Daniel Lorell elected new Agenda Chair

Talia Gill will be vice chair; Benny Zaghi and Jonah Sanders to lead Fairness


Honor Fuchs

Daniel Lorell, who has vowed to turn Town Hall into a congress for the Just Community through “radical changes,” was elected next year’s Agenda Chair Friday, defeating Rami Gruman, Sam Hirschhorn and Rosie Wolkind.

Daniel received both a plurality of the 249 votes cast and a majority under the new instant runoff system. Rami came in second in both plurality and instant runoff.  

“Town Hall is the perfect platform to build a living government, not one that exists on an as-needed basis,” wrote Daniel in a Schoology post Thursday night. “A weekly meeting of ideas and proposals of action to our immediate lives is far more valuable than contemplating hypotheticals, and a far more fitting fixture of what we call our Just Community.”

THINKING: Daniel Lorell, on the foyer staircase with one of his campaign posters Friday, wants to replace the Just Community’s representative government with direct votes. Photo by Honor Fuchs

After his election was announced, Daniel talked about what he hopes to achieve as Agenda Chair.

“I’m looking forward to constructing Town Hall as a leg of the Just Community, rather than a forum for hypotheticals,” he said in an interview with the Boiling Point just moments after learning of the election results.

He said he looks forward to discussing the school’s constitution, though he does not know the particulars of how he intends to go about it yet. He does know that he does not like the idea of a representative government — with the Agenda Committee making decisions on its own — and wants the students to have a direct hand in the constitution.

Unlike in years past, when election results have taken several hours or more to compile, counting only took one minute because it was done online. And it was rapid even though a new system for choosing the Agenda chair was more complicated than any used in the past.

The system, suggested by junior and chair candidate Sam Hirschhorn and approved by the Agenda Committee last week, used a so-called ‘instant runoff‘ computer program. Voters ranked all four candidates in order of their preference; when no candidate had a majority, the lowest ranked candidate was eliminated and his or her second-choice votes went to one of the remaining candidates; this would be repeated until a winning  candidate received more than 50 percent of votes cast.

At breakfast and lunch Friday, teachers were set up at four tables in the gym, one for each grade, each with two computers or iPads.  Teachers and staff could vote at any table.  Voters were called to the tables two at a time.

Also on the ballot were the officers of the Fairness and Student Activities committees, but these were decided by simple pluralities.  But the Agenda Chair voting data was exported into Eclipse, an OSX application that runs Java code. This data was then put into a code written by Sam Hirschhorn, which performed the instant runoff procedure.

The instant runoff took three recounts to determine that Daniel as the winner. While he received a plurality from the beginning, the elimination of the two least favored candidates — and the addition of those voters’ second-place choices — was required to give Daniel the majority required to win the election.

Newly appointed Agenda faculty advisors and Ms. Aviva Walls and Rabbi Ari Schwarzberg watched the counting, along with outgoing Agenda Chair Bennett Schneier, a representative of the Boiling Point. and Zack Hirschhorn, who wrote the code for the program.

Sophomore Talia Gill won the position of Agenda Committee vice chair, who ran against Ari Sassover and Eytan Kent. Tobey Lee defeated Maya Tochner for secretary.

Benny Zaghi and Jonah Sanders were elected Fairness Committee co-chairs, defeating Jordan Fields, Arman Marghzar, Shana Lunzer, and Sarina Finn, while Jordana Glouberman defeated Evan Rubel and Ashley Botnick for Fairness secretary.

“I look forward to working with them,” said Daniel of his new cabinet.

Talia Gill was looking forward to changing Town Hall.

“We get to a point where Town Hall is not this dreaded aspect every week, where Town Hall is not the same every week, where it’s not monotonous, where it becomes truly one of the centerpieces of the Just Community, whatever the Just Community is,” said Talia after learning she had won.

Ariel Cohen and Summer Gershon were elected co-chairs of the Student Activities committee (SAC), and Shannon Asiss came in third. Maital Hiller was selected as the SAC secretary, with Rachel Metzger coming in second, and Maital will join Maya Miro who ran uncontested for vice-chair.

Community Editor Hannah Jannol contributed to this story.

BP Video by Alec Fields