If the past is to be any guide, the next two weeks will be filled with public displays of patriotism and vandalism, endless weird YouTube videos, and some debate chaos, not to mention the obligatory flyering, incessant dorm-storming, and saturation of social media.
The field presents many familiar faces for Vox but also some new ones. Only one, solitary ticket has avoided climbing the student government hierarchy: Spencer Walsh (MSB ’14), a leader in the credit union, is running with Robert Silverstein (SFS ’14), a member of College Dems.
The remainder of GUSA executive hopefuls, naturally, have experience in GUSA or related groups such as SAC.
Speaker of the GUSA senate Nate Tisa (SFS ’14) is giving a run for the executive’s chair another shot this year but chose to run, instead, with Adam Ramadan (SFS ’14), a member of Hoya Blue.
Another strong candidate, Shavonnia Corbin-Johnson (SFS ’14)
boasts receiving the highest number of votes for a senator-at-large in the history of GUSA got a lot of votes once. Perhaps strategically, Corbin-Johnson decided to run with Joseph Vandegriff (COL ’14), who, like sitting GUSA vice president Vail Kohnert-Yount (SFS ’13), served as the president of College Dems in his sophomore year. The Gustafson/Kohnert-Yount ticket likely benefited heavily from the association with College Dems.
The sole campaign including a member of the College Republicans is the Jack Appelbaum (COL ’14)/Maggie Cleary (COL ’14) ticket. Cleary herself ran in 2012 and previously served as chair of College Republicans. Appelbaum distinguishes himself as the former chair of SAC who represented the body on the Student Activities Fee Endowment Commission, which recommended how $3.4 million should be spent.
The final ticket, however, makes a point of not taking itself too seriously: The eccentric senator-at-large Cannon Warren (SFS ’14) is making a run with Andrew Logerfo (COL ’14). Warren has legislative chops serving as vice chair of GUSA’s Finance and Appropriations Committee, while Logerfo works as the Corp’s director of accounting. Their campaign slogan: “Let’s get weird.”
Unlike last year, all entrants are Juniors. The field of ten hopefuls includes just two women, compared to last year’s relative high of six out of 14.
Below the jump, get more analysis and first look at the candidates’ platforms and strategies.
The earliest indicator of who’s ahead (the number of Facebook likes) shows Corbin-Johnson/Vandegriff ahead with 248 public supporters as of the time of this posting. From what Vox recalls, Clara and Vail were persistently ahead in Facebook likes when they won a year ago.
While GUSA campaigns inevitably involve fluffy calls for helping student organizations and improving funding for various causes, real disagreement exists in student government, which Vox will try to tease out in the coming two weeks in both reporting and in the debates.
Shavonnia and Joe: The underscore movement
Corbin-Johnson and Vandegriff emphasize their commitment to the ideal of student involvement and feedback rather than singling in on one or a few issues as the other campaigns have. “For students to be happy, we want to focus on their issues, so we ask you to ‘choose YOUR movement,’” Corbin-Johnson wrote in an email to Vox.
In terms of their relatively few concrete proposals to start, Corbin-Johnson say they want to improve campus Wi-Fi, extend GUTS bus hours, make booking club space easier, improve Lau, and make campus more wheelchair accessible. According to their website, their approach to GUSA will include writing “weekly Hoya and Voice articles promoting [their] ideas.” We’ll see about that last one. (Website, Facebook, Twitter, Platform)
Nate and Adam: Inexplicable medical themes at the pulse of Georgetown
Tisa and Ramadan divide their platform into four issue sets: social justice & diversity, student group advocacy, advocating for the individual, and connecting the hilltop to D.C. Notably, Tisa and Ramadan advocate for an amendment to the University’s free speech policy, calling for a campus-wide free-speech zone, the only ticket to do so.
Their platform is too extensive to cover briefly but Tisa/Ramadan emphasize a commitment to social justice and propose moving the CSJ to Healy and reversing recent budget cuts that the center has endured. Tisa and Ramadan boast a formidable campaign operation with, from what Vox understands, over 100 students working on it. (Website, Facebook, Twitter)
Jack and Maggie: Wouldn’t you like these solutions?
Appelbaum and Cleary’s campaign lists pretty much all the problems on campus and proposes solutions. Student organizations struggling with funding and unnecessary bureaucracy? Reform the funding process under one student organization board. Social Justice not active as it should be? Make a Justice and Peace Major. Technology isn’t good? Fix all the websites.
While their platform covers all bases, their priorities and longest proposals lie in reforming student space and funding—pretty much what you would expect from a former SAC chair. They also propose adding Politico to the Collegiate Readership Program, much to Vox‘s dissatisfaction (More WaPo’s and fewer USA Today’s please). Their website also has a pretty fun scramble game. (Website, Facebook)
Spencer and Rob: One Georgetown (as in not the one in Texas)
Walsh and Silverstein chiefly market themselves as GUSA outsiders and entrepreneurial upstarts. “Bureaucratic in nature, [student government] frequently misses the marks on the issues that matter to Georgetown students,” they write. “We don’t have experience serving in GUSA, and we believe that is a good thing.”
With entrepreneurship clearly a cause dear to their hearts, Walsh and Silverstein propose adding a secretary of entrepreneurship, expanding entrepreneurship fellows programs, and hosting a career fair for startups. The candidates say they’ll have a big presence on social media but won’t take themselves too seriously as GUSA candidates are wont to do. (Website, Facebook, Twitter)
Cannon and Logerfo: Campaign of the absurd
The bulk of the intrigue and confusion of 2013′s GUSA campaign promises to come from the Warren/Logerfo ticket. Planning to tap into popular dissatisfaction with GUSA (or, Warren’s preferred pronunciation, “Goosa”), Warren and Logerfo promise to “fight for students’ rights” at the expense of the incessantly changing GUSA’s bylaws.
The duo also propose a unique cause, extermination of the rat population on campus: “The Rat Attack Challenge—like the Python Challenge currently underway in Florida—our goal is to take matters into our own hands to end the rat problem,” they write in their platform. While certainly the most unusual GUSA hopefuls, Warren and Logerfo don’t ignore policy, though their platform is by far the shortest. According to Cannon, “We think a website is a ridiculous expense. And thats coming from a guy who bought 25 hats.” (Facebook)
Unlike any other campaign, they promise not to add to the candidates’ annoying habit of knocking on every door on campus: “[O]ur campaign will not consist of any door knocking, since we respect students’ privacy and peace of mind while they are in their dorms or apartments,” Logerfo told Vox. “Basically, we do not want to be seen as Georgetown’s version of Jehovah’s Witnesses.”
Let the chaos commence!
These short platform descriptions are not intended to be exhaustive: The candidates have many more proposals than those listed here.
Vox’s coverage of the campaign is intended to be irreverent but impartial. As such, neither the editor nor any reporter covering the campaign will be part of a campaign.
Shavonnia Corbin-Johnson did not receive the highest number of votes in an at-large GUSA election as was originally reported. Vox had no reason to believe that Corbin-Johnson’s claim was false.
In the interest of full disclosure, Cannon Warren is a Voice staffer and has elected to take a temporary leave of absence during the campaign.
All images in gallery credit to respective campaigns.
Photo: Ryan Greene/Georgetown Voice