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Riyanka Ganguly elected Duke Student Government president

<p>Junior Riyanka Ganguly was elected Duke Student Government president.&nbsp;</p>

Junior Riyanka Ganguly was elected Duke Student Government president. 

Junior Riyanka Ganguly was elected Duke Student Government’s next president Wednesday.

Ganguly is currently the vice president for equity and outreach, and has worked to create projects such as the Peer Advocacy for Sexual Health Center as well as free menstrual projects in the Bryan Center. She has also worked with Mi Gente, the University’s Latinx student group, to make the admissions and financial aid policies for undocumented immigrants more transparent.

Ganguly won with 53.5 percent of the 1,948 votes cast. Sophomore Jackson Dellinger came in second with 28.1 percent of votes, followed by sophomore Will Hardee, who received 18.4 percent. No instant runoff was necessary based on these results.

In a prior interview with The Chronicle, Ganguly compared her role to that of an activist, and said she was looking to advocate for marginalized communities as DSG president.

"We are heading towards a time nationally where a lot of students are, in my opinion, very rightfully fearful, for what is about to come in the next four years, or really the next year as a crucial year of change," Ganguly said. "And already we’re seeing so many things that do affect people outside of the private institution walls of Duke."

Sophomore Kushal Kadakia, currently chief of staff, was also elected as the new executive vice president. He ran unopposed during the election. About 80 percent of voters voted for Kadakia, with about 20 percent voting "no confidence."

Last year, 2,416 students voted compared to this year's 1,948. Current President Tara Bansal received 51 percent of the votes. In a Facebook Live video Monday, DSG Attorney General Sabriyya Pate, a sophomore, said that improving voter turnout was an "active struggle." But she said she hoped efforts to consolidate candidate platforms on the DSG website would be a positive step forward. 

On Tuesday, there was a lawsuit alleging that the current election system—requiring voters to rank all candidates—was unconstitutional. The DSG Judiciary agreed, but the current procedure remained in place for this election. 

For a period Tuesday, 56 sophomores were unable to vote, but that issue was resolved by 5:30 p.m.

On his Facebook page, Dellinger congratulated Ganguly on her victory and said she would be an excellent president.

"Fitting that on international women's day Duke students should get a dope female president who is both incredibly empathetic and smart as a whip," he wrote. "To anyone who voted for me, be excited, you are in incredibly good hands. Congratulations to Riyanka—the next year of DSG will be a good one."

Hardee echoed those thoughts, writing on Facebook that he was looking forward to working with Ganguly in the coming year.

"Thank you so so much to everyone else who supported me," he wrote. "I am so lucky to have such an amazing support group! I look forward to working with Riyanka Ganguly next year, and I can't wait to see all of the things DSG accomplishes under her leadership!"

This article was updated at 4:40 p.m. to provide the vote percentages for Kadakia. 


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