Less than an hour after the polls closed, Sarah Rojas ’10 and Ryan Ruzic J.D. ’11 were declared the winners of the 2009 election for The College of William and Mary Student Assembly President and Vice President. With nearly 60 percent of the vote, Rojas and Ruzic are the first undergraduate/graduate ticket to win the SA presidency in recent years.
“We are ecstatic,” Rojas said. “We are really, really happy. We were just talking about what we want to get to work on first. We really want to immediately set to work on increasing communication between clubs, the SA and the administration. We want to start facilitating that dialogue.”
Ruzic said he is excited for the opportunity to represent the College’s graduate students.
“When I found out, I was in class,” Ruzic said. “Everyone just went wild. I think we had great support from graduate students. Do I think that they were the reason the votes turned out the way they did? No, but it’s been great to have their support.”
Current SA president Valerie Hopkins ’09 has spent the 2008-2009 academic year trying to integrate graduate students into the SA and was impressed by Ruzic’s initiative.
“Before Ryan, [no graduate students] had sponsored bills,” Hopkins said.
Rojas and Ruzic joined other newly elected SA officials at the Library Tavern on Richmond Rd. Rojas’parents were in attendance as well, having driven to Williamsburg after Rojas was diagnosed with mononucleosis a few days before the SA elections. Rojas said her illness prevented her from reaching out to students as much as she could have, but some members of the SA felt her legislative experience was enough to win the presidency.
“Rojas and Ruzic should not have won for the amount of campaigning they did,” Sen. Caroline Mullis ’09 said. “But because they were that [much] more qualified, they did.”
Hopkins and current SA Vice President Kristen Slawter ’09 joined the celebration as well.
“I think Rojas and Ruzic are really, really well-suited for the job,” Hopkins said. “It’s going to be really hard to step down. But I am really pleased that I am going to be leaving the
Student Assembly in capable hands.”
Hopkins said she is excited about what Rojas and Ruzic will bring to the presidency.
The election marks the end of her two-year career as a leader of the SA.
She served as SA vice president during the 2007-2008 academic year and president during the 2008-2009 academic year.
“You know, I still have a few things up my sleeves, a few turkeys to pardon,” Hopkins said. “But I think I’m going to take up needlepoint or crocheting.”
As for addressing the issues on their campaign platform, Ruzic and Rojas are ready to get to work and both say hope to make lasting changes to the College.
Having just been informed that Theta Delta Chi joins the list of fraternities who voted to leave campus housing,
Rojas and Ruzic promised to work with the SA to reach out to Greek life.
“You know Sarah and I are both Greek,” Ruzic said. “So that is an important issue for us. We would really work to make changes there.”
The newly-elected President and Vice President have also pledged to lobby Richmond for more money for the College, to raise sexual assault awareness and to develop environmental initiatives with SEAC.
“Our first big decision will be nominating our executive staff,” Ruzic said. “We are looking for dedicated, passionate students to help us achieve all that we have set out to do.”
Though the SA voting system was not compromised, an anonymous e-mail was sent to students in the early hours of election day. SA code allows candidates and other parties to send mass e-mails over student listservs but outlaws those sent anonymously.
Ruzic said he found the anonymous e-mail very disrespectful.
“It was really unfortunate,” Ruzic said. “A lot of what was said in that e-mail was just not true.”
Rojas was also disappointed by the violation of SA election code.
“That is something I would never condone,” Rojas said. “And I am really upset that it happened.”
Horacio Carreño ’10 and Michael Douglass ’11 also ran for the SA presidency and vice presidency, winning nearly 39 percent of the vote.
“We spoke with both Horacio and Douglass after we heard that we had won,” Rojas said. “They ran a great campaign, and we hope that we can work with them to make changes for the better at the College.”
Neither Carreño nor Douglass could be reached for comment.