Vote Lloyd / Ramirez for GUSA Executive

February 20, 2014

In selecting which ticket to endorse in this year’s GUSA executive election, the Voice had three priorities: collaboration with student groups on existing initiatives, commitment to continued speech and expression policy reform, and overall inclusiveness of platform. After interviewing each ticket, the Voice editorial board chose to endorse Thomas Lloyd (SFS ‘15) for GUSA president and Jimmy Ramirez (COL ‘15) for vice president.

True to their slogan “Together with Georgetown,” Lloyd/Ramirez’s outside experience will bring a fresh perspective to the GUSA administration encompassing the values of the diverse groups of Georgetown students. Bold proposals in their platform take a combative stand against institutional issues within GUSA. Though lacking GUSA-specific experience, we value Lloyd’s ability to effect change without the power of a GUSA leadership role—a praiseworthy feat. His instrumental role with GU Pride in ensuring that future buildings will incorporate gender-neutral bathrooms is a tangible example of his accomplishment.

When asked about their top two priorities, Lloyd and Ramirez said increasing collaboration with other student groups on campus and improving access to speech, space and spending—two important issues to the Voice. They aim to create a climate in which groups are more able to set their own policies, rather than being subject to control by GUSA’s agenda. The What’s a Hoya program incentivized students to attend informative university-sponsored events with housing points. Lloyd/Ramirez and Singer/Silkman both suggested expanding the existing program, however, while Singer and Silkman proposed a GUSA cosponsorship, Lloyd and Ramirez indicated that they preferred to allow student groups to retain more autonomy. With this outlook, groups would be able to set their own agendas on pressing issues while allowing GUSA and its institutional authority help them incentivize students to participate.

Additionally, through their experience with other organizations, Lloyd and Ramirez understand the difficulties that arise while trying to deal with GUSA—often perceived as operating as an independent, impenetrable engine—and thus, would like GUSA to be more accessible to other groups on campus. With respect to free speech, Lloyd/Ramirez said Georgetown should embrace both its Catholic and university identities. They propose a tiered access system for groups to receive benefits, allowing groups like H*yas for Choice to access space without the university necessarily giving it official approval. This ticket believes in a difference between access and university association. In this way, groups would be able to have greater accessibility while being separate from Georgetown’s Catholic identity.

More broadly, Lloyd/Ramirez believe that there is a culture of self-censorship at Georgetown because of fear of University reprisal if students speak out against administrative action. Lloyd’s view is that “more speech is good speech,” therefore, more lenience could bring about a cultural change toward more tolerant and productive dialogue.

The ticket, at its heart, looks to make both structural and cultural changes to GUSA, allowing greater access and moving money so that it is utilized more efficiently. Though Lloyd has not been a member of GUSA in the past, he has extensive experience in managing an organization and raising its profile, which he did with GU Pride. Ramirez, on the other hand, has worked within GUSA while still remaining involved in—and in touch with—a diverse array of campus groups and has shown a strong commitment to social justice.

Due to the instant run off voting system that GUSA elections use, the Voice encourages students to vote Trevor Tezel (SFS ‘15) and Omika Jikaria (SFS ‘15) for their second choice,  as their ticket presents a platform including ideas and values shared by the Voice. Tezel and Jikaria create a comprehensive ticket in terms of GUSA experience and have strong priorities for both their campaign and GUSA overall.

Tezel and Jikaria’s platform suggests the same notion of a tiered access to benefits system in order to foster free speech and shows a strong dedication to student rights through its suggestion of making the Office of Student Conduct more transparent. Furthermore, the Voice supports Tezel/Jikaria’s dedication to multiculturalism and strengthening Georgetown’s sexual assault policy, two important issues to this editorial board. Their platform shares Lloyd/Ramirez’s emphasis on refocusing GUSA resources to help student groups while encouraging accountability with its specific timelines of implementation. However, the number of measures they hope to enact are overwhelming and at times redundant with existing initiatives.

Zach Singer (SFS ‘15) and Dan Silkman (COL ‘15) also emphasized the consideration of both Georgetown’s Catholic and university aspects and have worked toward advancing free and open speech through GUSA policies, though their work has been limited by working soley within GUSA’s bounds. The Voice lauds Singer and Silkman’s commitment to socioeconomic diversity issues, as their ticket wishes to “set the platform on the socioeconomic front” by creating a leadership fund for students who have to front costs as part of their leadership roles and allowing students with outstanding tuition balances to pre-register. In response to the administration’s proposal of a satellite campus, Singer led the “One Georgetown, One Campus” initiative against the idea, a movement that encouraged students to get involved through social media and petition efforts. Opponents Benjamin Weiss (COL ‘15) and Samuel Greco (SFS ‘15) claim the initiative merely strained the relationship between students and administrators. In reality, Singer’s campaign played a crucial role in preventing the satellite campus.

