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Volume 68, Issue 112, Monday, March 17, 2003


Miller tops Samarakis 

Student Voice loses only one race in poorly attended election

By Ray Hafner 
Senior Staff Writer

Dawona Miller defeated an independent challenger to hold on to her job as President of the Student Government Association last week during student elections.

Lorrie Novosad/The Daily Cougar

SGA President Dawona Miller applauds during the release of the 2003 election results. Miller secured a second term with nearly 80 percent of the vote. Background, presidential challenger Nick Somarakis looks on. 

With 79 percent of the vote to 21 percent for Independent Nick Somarakis, Miller led her Student Voice party to overwhelming victory. Student Voice claimed every administration position and all but two senate seats.

Less than 2 percent of the student body, or 610 students, participated in the election. One independent candidate running unopposed for the Law Center seat won after receiving only two votes.

"I think that Student Voice has a lot of work to do," said Somarakis after the votes were announced. "I think they have to continue to reach out to students because with such low turnout it shows people donit think too much of what SGA can do."

Somarakis said he expected defeat, going up against Student Voice, but planned to continue being involved on campus.

"No matter what happens, Iim going to make this school better, whether Iim SGA President or not," he said.

Miller said the low turnout was a problem, and that during her second term she would focus on getting more students involved.

"Student government has been isolated from student organizations and we want to be all-inclusive," she said.

Somarakis said he hopes to see her doing so, saying that student organizations brought many assets to the college experience. 

"They make universities universities," he said.

Miller had a long list of objectives for the next year, including building a parking garage and returning a live cougar to campus.

"Parking will be targeted for those who can afford a parking garage," she said, outlining a plan to allow faculty and students alike the chance to purchase a more expensive permit for a garage.

Miller said she would also be working with State Representative Sylvester Turner to fight tuition deregulation. Miller hopes to organize a bus full of students to drive to Austin and protest the proposed tuition deregulation.

Making UH a safer campus will also be a goal as she plans to have UHPD install cameras in some parking lots. 

Adam Perdue, the sole independent to claim victory over a Student Voice candidate, won with 55 percent of the vote against Rojelio Mendozais 45 percent. He will represent the College of Engineering in the Senate.

Election officials said that, despite the computer problems during voting, no votes were lost.

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