student Council president.
The Commerce Council president, Education Council executive board member and Batten Graduate Council president positions have no candidates in the running.
Many positions are left vacant following elections — 9 positions were left vacant following last year’s election, although none were in the Student Council or any Class Councils.
University Judiciary Committee
Representative positions for UJC will also be on the ballot, including positions for three representatives from the College, and two from the 11 other undergraduate and graduate schools within the University. Elected UJC representatives serve as judges during UJC trials and are also responsible for developing UJC policies and procedures.
The only contested race for UJC representatives is for the three College positions. 9 candidates are running for these three spots. Two candidates are running as representatives for the School of Law and School of Architecture, while one candidate is running uncontested as representative for the School of Education. Apart from this, no other schools have candidates.
The Honor Committee is comprised of two representatives from each of the schools within the University apart from the College, which has five representatives. The only contested races for Honor representatives this year are for the College and Law representatives.
The race for Honor representative for the School of Law is contested between three candidates, while the race for Honor representative for the College has nine candidates.
Voting opens Wednesday, March 2 at 10 a.m. and will close Friday, March 4 at 4 p.m. Students will receive an email with a personalized voting link Wednesday or can click on the orange “Vote” button on the University Board of Elections’ website.