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.