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Tuesday, April 16, 2024
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Islam, Comino, Cottone and Palmer elected 2024-2025 Student Government executives

A majority of voting students support repealing recent protest and postering policies

The American University student body voted to elect Arusa Islam the next Student Government president for the 2024-2025 academic year.

Arusa Islam, a junior in the School of Public Affairs, won 57.23 percent of the 1,155 votes cast. Islam is currently serving as the SG vice president and previously served in the Undergraduate Senate. 

“My campaign was focused on advocacy, inclusivity, collaboration, transparency, and sustainability,” Islam said in an email to The Eagle. “I hope to work with the student body and administration in ensuring that the ideas I had during my campaign become plans in the next year.” 

Islam’s opponent, Anshul Shukla, a sophomore in SPA, received 36.36 percent of the vote. 

Voting turnout, at 1,318, increased by 6.04 percent since fall 2023 elections, but was similar to the turnout in spring 2023, according to Elections Administrator Max Morse-deBrier.

Islam will replace Edwin Santos, a senior in SPA, who has served as president since he was elected in spring 2023. 

Julia Comino, a junior in the SPA and the School of Communication, will serve as vice president after running unopposed for the position. She is currently the SG secretary and chief of communications. Comino helped to pass the Survivor’s Bill of Rights unanimously last spring.

“I am excited to continue my work advocating for the implementation of the policies and procedures of the Survivor Bill of Rights,” Comino said in a statement to The Eagle. “In my work with the [Undergraduate] Senate, I hope to ensure that addressing student issues on campus is the priority.”  

Salvatore Cottone, a junior in SPA, also ran unopposed and won the election for the comptroller position. Cottone is currently serving as SG’s Undergraduate Senate speaker pro tempore and helped draft the ballot’s referendum on freedom of speech policies. 

“As comptroller, I am excited to work with campus organizations using the comptroller's co-sponsorship fund that allows SG to partner with them, keep the SG website updated on all financial decisions made by Student Government, and work with students on key issues such as Huron and campus sustainability,” Cottone said in an email. 

Aidan Palmer, a sophomore in SPA and the College of Arts and Sciences, ran unopposed and won the election for the secretary position. 

Referendum Questions 

Referendum 19-001, which asked if administrators should remove the ban on indoor protesting and lift the updated postering policies, passed with a majority of students voting ‘yes’ to both questions. The referendum was added to the spring 2024 election ballot after being passed by the Undergraduate Senate on Feb. 25, one month after the Jan. 25 policy announcement from University President Sylvia Burwell. 

Nine-hundred and four students said the ban on indoor protesting should be removed, while 302 students voted for the ban to remain with 112 students abstaining. Additionally, 1,019 students voted for the postering policies to be lifted, while 205 students voted for the policies to stay with 94 students abstaining.    

Student Government will send the student-supported referendum results to the University administration. The University is not obligated to implement referendum results. It is uncommon for administrators to change policy based on referendums, but they have done so in past elections. The University added the Subway footlong back to the meal plan in fall 2021 after students voted in a referendum for bringing back the sub.   

The Undergraduate Council results are listed below. Unlisted positions had no winner. 

College of Arts and Sciences Undergraduate Council 

Vice President: Haider Zaidi 

Treasurer: Vivian Burnham 

School of Public Affairs Undergraduate Council 

President: Eliana Dente

Vice President: Mason Corkhill

Secretary: Annika McCanne

Treasurer: Ethan McBride

School of Communication Undergraduate Council 

President: Leena Hanson

School of International Service Undergraduate Council 

President: Misthi Mishra

Vice President: Kaash Goyal

Secretary: Tanishka Khanna

Treasurer: Julia Craig

School of Education Undergraduate Council 

President: Shayna Caruso 

Vice President: Anna Russell 

Kogod School of Business Undergraduate Council 

President: Jeffrie Chambers IV

Vice President: Libby Fowler

Treasurer: Cameron Johnson

This is a developing story and will be updated as more information becomes available. 

Correction: A previous version of this article misspelled the first name of Leena Hanson. The article has been updated with the correct spelling. 

This article was edited by Kathryn Squyres, Abigail Turner and Abigail Pritchard. Copy editing done by Luna Jinks. 

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