Content Warning: This article references sexual assault
Two GUSA vice presidential candidates debated their campaigns’ platforms on Feb. 4 following the GUSA presidential debate on Feb. 3. The debate comes days before the GUSA Executive elections on Feb. 6.
The candidates began with opening statements that focused on their personal reasons for running as VP candidates. “When I came to Georgetown as a first generation student and undocumented student from Commerce City, I was terrified and scared. I was close to transferring schools because I believed that I did not belong here. I struggled academically and socially but I did not give up,” Figueroa-Flores said.
“I am telling you this because I am no longer afraid. I am unafraid, and that is why I am running for GUSA Vice President.”
Badger discussed his challenges at Georgetown as a person of color and LGBTQ student. “My entire life I have never backed down from a fight,” he said. “My freshman year when I got to Georgetown, I was expecting a lot of challenges, but the one thing I didn’t expect was that this institution would culturally or institutionally try to challenge me on the sole basis of who I am,” Badger said.
Both candidates elaborated on their campaigns’ policies, including following through on the GU 272 referendum, improving campus sexual assault and mental health resources, making Georgetown’s campus more sustainable, making GUSA more approachable for student advocates, and ameliorating student relations with GUPD.
Badger advocated for GUSA policies that would increase the accountability of GUPD. “One thing that was really important to me was making sure we are taking steps to address police brutality on campus. Right now there is no accountability for GUPD, and as students of color, as queer students, I think it is important to hold them accountable,” Badger said.
Badger went on to discuss Title IX on Georgetown’s campus and ways to improve sexual assault resources for all survivors. “My first priority as GUSA VP would be to meet with the Black Survivors Coalition,” Badger said. “I want to workshop how we can get their list of demands implemented within university and how we can continue to make resources on campus more available,” he added. “We want to be supporting our black and queer survivors as much as we can.”
Figueroa-Flores said that her first priority as VP would be following through with recent and upcoming GUSA referenda, specifically in reference to the 2019 GU 272 referendum. She criticized the university for not implementing concrete GU 272 policies, despite the overwhelming student support it received in last year’s referendum. “It has been almost a year, and nothing has been done,” Figueroa-Flores said.
The two candidates believe that they are qualified for the position. While Badger discussed his experience as GUSA chief of staff, Figueroa-Flores argued that her experience in advocacy also made her a fit candidate for GUSA. “I have never had any experience with GUSA, but I will say this, GUSA is a student advocacy organization of campus, and so it’s all about advocating for the students, and that is what I have been doing here on campus through HFIR [Hoyas for Immigrant Rights], CMEA [Center for Multicultural Equity and Access], and GSP [Georgetown Scholars Program],” Figueroa-Flores said.
Badger and Figueroa-Flores are the only remaining vice presidential candidates. Isbel Deleon (COL ’21) announced her departure from Joshua Marín-Mora’s (SFS ’21) ticket on Feb. 3. Julio Salermon-Perla (SFS ’22) has suspended his campaign after the departure of his co-president, Gabby Elliott Brault (SFS ’21) on Feb. 1.
The GUSA election will take place on Feb. 6.