Shull wins presidency with 13 percent voter turnout

By Marissa Meredyth

With a 13 percent voter turnout, Pitt students elected Charlie Shull to be the next Student… With a 13 percent voter turnout, Pitt students elected Charlie Shull to be the next Student Government Board president.

Shull took 67 percent of the votes for board president yesterday, receiving 709 more votes than his sole opponent, Justin Romeo.

The number of students voting in the election decreased by 43 percent from last year. Out of the 16,848 undergraduate, non-College of General Studies students eligible to vote, 2,211 people submitted an online ballot.

Despite his loss, Romeo embraced Shull with a hug to congratulate him on the win.

Shull said he is looking forward to “do the things [he] promised.”

Most notably, Shull plans to continue implementing a project he began as a board member — the Symplicity program, an online resource that he hopes will make SGB allocations for student groups more transparent and efficient. He also wants to improve student government’s communication with city officials by reaching out to them early in his term.

Shull said he is pleased with the candidates who were elected to the board.

“I think we got some great people elected,” Shull said. “They are great at management, and hopefully, students will start to see things get done next year.”

He said he was looking forward to spending time with his girlfriend in celebration of the win.

Current SGB president Kevin Morrison was also happy with the results.

“We’ll have a good board next year — the winning candidates are strong and should be able to turn around the spreading doubts students have about SGB,” Morrison said.

Morrison said Shull’s leadership experience and past involvement in SGB will make him a strong part of student government.

“Shull has put his time in,” Morrison said.

The 2010 board will consist of Zachary Bombatch, Laura Paiewonsky, Ali Noorbaksh, Molly Stieber, Sam Razaeian, Phil LaRue, David Petrone and David Gau.

Elaine Lee and Matt Brittenburg also ran for board positions. Students could vote for five out of the 10 candidates, and the eight with the most total votes won spots on the board.

Forecasting the success of SGB next year, Morrison said that he hoped the new board will be able to take what he has done with SGB and continue to have success.

Romeo, who lost a presidential election for the second consecutive year, said he felt relieved the election was over.

“Frankly, I was not that surprised by the results,” Romeo said. “I got a significant number of votes, which proves my message resonated with students. That’s a good thing.”

Circumstances were different this year, Romeo said.

“Obviously, there was more drive and more ambition in my last run for president, but I wouldn’t change anything I did this year,” he said.

Gau received the most votes out of the board members who ran, totaling 1,090.

Gau said it was exciting to win because it was a “tight race.”

“It’s a fine board. Everyone who ran was in it together,” Gau said. “I look forward to working with each of them in bringing the Pitt community closer together.”

Stieber shared similar feelings.

“Winning was the best feeling. After standing outside for 12 hours in the rain and cold, I couldn’t be happier,” she said. “Everyone who ran put in a lot of hard work.”

While Stieber looks forward to completing the projects on her platform, she said she felt most excited about being a liaison for the student body.

“I want students to be walking down the street and know who we are — know we are here to represent them,” Stieber said.