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The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
Since 1888
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.

Sliman/Grubbs ticket wins 2023 VSG Presidential election by 34 votes

This announcement follows a first-round election on March 29 in which no candidates won a majority of votes and a fundraiser boxing match between the two remaining presidential candidates.
Narenkumar Thirmiya
VSG Candidates Samuel Sliman and Kendelle Grubbs pose for the camera after winning the election, as photographed on March 31, 2023. (Hustler Multimedia/Narenkumar Thirmiya)

The results of the 2023 VSG presidential and vice-presidential runoff elections between the two tickets of juniors Ari Sasson and Shreya Gupta and juniors Samuel Sliman and Kendelle Grubbs, which came down to a 34 vote difference, were announced on March 31. The announcement follows a boxing match on March 30 between the two remaining presidential candidates in which Sasson was victorious.


Before declaring the election winners, Sohn underscored how close the race was. The Sliman/Grubbs ticket won with 50.73% of the vote, while the Sasson/Gupta ticket received 49.26% of the vote. Sohn also said there is no mention of a recount in the VSG Election Commission States and so there will not be a recount. He added that ballots are electronically measured.

In the first round of the election, the Sasson/Gupta ticket led with 49.13% of the vote, while the Sliman/Grubbs ticket had 32.41% of the vote.

Voter turnout for the runoff was higher than the initial round of voting. According to Sohn, 2304 votes were cast in the runoff compared to 2243 in the first round.

Ballot Initiatives

All three ballot initiatives that students voted on during the first round of voting — proposing a land acknowledgement in the VSG constitution, Senate seats dedicated to multicultural organizations and formalized collection of student input — also passed by an overwhelming majority.


Sliman expressed his surprise with the results of the election and said he believed there was “no shot” he would win.

“Obviously, we knew we were going to be able to mobilize people for the second election but he [Sasson] only needed one more percent in the regular election. I just know that’s got to feel bad,” Sliman said. “But I just didn’t think this was going to be possible. I’m super shocked that we won.”

Sliman added that one of the first things he plans to do as president is to publish the VSG budget.

Sliman said he is dedicated to the new position as VSG president and that he is unsure whether he will be the division head of The Slant next year as the decision is up to VSC.

“As for the presidency, the Vanderbilt students have spoken and we’re not going to let them down,” Sliman said.

Grubbs said she expected the results to be similar to those of the runoff.

“I didn’t think this was going to happen. I’m very surprised,” Grubbs said. “When I saw the original votes from Wednesday, I definitely thought that this would be similar, maybe a 70/30 split. I don’t know what turned people out but I am very happy.”

Freshman Sarah Qaddo, a member of Sasson and Gupta’s campaign team, said she was shocked by the election results.

“I knew it was a tight competition but I didn’t realize it would be like point-something off. I think that was really crazy,” Qaddo said.

Junior Kian Pazira also attended the announcement and expressed shock at the results.

“I’m surprised — it was very close. It’s nuts,” Pazira said.

Sasson expressed his support for the incoming administration in a statement to the Hustler. 

“I’d like to extend my congratulations to Sam and Kendelle,” Sasson said. “They ran a great campaign.”

Outgoing VSG President Amisha Mittal offered her congratulations to Sliman and Grubbs as well. 

“I am very excited for the new administration and all that they’re going to do,” Mittal said. “I know it’s been a long process these past few weeks with tabling and getting everyone to vote.”

In light of past allegations that the 2021-22 administration deleted the contents of the VSG Google Drive prior to turnover, Mittal said she is ready to facilitate a smooth transition of power as Sliman and Grubbs assume office. 

“I see it [the turnover process] going really smoothly honestly. I’ve worked a little bit with Sam and Kendelle throughout this process and I’m really excited to hand over the torch and share all the information they need,” Mittal said. “I don’t see there being any issues.”

Sliman v. Sasson boxing match

On March 30, Silman organized a fundraiser boxing match between himself and Sasson on Alumni Lawn. Silmam and Grubbs explained that they asked students in attendance to donate at least $5 to the Venmo @boxingfor a cause and raised over $671 — with a matching donation from an anonymous source bringing the total to $1,342 — for the victims of the March 27 shooting at The Covenant School through the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee.

VSG Candidates trade punches, as photographed March 30, 2023. (Hustler photography/Amelia Simpson)
VSG Candidates trade punches, as photographed March 30, 2023. (Hustler photography/Amelia Simpson) (Amelia Simpson)

The event consisted of two rounds of boxing between VSG Presidential candidates Sliman and Sasson. The candidates used inflatable boxing gloves to face off in front of a crowd of over a hundred students. Sasson was declared the winner by student judges at the end of the event. 

“I think we need more fun in the election and this is a great way to add more fun,” Sasson said. 

“Did I think this was actually gonna happen? No. But I’m glad it’s actually happening and I really hope that people donate because that’s what I’m most excited for,” Grubbs said. “We need some fun and we can do it for a good cause.”

Sophomore Anisa Utilla said she thought the event was an effective way of bringing the student body together for a charitable cause. 

“I think it was awesome to get a lot of the Vanderbilt campus involved and have people happy and smiling on this nice day, and also to bring some attention to both of the candidates,” Utilla said.

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About the Contributors
Julia Tilton
Julia Tilton, Former Staff Writer
Julia Tilton ('24) majored in earth & environmental science and Spanish and minored in communication of science and technology in the College of Arts and Science. When she's not trying new Ben & Jerry's flavors or going on her morning run, you can probably find Julia planning her next backpacking trip. She can be reached at [email protected].
Alison Winters
Alison Winters, Deputy News Editor
Alison Winters (‘25) is from Franklin, Tenn., and is majoring in political science and law, history and society with a minor in psychology in the College of Arts and Science. When not writing for The Hustler, you can find her at the movie theater, reading a good book or attending a concert in Nashville. You can reach her at [email protected].
Narenkumar Thirmiya
Narenkumar Thirmiya, Staff Photographer
Narenkumar Thirmiya ('24) is from Orlando, Fla., and is majoring in neuroscience and medicine, health, and society in the College of Arts and Science. When not shooting for The Hustler, he is streaming TV, playing the piano or guitar or exploring nature photography. You can reach him at [email protected].
Amelia Simpson
Amelia Simpson, Staff Photographer and Graphics Staffer
Amelia Simpson ('25) hails from Brisbane, Australia and is a student in the College of Arts and Sciences majoring in public policy. Outside of her work in the Hustler’s multimedia sections, Amelia is a member of the club rowing and equestrian teams. You can reach her at [email protected]
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