UPDATE, 5:09 p.m., Feb. 7, 2018: Ravichandran has said that he will be withdrawing from the race, according to Goberna. Goberna said this afternoon Ravichandran indicated he will not be participating in any of the upcoming campaign events, including tonight’s Executive Ticket Debate. Ravichandran’s name will still remain on the ballot.
By the end of the registration deadline on Jan. 30, this year’s Student Government election began similarly to years past: Two “full tickets” running for the executive titles. However, only a few days later, two candidates on one of the tickets had dropped out, leaving two positions in the executive branch unopposed in the upcoming elections.
The “We Got You” ticket, composed of Matt Wenstrom, Nishan Ravichandran and Ashlyn Coleman became a one-candidate ticket just days later. Elections Commission Chairman Luis Goberna said on Feb. 2 that two of the candidates, Wenstrom and Coleman, indicated they wanted to drop from the election. Wenstrom was vying for the position of president and Coleman for the position of treasurer.
However, “dropping” from the election isn’t so easy.
Goberna said because both individuals indicated they wanted to drop after the deadline, the elections commission shot down their request unanimously 8-0.
“It didn’t follow procedure,” Goberna said.
Because of this, each candidates’ name will still remain on the ballot.
Wenstrom, a junior, said as time went on he realized he wasn’t “the right person for the job,” despite initially feeling it was something he wanted.
“It just wasn’t me; I didn’t think I was the best candidate for the job,” he said.
Though he declined to comment on when he made the decision to drop, he said the decision for both candidates to drop was not a collective decision.
“I had my doubts early on … She dropped first and then I chose to drop as well,” said Wenstrom, an economics major.
Wenstrom and Coleman will not be participating in any campaign events. Coleman declined an interview with The Miami Hurricane.
Tickets have three candidates to fill the three executive positions up for election. The positions of president, vice president and treasurer are all up for grabs when elections begin on Feb. 12. In 2016, then-sophomore Aaron King withdrew from the election after running independently with no treasurer or vice presidential running mates. King dropped his campaign after contracting pneumonia.
Now, the situation is eerily similar with only one candidate from the “We Got You” ticket running as an independent. Goberna said though Ravichandran said he was interested in participating in scheduled campaign events such as Meet the Candidates on Feb. 6., he did not attend the WVUM interview with the candidates on Feb. 5. The Miami Hurricane reached out to Ravichandran for an interview on multiple occasions but did not receive a response.
The candidates left are from the “U First” ticket, composed of juniors Evan De Joya, Catherine De Freitas and Rafael Cariello.
All three members have been involved in Student Government organizations since their freshman year.
Each of the candidates said they balance each other out. De Joya, vying for the position of president, said though each brings different experiences to the ticket, they have similar visions for the university.
“That student input is really valuable … I’ve been able to interact with administrators as well as hear student input and, incorporating those two things, I’ve developed a strong vision of what I want to bring to the University of Miami,” said De Joya, a biology and geography double major. “I think Cathy, Rafa and I working together next year will be able to transition that vision into reality.”
That vision has to do a lot with how Student Government engages with the student population. Cariello, running for treasurer, said U First wants to bring student involvement up while being transparent.
“My biggest qualm with Student Government as a whole has been communication – not in a bad way – it’s just people don’t,” Cariello said. “Maybe they choose to ignore the communication or just don’t see it, but we really, really want to focus on getting the word out and making sure everything is well-communicated and clear.”
The U First ticket has created a seven-point concept-based platform that serves as a framework of what it’d like to accomplish if elected. The seven points are an accessible campus, safe college experience, enriched dining experience, student-tailored health resources, approachable and transparent Student Government, collaborative university community and equitable education.
One of its most distinct initiatives is subsidized Uber and Lyft rides originating from campus. De Joya described the crafting of the initiate as a marriage of two different things: underutilized shuttle routes on weekends to off-campus locations and large ridership of Uber and Lyft. He said U First would work to use the total money used for shuttle routes and reallocate them to Uber and Lyft rides originating from campus.
“The main factor of what separates our ticket from their ticket is the amount of involvement we bring to the table … Our main goal is bringing everyone together because we are the University of Miami,” said vice-presidential candidate De Freitas, a marketing major.
For more information, visit ufirstum.com.
Campaigns will continue until elections end Feb.14. Voting opens Feb. 12, and results will be announced 5:30 p.m. Feb. 15 at the Lakeside Patio.