EDITORIAL: GUSA vote turns out to be pitiful

For Georgetown students, the Georgetown University Student Association (GUSA) executive elections seemingly offer an opportunity for new, perhaps more promising leadership that best serves their interests. Yet this campaign season produced two disappointing posts that epitomize GUSA’s failures as an institution.

While Thomas Leonard (COL ’23) and Nirvana Khan (SFS ’24) seem to have a reasonable understanding of the important issues, their specific plans for implementing policies to address these issues fall short. Conversely, the campaign of Kole Wolfe (SFS ’24) and Zeke Ume-Ukeje (COL ’24) was rightly seen as disappointing, and both have insufficient knowledge of the issues facing the Georgetown community. .

[Disclaimer: Kole Wolfe served as a Staff Writer for The Hoya in spring 2021.]

In light of these disappointing options, the editorial board declines to endorse a ticket in the 2022 GUSA executive election and urges students to vote for community members they believe will bring about positive change. on campus using the writing option.

Wolfe and Ume-Ukejes’ platform is the more concerning of the two tickets, showing a lack of understanding of campus issues, as well as a lack of seriousness.

When The Hoya asked about their plan to prioritize campus safety after a series of dorm intrusions last semester, Wolfe replied that students should form a task force to seek out danger.

“If there was just some kind of team scanning the hallways for a minute every night on their respective different floors, just trying to keep in mind that, ‘Okay, we’ll probably be safe, but you know, safety is the number one priority. And then, okay, I look down the hall, I see a guy with a knife. That means it’s time to call a serious backup,” Wolfe told The Hoya.

Wolfe also showed a lack of understanding of GUSA’s operations and even told The Hoya that the organization restructured in November. This statement is not true: the referendum on the restructuring of the GUSA was not voted by the students due to a lack of electoral participation.

Asked about more specific issues such as GU272, GUSA’s restructuring and public safety, they continued to withhold specific positions until the release of their platform, which came several days later and included only vague statements about increasing transparency and improving club culture.

Admittedly, the Leonard-Khan ticket is the more promising of the two options, albeit still disappointing. Both Leonard and Khan have extensive GUSA experience, with Leonard serving as the current Vice President of GUSA and Khan serving as a Senator.

While the duo acknowledge many of the major issues facing students — including but not limited to meal plan exemptions, housing, and low-income and student-of-color student aid policies — the Leonard-Khan platform still lags behind those of previous administrations, offering less specific or innovative plans that make broad promises with no clear path to realization.

In their interview with The Hoya, Leonard and Khan both stressed the need for greater accessibility. However, proposed policies, such as institutionalizing an “unmet need reporting system for student housing,” merely state the obvious, with no real guidelines for implementation.

Their lack of transparency regarding their campaign advisory team is an additional cause for concern, as the student body deserves to know who advises their campaign and has influence in policy development. Previous campaigns, like the 2020 Ferretti-Badger campaign and the 2021 Blass-Sanchez campaign, have highlighted their advisory team and defined their roles. None of the campaigns in this race have done so, which we consider a troubling omission.

In recent weeks, the Leonard-Khan campaign has been embroiled in three major controversies, including allegations of ableism, claiming credit for work done by organizations such as the Georgetown Scholars Program (GSP), and co-opting the identity of the former President Melanie Cruz-Morales. , according to a public Instagram story obtained by The Hoya.

The campaign has since released a statement clarifying the circumstances of those allegations and told The Hoya it has met with the students who raised the concerns to apologize. While Leonard and Khan did acknowledge their past mistakes, their statement offered no new changes to prevent similar future disputes.

While The Hoya cannot independently verify these claims, the number of students within GUSA speaking out against the Leonard-Khan ticket certainly calls into question their relationship-building skills and ability to govern. with integrity.

The Leonard-Khan campaign also prioritizes performativity while embodying the vast disconnect between GUSA representatives and the student body. Their use of “fashionable” slogans to “enlighten” the administration and bizarrely “guard” student rights – whatever that means, for it is never explained – is further evidence of their disconnect with the culture of the campus.

The deep weaknesses in both tickets are emblematic of GUSA’s continued failure to address its own internal issues and external reputation.

For these reasons, the editorial board encourages students to use the writing option instead. We call on students to reject both options for the GUSA executive, and hope that new students with bold and specific policies will launch their own grassroots campaigns for election to the GUSA executive. Students deserve honest and effective leadership capable of bringing about needed change for students and GUSA as an institution.

La Hoya’s editorial board is made up of six students and is chaired by the Opinion Editors. Editorials reflect the beliefs of the majority of the Board of Directors only and are not representative of The Hoya or any individual member of the Board of Directors.


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