While Weiss/Greco are the candidates with the most GUSA experience by far, their similar on-campus backgrounds shed doubt on whether they could connect to a campus with diverse needs. Furthermore, they listed a long-term policy approach and internship credit recognition as their top two priorities of their campaign. We do not believe these align with the best interests of Georgetown students.

After considering the values and measures set forth by each campaign platform and which ticket would ultimately be the most effective at enacting change, Lloyd/Ramirez possesses the overall experience and leadership skills to empower both GUSA and student leaders throughout campus to fix the most pressing issues for students at Georgetown. While their platform is the shortest, their ideas are strong and succinct. We value their work outside of GUSA and the connections they have fostered among diverse student groups with even more diverse interests. Both charismatic and qualified leaders, Lloyd/Ramirez have proven themselves as capable leaders on campus, and we believe they would translate this experience into results at the GUSA executive level. Therefore, come election time, we encourage our readers to select Lloyd/Ramirez as their top choice and consider naming Tezel and Jikaria as their second.

Editor’s Note: One instance of a misspelling of Omika Jikaria’s last name has been corrected.

Editorial Board
The Editorial Board is the official opinion of the Georgetown Voice. Its current composition can be found on the masthead.

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Comments 12

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    zomg u didn’t mention how awesum my candidate is wow voice where’s your journalistic ethics
    -what all the comments on this article are about to be

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    I am shocked, shocked, that the Voice, with it’s editorial viewpoint would choose to endorse Thomas and Jimmy and praise their pledge to take a “combative stand.” Perhaps the close friendship between a certain influential editorial board member and one of the candidates also had something to do with it.

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      And aliens helped build the pyramids. Cool it.

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    Heavens, Voice, it’s Jikaria, not Jakaria…

    I guess that is a bit closer that Jahari though. You’re getting there!

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      Thanks for alerting me to the mistake. It’s been corrected.

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    The distinguishing factor between Lloyd/Ramirez and Tezel/Jikaria for the Voice? “The number of measures they [Tezel/Jikaria] hope to enact are overwhelming and at times redundant.” I guess having a comprehensive plan to address all (or most) of Georgetown’s most pressing challenges is a bad thing. Woo for mediocrity!

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    The Voice endorsing before any of the debates is completely irresponsible. How about we wait to hear the candidates actually discuss the issues before making a selection, rather than basing an endorsement simply off of their platform proposals as listed online. Are you that convinced that Lloyd/Ramirez are the best ticket that you couldnt wait another three days before endorsing? Pathetic journalism, honestly. The Voice has completely discredited itself

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      Yes because the Voice would print a midweek issue, diverging from its pattern of printing Thursdays, solely for the GUSA race. And correct me if I’m wrong, but the Voice interviewed all four tickets multiple times…?

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    So, here is the thing. You call their platform comprehensive but yet they only have one, ONE point on sustainability. Thomas and Jimmy only have this to say on the issue, “Allocate funding for grants for student projects that help make Georgetown more sustainable.”

    This is what Trevor and Omika offer:

    Work toward endowment transparency and divestment from fossil fuels
    Partner with The Corp’s Green Team to support and advertise its new Terracycle Program
    Partner with the community garden to expand its space and create a program to sell its produce at the GU Farmers Market and make the food available at Leo’s, thereby advancing Leo’s local and organic eating options
    Expand and promote awareness of composting and, more generally, where our trash goes and how much waste we create
    Establish a memorandum of understanding on LEED certification for all new buildings on campus, ensuring that we are green in our planning and use of our facilities
    Advocate for green roofs and green walls in new buildings on campus
    Advocate to replace current fixtures with more sustainable faucets, sinks, showers, laundry appliances, and dual-flush toilets
    Continue to support Georgetown Environmental Leaders (GEL) to promote coordination of and support for the work of the multiple groups on campus committed to sustainability

    They also have a timeline for implementation.

    And the disparity in detail is not limited to Sustainability alone.

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      So let me just summarize those points for you:

      – Support/continue what’s being done by someone else
      – Support/continue what’s being done by someone else
      – Okay something new and good
      – Okay this would be good if it were original
      – Okay this would be good if LEED certification had really been a huge problem
      – Support/continue what’s being done
      – Okay this would be good, if only the idea didn’t come from someone else
      – Support/continue what’s being done by someone else

      So with all of the “detail,” when you really look at it, 4 are repeating things people are already doing, 2 are unoriginal ideas others have already proposed, and 1 is questionable in its importance. Thus, you really have possibly one original idea at max.

      The actual policy is lost in the mass of text attempting to pull in and mention every single group and initiative ever.

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    The voice makes a great point on rationalism. We can’t expect perfection and Thomas and jimmy promise a strong platform and the ability to produce results. Big ideas which can be implemented and not just talked about. I like this

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    All you trolls (#trollomika) need to cool it down.

    Thomas and Jimmy have actively sought to connect with student groups and create actual change on campus. They have a history together and will make a highly effective team that will listen to ALL sides of the story. They unquestionably deserve this endorsement, and their commitment to opening up communication, to make Georgetown a place and a home for EVERYONE, is something the other candidates lack.

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