At polls, students say they don’t want a revolution

Peter Kauffner

Student government revolutionaries Derek Shemon and Jason Strid were executed in the polls Thursday, finishing a distant third in the Minnesota Student Association presidential race.
The dark horse candidates who ran with the slogan “We are the revolution” had promised to shake up the MSA by injecting the voice of ordinary students.
“We want to totally change MSA government from what it is currently,” Shemon said before election results were tallied last night. “We want to make it something that students actually want to get involved with.”
But voters did not respond to Shemon and his running mate Strid’s message, casting only 140 votes for the ticket. Nearly 1,800 votes were cast.
“I’m not discouraged by (the election results),” Shemon said. “I give the Madia/Murphy campaign the best of luck. But I don’t think they will accomplish anything in the next 12 months.”
Shemon, a sophomore studying applied economics, and Strid, a sophomore studying chemical engineering, had hoped their underdog status and lack of student government experience would help their chances for victory.
Both Shemon and Strid had promised to give up their stipends if elected. The MSA president’s stipend is $2,000 a quarter while the vice president’s stipend is slightly less.
The ticket was considered a longshot from the onset of their campaign. The pair filed for office on the last possible day — too late to be eligible for three of the four major campus organization endorsements. The ticket also failed to campaign nearly as much as the other two tickets.
“This last week it’s been like the dam broke open and we got drowned,” Shemon said about the other campaign’s efforts. “They have huge staffs. We’ve got me, Jason, and two friends.”
Shemon and Strid were not overly concerned about the race Thursday. “It’s something I just want to put to one side tonight and forget about until tomorrow morning,” Shemon said.
Before the results were announced, Strid was also nonchalant about his ticket’s chance for victory. “It’s a pretty ordinary night. If we lose, we lose,” he said.
The candidates waited for the election results in Shemon’s Bailey Hall dormitory room, which was decorated with election posters and paraphernalia from the other candidates.
“Our supporters intercepted them and we put them up as wallpaper,” Shemon said.
Although their MSA coup failed, Shemon said he was not discouraged and might attempt to run again next year. “If I run next year it will be completely different,” Shemon said. “I’d win in a landslide.”