Female candidates run unopposed

In the races for both junior and senior prefects earlier this month, both sets of female candidates ran unopposed. Teachers and administrators are generally at a loss to explain why both races had only two female candidates, Student Government Adviser Larry Klein said.

“This is probably one of the first times that two levels of Student Government have run unopposed, and we used to have a much larger number of student body officers,” Dean Jim Patterson, a former adviser to the government, said.

After Tasia Smith was elected head prefect in an all-school election held April 27, the other four female candidates said they were planning to run for senior prefect on the following Friday. Typically, the candidate pool for senior prefect is made up of students who previously ran for head prefect and lost.

By the town hall meeting in the middle of that week, however, Taylor Lasley and Natalie Williams had dropped out of the senior prefect race, making Emma Kaplan and Hannah Moody the two senior prefects by default.

Kaplan and Moody found out they were the only two remaining candidates as they were waiting backstage in Rugby Theatre during a junior class assembly. As they were preparing to give a speech to their classmates about why they should be elected, Head Prefect Hailey Orr ’07 told them that they had effectively won, and that their speeches were being cut to save time for the male candidates, Kaplan said.

Lasley, who plans to take three performing arts electives next year, said she made her decision once she found out that Student Government representatives would have to save room for an extra class next year, rather than just one period as in past years.

In the sophomore election, which had only one phase, Tessa Wick and Ariana Sopher, both of whom had been on Student Government for four years, were the only two girls running. Wick said she hopes that the decision of other girls not to run was “made by people who thought it was okay that we were doing it.”

“I hope that it’s because they like what we’re doing, ” Sopher said.
Patterson thinks the decision not to run for a particular office may have to do with facing long odds.

“Students look at the current people in office,” he said. “If you have two kids who are wildly popular and have been running Student Government for five years, to exaggerate and generalize, then people are less likely to just throw themselves out there.”

Some of the girls who were elected expressed concern that the student body gets shortchanged when so few candidates run, but so far, the administration hasn’t publicly addressed the issue.

“The class does miss out, because there could be many kids in my grade who think that Hannah [Moody] and I aren’t the best people for the job,” Kaplan said.

Wesley Yip will join Smith as Head Prefect next year. Gaven Lucas and David Alpert will be the male senior prefects next year, and Joey Friedrich and Brandon Levin will be junior prefects.