Class of 2021 watches competitive campaign for class officer positions

By Hallie Underwood, ’20.

For sophomore Deniz Erdal, running for class president was not a difficult choice to make. Driven by his love for studying politics and the feeling that the average UAHS student was not being heard, Erdal took the campaign seriously. He made signs and created an Instagram account for the crusade.

Last spring, when Erdal received the news that he would be the Class of 2021 president his sophomore year, he knew that he would be able to carry out the wishes of the student body in a meaningful way. Erdal invested in ‘presidential duties’ each week, creating his own cabinet and ‘presidential podcast’ called “The Fireside Cast,” as well as co-founding the Greater Organization for Leadership in Democracy, or GOLD party.

The Executive Leadership Team of the Gold Party consists of sophomores Ben Underwood (party chairperson); Ryan Huntley (deputy party chairperson); Phia Stayer; Joey Feinberg; Defne Ceyhan; Emma Wang; and Deniz A. Erdal.

Erdal said the GOLD party meets regularly in the Learning Center to discuss the campaign.

“Policy-wise, the GOLD party advocates for the protection of student rights and the increased democratization of class government,” Erdal said.

This year, Erdal is running a campaign on the basis of continuing democratic ideals in the class of 2021.

“Three of my biggest goals for next year are continuing the referendums which were started this year, increasing attendance at class officer meetings and enacting a digital idea box, through which students will be able to submit policy proposals,” Erdal said.

After Erdal announced he was running for class president again, a second group entered the race, competing against Erdal and the GOLD party.

Sophomore Garrett Alderman, running for vice president with sophomore Peter Mimnaugh, said they decided to run after seeing the campaigns from the previous year.

“I decided to run for office with Peter because we thought it’d be a fun experience to go through,” Alderman said. “We also thought that we could come up with some ideas that could make the overall happiness of the student body higher.”

Alderman and Mimnaugh are running for office on a ‘ticket’ with sophomores Shea Keethler and Quinlin Scherl, running for class secretary and class treasurer respectively. According to Scherl, the group promises an exceptional prom.¬†Planning the annual junior and senior prom is the main obligation of junior class officers.

“Should I win, my goals are to supply the funds to themes and entertainments that everyone wants because it’s not just my prom,” sophomore Quinlin Scherl said.

Alderman says in general, the campaign has been a lot of fun.

“We get to show off our creative side, and we think it is important because that can be translated into prom next year,” Alderman said.

The Super GOLD Party came to be when their group saw Erdal’s GOLD Party and wanted to ensure voters of the group’s superiority, according to Alderman.

“We are the Super Gold Party, and we stand for being super, great and funny people. Having fun is what we stand for,” Scherl said.

In this campaign, both parties have been active in promoting their ideas in ways including social media, posters in the halls and by word of mouth.

Erdal said there have been issues between the parties.

“The campaign has been bitter this year as our opponents have been engaging in campaign strategies that run counter to the spirit of democracy, from harassing my running mate, Ben Underwood, on social media, to spreading vicious and hurtful lies against the GOLD party and myself, to engaging in harassment and disrupting class activities,” Erdal said.

Alderman said this was not true.

“We never once said anything derogatory or rude against Deniz and his campaign,” Alderman said. “We wish him best of luck in the election and wish they had something better to say about us.”

Each officer running for the election pre-filmed speeches in the WARL. The speeches will be shown on May 1 at 8:05 a.m., and voting will take place on Schoology during the rest of Wednesday office hours.

“The campaign has been fun, and competitive, and a little bit dirty in my opinion,” Scherl said.