Friday evening, third-year student Abel Liu was elected Student Council President with a margin of 5,898 votes in the Presidential race. Liu ran against solo candidate and fellow third-year student Gavin Oxley.
Over 10,000 students voted in the Spring 2021 Elections, with an overall turnout of 41.6% — double the turnout of 20% in last year’s elections — and 38.6% of the University body voting in the Presidential race, nearly quadruple that of last year’s turnout of 10.03%.
Cecilia Cain and Ryan Cieslukowski, who ran uncontested on the same ticket as Liu for the Vice President for Administration and Vice President for Organizations roles respectively, were also elected.
“We truly did secure a moral victory on a referendum about who we hope to become as a University,” said the team, which campaigned under the slogan “New Era of Student Government”, in a social media update.
The team emphasized a need for election reform and looked forward to “working with the University Board of Elections on that project”.
Liu will serve not only as UVA’s first Chinese American Student Council President on record, but also the first “openly transgender student government president who was ‘out’ at the time of his election at a major American university”. He previously served as Chair of the Representative Body on the Student Council.
During the fifth annual Student Council presidential candidate forum Monday evening, Liu spoke on his plans to “completely rebuild” the Council “from the ground up”.
“We need to be thinking about student government in terms of lobbying, negotiation, and building leverage in shared student power,” he said.
Liu will succeed fourth-year student Ellen Yates as Student Council President.
Mar. 20, 10.55AM: This article has been edited for clarity to reflect the different voter turnout percentages in the overall Elections and in the Presidential race.