Shannon Lee wins TCU Presidency, 4 of 6 referenda pass

A sign encouraging students to vote in the TCU Presidential Election is pictured in Mayer Campus Center on April 24. (Ben Kim / The Tufts Daily)

Shannon Lee, a junior, was elected Tufts Community Union (TCU) President last night, according to Elections Commission (ECOM) Chair Leah Sugrue. Philip Miller, a junior who had previously served on TCU Senate for two years, contested Lee.

Lee, who served on TCU Senate for three years, excluding one semester abroad, won the election with 59.86% of the vote, Miller garnered 38.45% and 1.69% of voters abstained, according to Sugrue, a first-year.

In an electronic message to the Daily, Sugrue said that 1,480 students voted in the presidential election, which was 26.58% of eligible voters. Overall turnout was 26.79% of eligible voters.

In the most recent contested presidential elections of 2018 and 2016, turnout was 29.5% and 24.95% of eligible voters respectively, according to articles in the Daily from both years.

There were also six referenda questions on the ballot, four of which passed.

The first question on the ballot passed, which asked students if the TCU Constitution should be amended to create a senator position for the School at the Museum of Fine Arts.

The second question on the ballot passed, which asked students whether the TCU Constitution should be amended to replace the title of “Community Representative” with “Community Senator.”

The third question on the ballot failed, which asked students whether the TCU Constitution should be amended to allow any undergraduate member of the Tufts community to run for TCU president, regardless of whether they were elected to TCU Senate, a current prerequisite.

The fourth question on the ballot failed, which asked students whether the TCU Constitution should be amended to combine the positions of TCU Historian and Outreach Committee Chair into one position.

The fifth question on the ballot, a non-binding referendum, passed, which asked students if they support placing a recent graduate on the Board of Trustees.

The sixth question on the ballot, another non-binding referendum, passed, which asked students if they support a provision that would require the University administration to respond to TCU resolutions within two weeks.

Upon hearing the election results, Lee expressed enthusiasm over being elected TCU President.

“I feel so much gratitude for the opportunity to do this, to be TCU President,” Lee said. “I do this for students, my deepest commitment is to be an advocate for students and to represent them.”

Miller’s campaign posted a statement to his campaign Facebook page that wished Lee luck as TCU President and thanked his supporters.

“I know that she will be a strong leader for the student body and I have faith in her commitment to build a stronger community on campus,” the statement read.

Miller himself was not available for comment by the time of publication.

TCU Community and Diversity Committee Chair Grant Gebetsberger, who worked on Lee’s campaign, explained why he supported Lee’s candidacy for TCU President.

“I’m choosing to volunteer with Shannon’s campaign because of the work she’s done to help marginalized communities here at Tufts,” Gebetsberger, a sophomore, said. “Her priorities are really going to be there for the people who need them most.”

Gebetsberger acknowledged the strength of Miller’s candidacy as well.

“They’re both really amazing people,” Gebetsberger said. “He brings a lot of positive energy and competence to the work he does.”

TCU Senator Andrew Kofsky, who worked on social media and publicity for Miller’s campaign, explained why he believed that Miller should be elected to TCU Senate.

“His experience and the praise that he’s received from people that I do know has convinced me to support him,” Kofsky, a first-year, said. “That’s evident in the Textbook Exchange. He ran on that platform his freshman year and he executed it start to finish, and tangibly saved students thousands of dollars.”

Kofsky also explained why he did not support Lee’s candidacy.

“[Lee] is relying on projects that she’s worked on with other people, and not the creative ideas of her own,” Kofsky said. “Whereas [Miller] offers fresh new ideas and is able to bring a different perspective to Senate that others can’t.”

Gebetsberger disagreed, explaining the strength of Lee’s approach to leadership.

“Shannon is a really strong and collaborative leader, and she’s brought a lot of people on board to the projects that she’s undertaken,” Gebetsberger said.


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