Anuli Ononye '22 will be the next Student Assembly President.

May 13, 2021

After A Week of Deliberations, Anuli Ononye ’22 Wins S.A. Presidency

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With 1,521 votes, Anuli Ononye ’22 won the election for Student Assembly president. The results came a week after the rest of the S.A. seats were confirmed due to challenges from candidates. 

Valentina Xu ’22 received 1,419 votes, and Zion Sherin ’23 was disqualified from the race. 

According to Patrick Mehler ’23, director of elections, all disqualification materials will remain confidential. 

“The Elections Committee held multiple hearings to address all challenges presented, and the Committee reviewed the facts and reached a conclusion,” Mehler wrote in a statement to The Sun. “The candidate then asked for a [Judicial Codes Counselor] Review to ensure that the Committee did not err in its decision, to which the review took place and the Elections Committee’s decision to disqualify the challenge candidate was upheld by the JCC.”

Sherin did not respond to requests for comment.

Last fall’s S.A. elections saw historically low turnout, with only 16.85 percent of eligible voters participating. This year, 3,394 of the 14,358 eligible voters, or 23.63 percent turned out to vote. The increase in turnout marked a success for Mehler’s first stint as elections director, who introduced several new strategies for voter outreach.

“I’m very happy to have had the opportunity to run S.A.’s elections and extremely proud of the 33 percent increased voter turnout that we saw,” Mehler wrote. 

Ononye had previously served on the S.A. as the undergraduate student advocate. She ran a campaign on improving the S.A.’s transparency, increasing financial accessibility by establishing an S.A. committee for student financial support and expanding COVID-related accommodations like the S/U Option. 

Xu has been on the S.A. for three years and previously served as vice president of internal operations. Her campaign emphasized issues of student mental health, improving accessibility to clubs and career resources and organizing more community events. 

“This election was long but it was meaningful in many ways. It has been a huge learning experience,” Xu wrote in a Thursday statement to The Sun. “I’m lucky to have the opportunity to run, I am extremely grateful for everyone who helped me along the way. … The increased voter turnout is a win for our community, and I would like to congratulate my colleague Anuli, who I trust will fulfill her promises made during the campaign.”

Before the elections committee confirmed the presidential results, Ononye expressed that campaigning was the most rewarding part of her Cornell experience. 

“I am so thankful for the amazing opportunity to serve as Cornell’s next S.A. president,” Ononye wrote in a statement to The Sun. “Throughout this journey, I have had the amazing opportunity to meet with and engage with so many members of our campus community. I am looking forward to the opportunity to serve and amplify students’ voices on our campus in all the work that I do.”

Update, May 13, 11:06 a.m.: This post has been updated to include a statement from Valentina Xu ’22.