Fritz, Ritch win 2020 USG election

The Truman & Rose ticket won the 2020 USG presidential election with 32% of the total voter turnout, comprising 1,522 votes, and beat out three other tickets. (Emily Sagen | Daily Trojan)

Truman Fritz and Rose Ritch will serve as Undergraduate Student Government’s 2020-21 president and vice president after defeating three other tickets in the race, Director of Elections and Recruitment Vaanyasri Goel announced Tuesday. 

Along with election results, Goel also discussed unofficial voter turnout numbers and the winners of the senatorial election at the USG meeting. 

The Truman & Rose ticket received 1,522 votes — 32% of total voter turnout — while the Sara & Rohit ticket received 1,427 votes, the Christopher & Trinity ticket received 847 votes, and the Christine & Miles ticket received 812 votes. More than 4,700 votes were cast this year, with 142 students abstaining. 

The 2019 election saw a similar turnout of more than 4,000 voters, though only three presidential tickets were open compared to four. The amount of abstaining students almost halved since last year.

According to Fritz, the election process requires a significant time commitment — with candidates orchestrating their campaign in December — and constant engagement with the campaign. The time-consuming process took away from the personal lives of the candidates and their campaign teams, Fritz said.

“One of the things that we implemented this year that I advocated for was the voluntary well-being pact, which I think actually did help … being able to have a work-life balance,” Fritz said.

Fritz, a junior majoring in business administration, currently serves as the USG senior director of communications. Ritch, a junior majoring in law, history and culture and sociology, is currently a senator. Fritz and Ritch emphasized student well-being, inclusion, administrative accountability and sustainability in their presidential campaign. They cited the lack of student representation in administrative circles as a cause of some of the problems on campus in recent years.

“Administrators do not have a student-first mindset,” Fritz said. “And we want to not only establish advisory councils … to bring students at large directly into the conversations and have them advise on [University policy making] decisions, but also, we want to be able to establish a better connection between USG [and the] student body.”

Candidates Christopher McMorran and Trinity Lee included a similar emphasis on accountability in their platform. According to McMorran, USG requires final approval from the Board of Trustees to enact its legislative resolutions but believes the lack of student representation within the governing body hinders important progress. 

“I think my big thing is getting a student on the Board of Trustees because that’s really the key to unlocking everything else we can achieve in USG,” McMorran said.

The 2019 election cycle became contentious in its final weeks and generated political tension between candidates, Fritz said. According to a previous Daily Trojan article, last year’s presidential candidates Meagan Lane and Michaela Murphy believed the write-in campaigns — including winning candidates Trenton Stone and Mahin Tahsin — violated Elections Code because their names were provided on the ballot despite being write-in candidates.

“Last year was really political,” Fritz said. “And we didn’t want to see that same process play out in this election cycle or in future election cycles.” 

Fritz said the USG executive team focused on unity throughout the organization this year, which improved the relationships between candidates for this election cycle, a departure from the tensions from last year.

McMorran advised the incoming president and vice president to increase USG involvement with student groups on campus. 

“I would really encourage [Fritz and Ritch] to get down on the ground [and] be at student events, go to student organizations and be really visible,” McMorran said. 

Ritch said this presidential election process became one of her most demanding yet important experiences in her time at USC, which required countless late nights and meetings with nearly 70 student organizations within four weeks. Fritz and Ritch commended their campaign team for its invaluable contributions to their presidential campaign through social media promotion and on-the-ground campaigning on Trousdale.

“We had a phenomenal team — we could not have been more grateful [for them],” Ritch said. “It took a village sort of effort for this, absolutely.”

The USG 2020-21 Senate will comprise Isabel Washington, Dario Arganese, Trinity Moore, Alexis Areias, Mayra Rodriguez, Max Gomez, Lennon Wesley III, Ruben Romeo, Kevin Gutierrez, Cathy Ding, Gabriel Savage and Julian Lin. 

CORRECTION: A previous version of this article miswrote Alexis Areias’ name. It has since been updated with the correct spelling. The Daily Trojan regrets this error.