Brandon Wise/News Director
With a remarkably small voter turnout this year, the 2013 Student Government Association elections have come to a close. Only 1,061 students cast votes for the Student Government Council’s presidency at both the Modesto Maidique Campus and Biscayne Bay Campus — two percent of the reported 46,000 students currently enrolled in classes.
Last year’s election brought 8,848 votes to the presidential election. That was 19 percent of the student population.
Jose Toscano, interim director of Campus Life, noted that the decline in votes was due in part to less access to voting portals.
“It was a change from the previous year where we had iPads, people could vote from home on my.fiu.edu,” Toscano said. “This year we had it a little different with the locations where students could vote, with one at housing, one at [the Engineering campus], and one at Graham Center. Bringing students to those areas, I think that brought down the numbers.”
The position of president and vice president went unopposed at both campuses. After both former presidential candidates were disqualified, Pablo Haspel and Alex Castro, Liane Sippin was the only qualified candidate left who was able to run for the presidency. She was originally part of the Haspel ticket, but due to issues with the location of his classes and major, Haspel was disqualified.
Sippin served as an At-Large Senator and Speaker pro tempore last year.
According to Toscano, this is the fourth time in his nine years that the election has gone uncontested at MMC.
At BBC, President-elect Fu Zhou Wu and Vice President Richard Azimov received 200 votes to take over office in SGC-BBC. Wu was formerly the director of lectures in the executive cabinet and Azimov was formerly the comptroller in the executive cabinet at BBC.
“I am very excited for this opportunity that you all gave to me,” Wu said. “Being an international student, I never thought one day I would be able to represent you and your student government council as president, when four years ago I did not speak any English.”
Azimov told the crowd after the announcement how thankful he was for the voters and to get ready for next year.
“First of all I want to thank all of you, all the students, who have participated in the [ongoing] process. You have proved to yourself that as students you do have rights, you do have the power to choose who you elected into our office next year,” Azimov said. “We need to know how we can enhance your experience here at FIU. You’re the reason why all of us are here today standing on this stage.”
Sippin was unavailable for comment as of press time for this story.
Additional reporting by Stephanie Mason.