For the first time in the history of the Fairfield University Student Association, there was a Special Election that was the result of one of the elected senators from the Class of 2018, Závon Billups ‘18, deciding to drop out and the two candidates with the next highest amount of votes getting the same amount of votes. The Special Election was held to determine who the senator would be, since there was a tie. Out of the two candidates, Brendan Hunt ‘18 and James Mulhall ‘18, the Class of 2018 voted in Brendan Hunt as the newest FUSA Senator on Tuesday, Sept. 12.
Hunt received 92 votes, while Mulhall received 64, according to a breakdown released by FUSA.
The Chief Justice of the FUSA Court Matthew Marshall ‘19 explained that the Special Election was just in time for the new senator to participate in the first general senate meeting of the year, which will be held on Sept. 13.
The voting happened on OrgSync between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m. and in person at the Barone Campus Center info desk.
An email, which included a summary of both candidates’ platforms, was sent out to the members of the Class of 2018 the day before the election to remind them to vote on the following day.
Billups, who had a write-in campaign, initially garnered more votes than Hunt and Mulhall, who were also write-in candidates.
On the topic of write-in candidates, Marshall commented, “For the class of 2020, two of our senators were both write-ins, so even if they are on the ballot, write-in candidates are still a part of FUSA and still have a presence on the senate just like any other elected member.”
Marshall explained that he is in charge of all elections, whether they are special elections, normal senatorial elections or presidential elections.
Associate Director of the Office of Student Engagement Jeremy Kaler explained that the Special Election is a fairly new addition to the FUSA election procedures.
“Older FUSA Election Codes did not have a procedure on how to handle ties, so to my knowledge, I do not believe we’ve had a Special Election to determine the winner of an election after two candidates received the same number of votes,” said Kaler.
“We did have a tie for one of the Class of 2017 senator positions two years ago and the winner was determined by a coin toss,” Kaler continued. “That experience prompted the change to the Election Code and led to the current Special Election procedure in the case of a tie.”
Hunt and Mulhall, who have been friends since their first year at Fairfield, both supported each other during the election.
Hunt said, “James and I became close during our first year at Fairfield while living on the fourth floor of Jogues [Hall]. Not only are we friends, but we’re also two of the Co-Chairs for New Student Programs so we worked together all summer and will continue to do so throughout this semester. James, in my opinion, is great and well intentioned and whichever way the votes go, the Class of 2018 will be well represented.”
Similarly, Mulhall commented on Hunt.
“I would like to wish the best of luck to Brendan,” Mulhall said. “He and I have been friends since our first year here at Fairfield and he is a very genuine person and would make a great addition to FUSA as well.”
Both candidates spoke briefly on their platforms.
Mulhall commented, “I would love to see a more community-engaged, and focused student association. Living out the Jesuit value of people for others, I would really like to see the University truly lend a hand for those in need around the area.”
Mulhall continued to explain that, “We are centered in a very affluent area, but as you move a bit further away from the University, you will see people in need, and I believe that we can make a difference by promoting and encouraging more service and community engagement.”
Hunt, on the other hand, said, “I’m hoping to utilize, strengthen, and make new relationships with my peers to best stand and serve with the other four senators to make the voice of the senior class as strong and open as possible,” said Hunt. “Some things I’d like to explore, if elected, is the possibility of incorporating student artwork around campus and within the University’s Rising mission. I’d also like to look into the opportunity to create a consistent shuttle bus schedule that goes to and from the Fairfield Beach Area.”