An all-female ticket won USC’s student elections, marking the first time in nearly a decade that a woman will head the campus’ undergraduate government.
Rini Sampath, the current student body vice president, and her running mate Jordan Fowler, beat Providence Ilisevich and Ehren Elder by nearly 2,000 votes, USC student government officials announced Tuesday night.
Men have dominated the presidential elections at USC since 2006, the last time a female held the job. During that time period, not a single woman even ran for the position, a trend that a former USC student body president, a female, called “appalling.”
The student government of UCLA, by contrast, has had at least six women presidents since 2005.
This year, the two presidential tickets were both female-led, which contributed to increased student interest in the race, said Dan Schnur, director of USC’s Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics.
Still, this year’s voter turnout at USC was slightly lower than last year, when a record 6,258 ballots were cast. Student leaders attribute the drop-off to fewer voting days this year. There were also three presidential tickets last year, which may have increased turnout.
Sampath said she hoped her victory would inspire more female students to seek election. “I’m really hoping to see women run for office every single year,” she said.
Fowler, the vice president-elect, is a sophomore and could run for the top job next year.