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Adirika, Haileselassie Elected Harvard Undergraduate Association Co-Presidents

The Harvard Undergraduate Association meets in the Smith Campus Center. Ashley C. Adirika '26 and Jonathan Haileselassie '26 were elected HUA co-presidents, the HUA Election Commission announced Sunday.
The Harvard Undergraduate Association meets in the Smith Campus Center. Ashley C. Adirika '26 and Jonathan Haileselassie '26 were elected HUA co-presidents, the HUA Election Commission announced Sunday. By Frank S. Zhou
By Cam N. Srivastava and William Y. Tan, Crimson Staff Writers

Updated Monday, April 8 at 12:54 a.m.

Ashley C. Adirika ’26 and Jonathan Haileselassie ’26 will serve as the next co-presidents of the Harvard Undergraduate Association, the HUA Election Commission announced in a Sunday afternoon email obtained by The Crimson.

Adirika and Haileslassie currently serve as the HUA’s inclusion officer and social life officer, respectively.

The pair, who ran on a platform to build “A United Harvard,” is set to take over a student government that has faced unprecedented controversy in recent days.

The HUA Election Commission did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Sunday afternoon.

Both current HUA co-presidents, Shikoh M. Hirabayashi ’24 and John S. Cooke ’25, faced petitions for a vote to recall them from office last week. The petition against Cooke garnered enough signatures to warrant a recall election, which must take place by April 15, according to the HUA’s constitution and bylaws.

Students cast 1,455 ballots in this year’s election, representing a decline in voter turnout of nearly 500 votes — or 26 percent — from last year’s election, which saw 1,954 votes.

Candidates were elected through a ranked-choice voting system. Adirika and Haileselassie beat the runners-up — Institute of Politics President Pratyush Mallick ’25 and Kevin A. Bokoum ’26 — in the final round by 135 votes, while Kya I. Brooks ’25 and Dakota A. Degenhardt ’26 placed third.

The election of Adirika and Haileselassie to the HUA co-presidency signals that the group may avoid sweeping changes to its structure, which featured as major campaign promises for some candidates in this year’s election.

While Adirika and Haileselassie wrote in their campaign statement that they intend on implementing “structural changes” to the HUA “based on student feedback,” they did not express viewpoints as extreme of as those of runners-up Mallick and Bokoum, who pledged to abolish the title of HUA co-presidency altogether and institute class committees if elected.

Rather, Adirika and Haileselassie’s platform includes promises to “expand flagship HUA initiatives that work well,” such as a rideshare program, concentration declaration day, and an Uber eats voucher program.

They will work in combination with the eight other newly elected HUA executives, who were also announced Sunday afternoon.

Matthew R. Tobin ’27, who ran uncontested, will serve as academic officer. His campaign platform included topics of recent criticism including course registration, pre-professional advising, and “healthy classroom discourse.”

Sarah Bellagat ’27 — who will serve as Adirika’s successor in the well-being officer post — said she hopes to make Harvard University Health Services and the University’s Counseling and Mental Health Services more accessible to students.

Haileselassie’s successor as social life officer will be Tsion A. Daniel ’27, a Crimson News editor, who pledged to encourage inter-house events and allow students more opportunities to explore Boston.

Other elected officers include Joel O. Crawford ’26 as extracurricular officer; Lily E. Liu ’25 as inclusion officer; Sophia F. He ’27 as residential life officer; Sage F. Piekarski ’27 as sports officer; and Sahil Sood ’27 and Tobias Elbs ’27 as co-treasurers.

Correction: April 11, 2024

A previous version of this article incorrectly omitted the name of one HUA co-treasurer. In fact, Tobias Elbs and Sahil Sood will serve as co-treasurers.

—Staff writer Cam N. Srivastava can be reached at Follow him on X @camsrivastava.

—Staff writer William Y. Tan can be reached at Follow him on X @william_y_tan.

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