Mulukutla, Gambrah win uncontested ASG election


Daily file photo by Katie Pach

Weinberg juniors Nehaarika Mulukutla (right) and Rosalie Gambrah speak during a Daily-moderated forum Wednesday in Fisk Hall. Mulukutla and Gambrah won the election for Associated Student Government president and executive vice president Friday with nearly 77 percent of the vote.

Jonah Dylan, Print Development and Recruitment Editor

Weinberg juniors Nehaarika Mulukutla and Rosalie Gambrah won the uncontested Associated Student Government election Friday and will serve as ASG’s new president and executive vice president.

Mulukutla and Gambrah won 76.8 percent of the vote, election commissioner Shayna Servillas told The Daily. More than 23 percent of voters voted no confidence in the first uncontested presidential election in institutional memory.

Following the 2016 election, which featured one of the highest voter turnouts in ASG history, only 894 students voted this year. There were 4,060 total votes in 2016, when Christina Cilento and Macs Vinson narrowly beat Joji Syed and Archit Baskaran. The 2017 election had the lowest voter turnout in at least eight years.

Mulukutla said her reaction to seeing the number of no confidence votes was “complete shock.” However, she said the pair is looking forward to the upcoming term.

“We have this amazing, incredible opportunity to actually enact all the things we stand for,” she said, “in terms of pushing for students’ wellbeing and making students happier on this campus, and providing better Northwestern experiences so that every student from here on out can have a place in this community.”

Although the pair ran uncontested, they still campaigned and participated in three forums to discuss their goals for their administration. Mulukutla said they planned to meet with more than 60 student groups during the campaign process.

Gambrah said unlike Mulukutla, she wasn’t surprised by the number of no confidence votes and thought it was more a reflection of students’ perception of ASG than of their ticket.

“I even had close friends who voted no confidence, just because they really don’t believe ASG has the ability to enact change,” Gambrah said. “But it doesn’t matter to me because I have a whole year to prove that wrong.”

Mulukutla and Gambrah launched their campaign March 28. Their campaign website highlights three main issues they plan to address — mental health, sexual assault and inclusivity and accessibility. Mulukutla previously served as speaker of the senate, while Gambrah served as vice president for student activities.

Cilento attributed the low voter turnout to the single ticket running.

“People just didn’t want to engage in an election in which there was only one ticket running,” she said. “But I was really happy to see that Nehaarika and Rose went out and were meeting with people and hosting forums and still doing what you would normally do during an election period.”

Cilento dealt with a controversy at the onset of her term when a member of the election committee leaked the voting margin to her campaign before polls closed. However, Cilento said, students typically forget about election details by Fall Quarter.

ASG vice president for community relations Ross Krasner, who said he had thought about a potential presidential campaign, said the uncontested election could have a negative impact on ASG.

“It’s a problem when the only people on campus who are going to remember a contested election that didn’t end in controversy will be the seniors,” he said. “It has potential to hurt ASG’s legitimacy. With that said, I strongly believe that Nehaarika will be able to prove anybody wrong who looked at the election and was discouraged by it.”

Mulukutla and Gambrah will be sworn in during Wednesday’s Senate.

This story was updated Friday at 8:50 p.m. with a reaction from Mulukutla, and Sunday at 11:50 p.m. with quotes from Gambrah, Cilento and Krasner.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @thejonahdylan