Zante elected student president; student union proposal voted down

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Zante elected student president; student union proposal voted down

Blake Zante, 21, a junior political science major with a minor in general business, was elected Associated Student Inc. president for 2017-18 in a campus election that included a decision by the student body against a referendum for the construction of a new student union.

Also elected were 15 senators and three other executive officers. Demi B. Wack was elected vice president for external affairs and Cam Patterson was elected vice president for finance (the executive vice president is elected when the student senate convenes in June). Newly elected officials will take office on June 1.

For full list of results.

The League of Women Voters tallied the results of the election that ended at noon Thursday, March 30, after three days of online voting. Students also voted to expand the ASI board to 17 members. The board was previously 15 members.

Zante received 1,326 votes to defeat Cecilia E. Ruesta (1,176) and John G. Richardson (588) for a vote total of 3,090 cast for president. ASI Elections Chair Destiny Armendariz said 15 percent of the eligible student body voted.

Zante, a graduate of Clovis West High School who currently serves as executive vice president of Associated Students Inc. at Fresno State, is a member of the Alpha Sigma Phi fraternity and a student in the Smittcamp Family Honors College.

He campaigned on a platform citing his experience to act as a voice of change for the Fresno State student body. He said he plans to develop a clear channel of communication for students on campus and represent their concerns in a way that will improve their collegiate experience. He said he will foster a greater sense of community and increase involvement and opportunities for students.

In the new student union referendum vote, students were asked to approve a fee increase of $200 per semester (fall and spring) to take effect when the doors would open on the proposed $80 million building in about four to five years. The final tally was 1,846 no votes to 1,217 yes votes.

The University Student Union Board of Directors shared the following statement regarding the student vote.

“Today, Fresno State students made their voices heard and did not vote in favor of the construction of a bold new student union. While we are disappointed in the results, we will take this as an opportunity to reflect upon the many conversations that we had with the thousands of students that were for and against the initiative. We will continue to work with our campus partners and will not give up on the bold new U. There is still a need for a new student union. As the student body continues to grow and evolve, Fresno State needs a facility that meets the needs of current and future students.”

The board and the President’s Leadership Team said they will seek student feedback on the referendum process and begin conversations about a potential new referendum over the next year.

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