This spring’s ASU election had a stronger showing than in previous years.
By Gabriel Arizon, Co-Editor-in-Chief
Valley College students recently voted for the new ASU board amid a more competitive race and stronger voter participation than in years past.
Out of the 16,858 eligible voters, 567 valid votes were cast in the election, which accounts for 3.36 percent of the total number of voters. In last year’s school election, 325 votes were counted, which was less than 2 percent of the total number of voters, and all the candidates ran unopposed.
The current ASU commissioner of publicity, Elijah Rodriguez, won his bid for president with 38 percent of the vote against three other candidates. Commissioner of political and external affairs, Ani Apikyan, ran and won her bid for vice president with 44 percent of the votes, beating two other candidates. Evelyn Soriano, commissioner of social media, won the position of health and safety concerns, also beating two candidates by winning 44 percent of the votes.
Both Angelica Simityan and Dania Castillo ran unopposed for treasurer and commissioner of campus and environmental affairs, respectively. Commissioner of Ethnic and Cultural Affairs Jose Romo ran for the position of student life against incumbent Maricela Garcia, losing to her by getting 44 percent of the votes. According to Dean of Student Life Elizabeth Negrete, Romo will not be an ASU member next semester unless he runs again.
The tightest race of the election was for commissioner of fine arts, between incumbent Angela Darpinian and Jy Prishkulnik. By a difference of four votes, Darpinian kept her position.
“Everyone was so hyped and anticipated but I thought ‘Oh well, if it doesn’t happen I’m fine with that, and if I do win- cool,’ Darpinian said. “Then I saw the number of votes when my winning was announced and I thought, ‘... The extras were Armenians, haha.’”
Aside from the ASU positions, students voted to approve (83 percent) the referendum that will impose a $13 fee for an unlimited Los Angeles Metro rail and bus pass. With the exception of Pierce College — which did not include the referendum on its ballot — every college in the L.A. Community College District voted in support of it, according to a document provided by Negrete. In terms of percentage, Southwest College had the highest amount of support at 95 percent, as opposed to the 70 percent in Harbor College; although, Southwest had the lowest total number of votes cast out of all the schools at 122 votes.
Though Valley students voted in support of the referendum, according to Negrete, it does not necessarily mean the school will have the program to begin with. In collaboration with LA Metro, the district will have a selection process that will decide which of the colleges will have the program. Whichever colleges are selected, the program will take effect in the upcoming winter semester for three years.
“I think that, not to say it was unclear, but I guess a little bit of uncertainty because, at first, we were under the impression that it was gonna be any school that votes to have it,” Negrete said.
The elected ASU board will be sworn in May 21, and their term begins July 1.