As the GUSA executive election approaches, the Georgetown community is once again reminded of the student organization that ostensibly serves as the voice of the students to the administration. GUSA campaigns are typically spaces reserved for posturing on the parts of candidates as they appeal to various student groups by promising to bring change and progress to the organization. Unfortunately for the annual rounds of candidates, rhetoric is simple; results prove far more difficult to achieve. Still, GUSA has demonstrated the ability to affect positive change over the past few years, specifically with progress made on the administration’s handling of sexual assault on campus.
Election season is a valuable time to call into question the motivations and priorities of any organization. Candidates have always proposed wide-reaching platforms pursuing an array of topics, but such a broad net often fails to identify key priorities. This editorial board identifies affordability, transparency, and workers’ rights (both student and non-student) as three major priority areas for our analysis of a GUSA administration. While the previous administration was certainly well intentioned, there is still a significant disconnect between the student body and GUSA, a disconnect that the next executive must work to fix.
With that in mind, we believe that, of the four tickets running, the Kamar Mack/Jessica Andino ticket is the most promising to enact the change necessary to make GUSA more transparent, effective, and focused.
The insularity of GUSA has been a recurring issue, and most likely will be for the duration of the organization’s existence. That does not mean that students should sit idly by, mired in apathy as GUSA continues to operate. Indeed, it is important to understand that GUSA is limited in what it can do, and expecting the next executive to come into power with a cure-all solution to the student body’s issues is unrealistic. But the organization can be a connected force for good, in contrast with the isolated, self-inflated image that tends to be perpetuated around campus. Kamar and Jessica have shown that they possess the realistic approaches, specific policy proposals, and understanding of GUSA’s perceived isolation that make them the best choice.
This endorsement is not without caveats: of the three issues previously identified as priorities, non-student workers’ rights are not mentioned once on Kamar and Jessica’s platform. This is certainly concerning, and we call on the candidates to, if elected, take action to ensure that this issue does not become an oversight of their administration. There must be constant dialogue concerning non-student workers’ rights on campus in the future, and we urge Kamar and Jessica to adapt by making these issues a part of their platform. Moreover, some healthy skepticism is necessary to question Kamar’s status as a sophomore running for the GUSA Executive, a position usually held by a junior going into senior year. Age is no guarantee of experience however, and Kamar has shown a passion and enthusiasm for GUSA that will hopefully inject much needed vitality into the organization.
Kamar and Jessica have put forward specific, viable proposals during their campaign that have set them apart from the rest of the tickets. Their ideas for improving Georgetown’s affordability are realistic and beneficial in a number of ways. On their website, under the “Affordability” tag, they outline several proposals that both help the university save money and make the university more sustainable. What sets these proposals apart from typical GUSA platitudes is how realistically they can be achieved. Some seem like overly-obvious common sense solutions, such as RA training for turning off lights in common rooms at night, but prioritizing simple methods for decreasing the costs of running Georgetown can help fight rising tuition.
It is this business-like, entrepreneurial mindset that Kamar brings that makes his presidency so appealing. Ridding Georgetown of useless expenses (such as the infamous $500 chair debacle in Henle) is the type of pragmatic thinking GUSA needs.
As vice-president, Jessica will bring her own set of skills to the administration as well. Her past work with undocumented students also bodes well for how a Mack/Andino administration would handle more sensitive social issues. Throughout the campaign, Kamar and Jessica have proven to be capable of specificity, which has proven refreshing in a campaign season so often dominated by broad ideas with little substance.
The Voice’s editorial board makes this endorsement knowing that no GUSA candidate is capable of achieving all of the goals with which they enter office. We have also articulated our apprehensions concerning the lack of attention paid to non-student workers’ rights in Kamar and Jessica’s platform. If the two win the election, and find that their main proposals are defeated by other factors, they must show that they have the ability to adapt and continue to make progress in different ways on the issues they have specified as priorities. If they can achieve this, then perhaps GUSA can begin to bridge the chasm that has formed between the organization and the students it works to represent.