The Daily Tar Heel
Printing news. Raising hell. Since 1893.
Thursday, Nov. 30, 2023 Newsletters Latest print issue

We keep you informed.

Help us keep going. Donate Today.
The Daily Tar Heel

Sophomore Lamar Richards elected 2021-2022 student body president

“Overwhelmed and excited are the two best words to describe me right now, but also humbled."

Sophomore Lamar Richards was elected UNC's 2021-2022 student body president on Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021, defeating his opponent, junior Keshav Javvadi. Photo courtesy of Hanna Wondmagegn.

Editor's Note: This story has been updated with comments from the candidates. 

Lamar Richards has been elected student body president, the Board of Elections announced at 2:30 a.m. Wednesday. 

Richards received 59.7 percent of the 3,219 votes cast in the election, defeating his opponent, junior Keshav Javvadi, by 851 votes, according to the results from the Board of Elections

“Overwhelmed and excited are the two best words to describe me right now, but also humbled,” Richards told The Daily Tar Heel Wednesday. “I believe that, based on the votes, that these people have more confidence in my ability to lead than I think I even had.” 

Richards isn’t planning to waste any time before making big changes to student government. He said that, upon his election, he would immediately start restructuring the system to promote greater diversity and add several new roles, including Chief Diversity Officer and Director of Diversity and Inclusion. 

His platform, under the slogan of “I, Too, am Carolina,” centers on uplifting and providing resources for marginalized groups at UNC. 

“No student should ever feel left behind here – as if we don’t matter or as if we don’t deserve the space that we have here,” Richards said in a campaign video Monday night.

His campaign has emphasized building better support systems for marginalized students, increasing graduate student stipends and working to expand and diversify the offerings of Counseling and Psychological Services. 

Richards, a public policy and psychology major, serves as the chairperson of the Commission on Campus Equality and Student Equity and served on the Undergraduate Senate this year. He said these roles, as well as his personal experiences as a marginalized student at Carolina, have given him a diverse perspective that guides his leadership.

“We’re not out to be ‘trendsetters’ or undo everything within a day’s work,” he said. “We’re out to build a foundation.”

Part of that foundation includes a plan for funding his policy initiatives through a combination of reallocating University funding and robust fundraising. 

Junior Maya Logan, the current Speaker Pro Tempore of the Undergraduate Senate and a strategist on the campaign, told The Daily Tar Heel she looks forward to seeing how Richards will handle the ongoing issues related to COVID-19. 

“I feel like this campaign will definitely help to advocate for marginalized students or vulnerable students, for making sure that low-income and out-of-state students are secure when returning to campus or even if they're working remotely,” she said.

Richard's opponent, Javvadi, is an economics and political science student and currently serves as the Speaker of the Undergraduate Senate. 

Javvadi's platform emphasized support for diversity in leadership, increased student engagement, sexual assault prevention and mental health services. 

“It was, I mean, to be frank, a little bit disappointing,” Javvadi said regarding the results. “But also I was glad that both candidates ran great campaigns, and that we both campaigned on wanting to change student government and wanting to make them more equitable and inclusive. So at the end of the day I think that the Executive Branch is in good hands.”

Javvadi said he hopes to continue to be involved in Student Government in some capacity, and he encourages other students to do the same. 

Richards said he wants students to seriously consider applying for positions on the Executive Board of his cabinet. 

“I'm really encouraging my peers to keep your eyes on me and hold me accountable in this very robust transition period to show that I am staying true to my commitments,” Richards said. “But more importantly, to make sure that we are on track to ensure that next year's election and elections following would have much, much higher voter turnout.”

To get the day's news and headlines in your inbox each morning, sign up for our email newsletters.

3,321 total voters participated in the student body elections this year — 11.2 percent of all eligible voters.  

Winners of other races

Residence Hall Association President

Elli Alexander

Carolina Athletic Association President

Due to a tie in this election, a run-off election will occur on March 2 between the candidates: Luke Hines and William Kade Sutton

Rising Senior Class President and Vice-President

Juan Castro and Charles Robinette

USG Senate, District 1

Maya Logan

Aashna Shukla

Husein Ul-Haq Syed 

Laura Wilkerson

Je’Len Wilkins
Four seats remain open.

USG Senate, District 2

Anna Fiore

Samuel Robinson
No seats remain unfilled.

USG Senate, District 3

Eesha Desai 

Christopher Everett 

Zoe Hatsios

Pallavi Maladkar 

Alayna Powell
No seats remain open.

USG Senate, District 4

Gabrielle (Gigi) Guffey 

Lilli-Anne Suber
No seats remain open.

USG Senate, District 5

Sneha Pasupula

Two seats remain unfilled.

USG Senate, District 6

Andrew Richards

Two seats remain unfilled.

USG Senate, District 7

Robert Rampani

No seats remain open.

USG Senate, District 8

No candidate elected. The seat remains open.

USG Senate, District 9

No candidate elected. The seat remains open.

Staff writer Kelly Kendall contributed to this report.