Student group endorsements indicate potential GUSA frontrunners

February 21, 2013

Based on endorsements, two tickets  have emerged as clear favorites in the Georgetown Univeristy Student Association presidential campaign: the ticket of Nate Tisa (SFS ’14) and Adam Ramadan (SFS ’14) and the ticket of Jack Appelbaum (COL ’14) and Maggie Cleary (COL ’14).

Tisa/Ramadan developed a broad base of support in both student groups and current and former members of student government. Applebaum/Cleary, however, have the backing of outgoing GUSA president, Clara Gustafson (SFS ’13), and vicepresident, Vail Kohnert-Yount (SFS ’13), as well as other student groups.

“Vail and I have learned that listening and relationship building are as much a part of this job as anything else,” Gustafson said. “Jack and Maggie are the best listeners and will engage anyone who wants to talk in a discussion about any issue.”

Gustafson also said Appelbaum and Cleary have the most potential to reform Student Activities Commission funding for student groups. “They are especially well versed in funding reform and have the most revolutionary ideas that will give the ownership of our money to us,” Gustafson said.

With the recent revelation of Appelbaum’s involvement with the Stewards, Gustafson reaffirmed her support of Appelbaum/Cleary, emphasizing that such news should have no bearing on the election.

“The idea raised by some other candidates that Jack’s hard work and dedication to improving life on the Hilltop is any less commendable or valid because of the recent news is absurd,” Gustafson said.

Though Gustafson and Kohnert-Yount have declared their support for Applebaum/Cleary, other notable members of GUSA and the wider student community have chosen to endorse Tisa/Ramadan.

GUSA Senate Vicespeaker Zach Singer (SFS ’15) is Tisa’s campaign manager. Additionally, GUSA Chair of Intellectual Life George Spyropolous (COL ’14) endorses Tisa/Ramadan. “Nate and I are on the Senate leadership team and this has given me a front row seat to Nate’s extraordinary ability to negotiate with administrators in order to lobby for his fellow students,” Spyropolous said. “[The] GUSA senate has shown tremendous progress under his leadership.”

Vetone Ivezaj (COL ‘13), GUSA Chair of Sustainability, commends Tisa and Ramadan for their commitment to sustainability at Georgetown. Ivezaj praises Tisa’s prior success in this area. “Nate was a strong advocate for creating the first-ever Subcommittee on Sustainability,” she said. “He recognized a need on campus and took a risk that has paid off.”

The three most prominent campus media outlets—the Voice, The Hoya, and GUTV—have each endorsed a different ticket. Highlighting Tisa/Ramadan’s commitment to free speech and sexual assault policy reform, the Voice endorsed the ticket in a web-exclusive editorial on Tuesday. Last week, The Hoya editorial board chose to endorse Appelbaum/Cleary as a result of its belief in the ticket’s ability to effectively represent students and bargain with administration.

GUTV endorsed the ticket of Shavonnia Corbin-Johnson (SFS ’14) and Joe Vandegriff (COL ’14). “We really like the diversity aspect of the campaign and that is why we decided to endorse Shavonnia,” said Bailey Holtz (COL ’14), the News Director of GUTV. “We realize that we are not as well established an organization as, say, The Hoya or the Voice, so we think that we will have a small effect on the decisions of the students.”

Many groups have declared endorsements for Tisa/Ramadan. Both H*yas for Choice and GU Pride endorsed Tisa/Ramadan, mentioning the ticket’s commitment to dialogue, diversity, and support of campus-wide free speech as issues they strongly support. Tisa served on the GU Pride Board last year and would be Georgetown’s first-ever openly-gay GUSA executive, if elected.

Cannon Warren (SFS ’14) explained that his campaign is not very concerned with official endorsements. “I would describe my campaign as one full of unofficial endorsements,” he said. “We think it’s a new way to run a presidential campaign that ends up with less hurt feelings.”

The ticket of Spencer Walsh (MSB ’14) and Rob Silverstein (SFS ’14) did not respond to repeated requests for comment on any endorsements they had received.

Some groups have chosen not to endorse any candidates. The Georgetown College Republicans abstained from endorsing any of the tickets. “We believe that it is in the best interest of the Georgetown community for students to individually and objectively evaluate the tickets for GUSA Executive and vote for the ticket that they, as individuals, feel best represents their priorities and values,” said Alex Cave (COL ’15), the group’s president.

Likewise, the Georgetown University College Democrats opted out of an endorsement. “Our board was of the opinion that [endorsing a candidate] did not significantly contribute to the goals and mission of our organization,” said Trevor Tezel (SFS ’14), President of College Democrats. “We are a large group with a number of members who are active in various campaigns and decided against endorsing one ticket.”

Results of the elections are expected to be released Thursday evening. The winning ballot will be sworn in by the current GUSA executive before the end of the semester.

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