The aggressive and controversial race for WSA President and Vice President came to a close last Friday as Micah Feiring ’11 was elected President with 62 percent of the vote, while his running-mate Ben Firke ’12 took the Vice Presidency with 71 percent.

According to current WSA President Mike Pernick ’10, the election had the highest turnout of any election in recorded Wesleyan history—with 55 percent of the student body voting—and both Feiring and Firke received more votes than any candidate in recorded Wesleyan history.

“It’s a really flattering thing,” Firke said. “To come in and be part of a record-breaking election is an experience you don’t take for granted.”

While the high turnout numbers indicate that Firke and Feiring ran a successful campaign, complaints that campaign tactics used by both sides in the week leading up the to the election were intrusive and petty have filled the campus. Jeff Stein ’10 posted on Wesleying in support of Spahn and called Feiring “loud and obnoxious.” Firke sent out an e-mail to all students on campus denouncing Spahn. Three hours before the election ended, Feiring sent a text message from a generic number to all students asking for votes, and ads for Firke and Feiring showed up all week on Facebook.

“I think that people were passionate, I think people were frustrated, I think people got behind their candidate of choice or against a candidate they didn’t like,” Pernick said. “I think most of all, people were engaged in a way they haven’t been before and I think that’s an extremely healthy thing.”

Feiring said that he doesn’t regret the way he ran his campaign.

“I did everything I could to ensure that voter turnout was higher than ever before,” he said. “If I ran again I’d figure out how to encourage the 1,000 students who did not cast ballots to get off their tuchus and vote.”

Firke, however, said that while he was satisfied with many parts of the race, he found some parts disappointing.

“Sometimes it brought out the best in us, but I think at other times it did bring out the worst in people—and that’s something that’s really regrettable,” he said.

Nonetheless, the candidates have all expressed a desire to put the campaign behind them and look toward the future.

“I think we all put the WSA and the student body first, so I hope that we can cooperate on that basis,” Spahn wrote in an e-mail to The Argus. “Obviously I’m disappointed, but I hope that Micah will back responsible policies and focus on giving students the full value of their student activities fee.”

Firke said that although he wishes he had done some things differently in the campaign, he hopes to mend any resulting rifts.

“I wouldn’t be on the WSA if it wasn’t for Brad—Brad was one of the first people I met freshman year, and it was his encouragement that made me want to run for WSA,” he said. “I tried not to make it personal but I apologize to Brad and any of his friends if they were hurt by it.”

Pernick said that he is confident that next year’s WSA leaders will face some difficult campus controversies.

“I think we’re going to see a very interesting and very productive year next year,” he said. “There are a lot of big issues the next year’s WSA President will have to deal with: open-cup policy, a meal plan which requires fundamental reform, a certain inflexibility of our academics compared to our peer institutions.”

Meanwhile, Feiring is already preparing to take charge in the 2010-2011 academic year.

“Next year I am going to run the assembly like I ran my campaign,” Feiring said. “I am going to be just as aggressive when it comes to standing up for students and I am going to get results.”

  • iyqujask