Senior Neil Kondamuri chosen as Young TrusteeSenior Neil Kondamuri was elected undergraduate Young Trustee after a race against fellow seniors Jacob Tobia and Kat Zhang.
A total of 3,420 students, which makes up 53 percent of the student body, voted online by ranking their the candidates in order of preference. Because no candidate received a majority vote—defined as 51 percent of the votes—Zhang, who received the fewest amount of first-choice votes, was eliminated. The top two candidates then entered an instant run off. Kondamuri received a total of 1,716 votes and Tobia received 1,704 votes after the instant runoff.
“I’d like to thank all of the candidates for running a really smooth election,” said Duke Student Government Attorney General Syed Adil, a sophomore.
The results of the Young Trustee election in the past have been delayed due to complaints and allegations by candidates of unfair advantages. Last year, Gurdane Bhutani filed a complaint to the DSG Judiciary for violations in DSG campaigning policy. Chris Brown, last year's Young trustee, and Ashley Alman were docked 30 votes as a result, and the campaign results were not released until 4:30 a.m. Feb. 8, 2013.
“I’m honestly speechless and in shock. This is such an honor and I’m very grateful to those who voted for me,” Kondamuri said in response to the election results.
A public policy major and economics minor, Kondamuri served as Duke’s first ever vice president for social culture on DSG. In addition to being a member of Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity, he is a member of The Chronicle’s Editorial board and a member of the Senior Gift Committee.
Kondamuri will serve for a total of three years on the Board of Trustees—the first year as a non-voting member and the next two years as a voting member. He stated that his first mission as Young Trustee is to better understand the student body he is representing.
“I lost a lot of the endorsements to the other candidates,” he said. “My first move as Young Trustee will be to go to [student organizations] to see how I can better understand their issues and concerns to represent them to the Board.”
Tobia said he has high expectations for Kondamuri.
“I hope that he will be a trustee that represents Duke well and really pushes forward issues that matter to students and that will move Duke into the future over the next three years,” he said.
Zhang, who serves on the Chronicle's editorial board with Kondamuri, said she has faith that Kondamuri will fit in well with the other trustees.
“He has a good head on his shoulders, he's a man of good character,” she said. “I’m really happy for him and I think he will do a great job.”
As a DSG senator, Kondamuri advocated for tailgate activites before football games to enhance social culture and served for over a year on the Undergraduate Education committee of the Board of Trustees.
“I’d like to thank Jacob and Kat for a great race. The race was extremely close which is just proof that any of us would have made a great Young Trustee,” Kondamuri said.
Kondamuri and Zhang, both members of The Chronicle’s independent editorial board, took a leave of absence from the group during the campaign.
This article was updated 12:46 a.m. to include Kondamuri, Tobia, Zhang and Adil's reflections on the election outcome.