After a heated week of campaigning, students huddled for warmth on the steps of the Pioneer Chapel Dec. 9 as Election Commissioner Stephen Maynard ’11 announced that Cody Stipes ’11 was the new Student Body President, gaining 52 percent of the vote against his opponent Jacob Moore ’11, Chairman Pro Tempore of the Senate.
More than 360 students came out and voted. The presidential race was also very close, continuing a tradition of close Senate elections over the past few years.
“I’m extremely grateful and honored,” said Stipes, former Treasurer of the Senate. “I just want to thank everyone who went out and voted. I want to get started, and I’m pretty ecstatic right now.”
In addition to voting for President, Vice President, and their respective Class Representatives, students had the chance to vote yes or no on a proposed amendment to the Student Body Constitution. The amendment was the result of Nossett’s senate committee attempting to involve student government in the disciplinary process; the amendment details the students’ rights in matters of discipline, but does not make any changes to how discipline is handled at Wabash College. The amendment passed with over 80 percent.
This election was the most heated since the 2008 election, when Sean Clerget ’09 and Juan Carlos Venis ’09 tied in the polls, demanding a runoff election. Tensions between students lead to an email war of insults and harsh words. “People were trying to get on there and represent us,” Stipes said, “but not in the way that we wanted to be represented. I liked the enthusiasm, but it could have been done a different way.”
Several of the emails exacerbated the distinction between Greeks and Independents, but neither faction was 100 percent loyal to either candidate. Several Independents came rushing to Moore’s defense, while many Greeks continued to support Stipes. The ensuing controversy prompted many students not to vote at all.
“I didn't vote simply because there were so many emails, really long emails, about why I should vote one way or another,” Andrew Miller ’12 said. “I didn't want to be involved in something that seemed to be tearing Wabash apart.”
Stipes’ running mate, Michael Nossett ’11, who was previously the Secretary of the Student Senate, won the office of Vice President over his opponent Joseph Reese ’12 with 66.3 percent of the vote. “I’m basically speechless,” Nossett said.
“Nossett and I have been working on this for a long time,” Stipes said. “I was more excited for him than myself right now, cause he’s a great guy and I’m excited to work with him and try to make this place better.”
For the Class Representatives, Rudy Altergott, Michael Carper, John Dyre, and Riley Floyd were elected for the Class of 2013. Steve Henke, Reed Hepburn, Steven Stankovich, and Adam Miller won for the Class of 2012; and Billy Evans, Andrew Forrester, Chris Sidebottom, and Alex Moseman won for the Class of 2011.
Stipes, ecstatic from his victory, said he was ready to enact change. “I want to thank Jake,” he said. “He’s a great guy. It’s sad that one had to win and one had to lose. I know if he had won this, he would have done as well. I hope he can continue to be a leader on campus and a Wabash gentlemen. And he’ll help along the way.”