Narla nabs Student Association top spot in runoff

Supporters of Ashwin Narla jumped from their seats when his name was announced for the position of Student Association president Thursday night. Michelle Rattinger | Senior Photo Editor

Ashwin Narla edged ahead of John Bennett for the title of Student Association president in a runoff  Thursday night, carrying 53 percent of the student vote.

Dozens of Narla supporters erupted into cheers as their candidate’s name was announced after a two-day vote drive, chanting and pumping their fists.

“This is only the beginning,” Narla said, after a crowd charged toward him for congratulatory hugs and high-fives.

“I’m not saying that I can change the whole school, but I want to make small changes that will make a difference,” the junior said.

Throughout the campaign season, Narla promised to step up the SA’s outreach to students, create a student organization calendar and eliminate classroom technology fees.

Ashwin Narla embraced John Bennett, congratulating him on a "clean campaign," shortly after the Joint Elections Committee announced the runoff results. Zach Krahmer | Hatchet Photographer

More than 100 students packed a lecture room in Funger Hall, waiting about 30 minutes for the Joint Elections Committee to tally the votes after polls closed at 9 p.m.

The election marks the second-straight year that an SA outsider beat out a finance committee chair for the presidency. Narla received 2,331 votes, while Bennett received 2,054 votes.

The JEC originally reported 57 percent of the vote went to Narla, but the organization’s chair, Phil Gardner, corrected the totals with The Hatchet about an hour after the announcement was made. He said the discrepancy was due to a miscalculation of the percentages, and added he is 100 percent sure the new figures are accurate.

“The vote totals weren’t wrong. It was just our calculations of those votes that were wrong,” Gardner said.

Narla came in second to Bennett during last week’s general election. Bennett earned about 130 votes more than Narla, but did not reach the 40 percent threshold needed to secure the post, forcing a runoff.

The JEC also announced that Michael Naple captured the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences graduate senator seat and Michael Komo won the College of Professional Studies senator spot.

Hatchet reporter Kaya Yurieff contributed to this report.

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