Sarah Wiener was elected as the Tufts Community Union (TCU) President over opponent junior Grant Gebetsberger, following the close of a 48-hour election window that began on Thursday at midnight.
Wiener, a junior who served on the TCU Senate for three years except for one semester abroad, won the election with 53.89% of the vote over Gebetsberger’s 44.52%, while 1.59% of voters abstained.
One thousand and four voters participated in the election, translating to a voter turnout rate of 17.37%, according to Elections Commission (ECOM) Chair Matt Zachem, a sophomore.
The light turnout falls short of the participation rate in the two most recent TCU Presidential elections that were contested. Last year’s was 26.79%, when outgoing TCU President Shannon Lee, a senior, was elected. In 2018, turnout was 29.5% for the election of former TCU President Jacqueline Chen.
Wiener’s win came in the first election cycle among recent years to be held over two days, instead of the usual 24-hour window, due to the closure and evacuation of campus necessitated by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
In a statement on his campaign’s Facebook page, Gebetsberger thanked his supporters for their energy despite the stresses surrounding the coronavirus pandemic and congratulated Wiener, a long-time friend and colleague, on her victory.
“Sarah is one of the most hard-working people I know. Her approach to solving problems on campus is supremely creative and her commitment to follow through on ambitious projects is unwavering,” Gebetsberger wrote. “I want to thank her for running such a positive campaign – I’m so happy that we can go back to working together again!”
Wiener likewise thanked her campaign’s supporters and praised Gebetsberger’s candidacy in a statement posted to her Facebook page following the close of the election.
Wiener also expressed excitement over her victory, applauding the connectedness of the Tufts community she witnessed in the election.
“Even though we were disconnected across the country, students showed how much they care about our community throughout the election. I am so honored to have been elected,” Wiener wrote in an electronic message to the Daily. “I hope everyone is staying healthy wherever they are. I think the election has shown that no matter where we are, we are stronger together.”
This year’s election was also notable for its absence of any referenda on the ballot. One intended referendum was proposed by Tufts Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), which sought to garner student support in calling upon Tufts to stop sending its police on military training trips abroad.
Lee told the Daily in March that SJP’s referendum would be postponed until the fall semester, when a possible return to campus would help boost student participation past the minimum threshold needed so it may pass.