Update, 4:05 pm: In an email statement to Vox, GUSA vice presidential candidate Adam Ramadan (SFS’ 14) admitted to being a member of an undisclosed secret society at Georgetown that is unaffiliated with the Second Society of Stewards but denied it affected his work in GUSA or the campaign. “I … freely confirm my membership in a group that is unaffiliated with the Second Society of Stewards that has been in the news today,” Ramadan wrote. “Like any Georgetown student, I have private affiliations with groups on campus. Besides making me more passionate about representing Georgetown, these affiliations have had nothing to do with my involvement in the campaign for the Georgetown University Student Association.”
Ramadan additionally apologized for his statements to The Hoya earlier today, where he implied that Sticka and Appelbaum may have colluded or received inappropriate institutional support. “As a side note, I would like to take this opportunity to apologize to Jack Appelbaum and Jake Sticka for my comments in a recent interview with The Hoya,” he said. “As I have tried to make clear, I do not believe that Jack’s—or anyone else’s—involvement in a private organization affects his ability to lead GUSA.”Read the full statement at the end of the post.
Update, 12:17 pm: The undergraduate leader of the Stewards Society Sam Schneider (COL ’13) has released a statement which he said qualifies as an official response to the Stewards news. It reads, in part: “My society is a private association and a fraternity like many others at Georgetown. While the Society applauds Jack Appelbaum’s service to GUSA, the privilege belongs entirely to him. We are not interested in king-making.” Read the full statement at the end of the post.
Update, 12:05 pm: A member of the Second Society of Stewards told Vox that GUSA vice presidential candidate Adam Ramadan is allegedly a member of the Third Society of Stewards. Ramadan hasn’t yet responded to Vox‘s request for comment and the distinction is between the “Second” and the “Third” Society is still unclear. Ramadan did not previously volunteer that he is a Steward, even after news of Appelbaum’s membership in the society was revealed this morning. The possible political intentions of each tipster remain unclear. (Update: Vox has received information about the distinction between the two societies and will have that for you soon.)
Original Post: Late yesterday evening, an anonymous tipster styling himself “Steward Throat” published a group of documents pointing to several student leaders’ membership in the Second Society of Stewards, a secret society rumored to still exist at Georgetown. Steward Throat posted the articles to an eponymous Facebook page which linked to a blogspot account.
He also specifically sent the documents to the editors of Vox and the Voice. Most notably, they reveal that GUSA presidential candidate Jack Appelbaum (COL ’14) is an active member of the society. GUSA Chief of Staff Jake Sticka (COL ’13) also confirmed to Vox that he is an active member of the society.
The documents contain some screenshots of a Google group entitled “N.S.S.V.-XXX” where members of the Stewards purportedly exchanged messages relating to their involvement with the society. Several messages organized group meetups among the members. In the most recent conversation listed, dated Dec. 4, 2012, Sticka attempted to “do something as a watch” during study days. The “watch” functions somewhat similarly to a fraternity’s pledge line.
Another email was posted by Eric Wind (SFS ’09) requesting watch members to apply for an internship at the prestigious consulting firm Endeavor Group, where he worked. Another thread organized what combination of ties and cufflinks that members of the society would sport.
Steward Throat additionally posted the most recent Return of Private Foundation 990 form for the IRS attributed to the Stewards Charitable Trust. IRS disclosure forms for the group are available for the period going back to fiscal year 2005, when the foundation’s total assets were listed at $40,091. By the most recent year available, the fiscal period ending on Apr. 30, 2012, the group’s assets had swelled to $147,966. According to Sam Schneider, funding for the society comes from member and alumni donations and are used exclusively for charitable purposes.
While Vox can confirm the authenticity of the IRS disclosure form, we cannot, at this time, say whether all the email screenshots are accurate and not tampered with.
Applebaum has told Vox that he is a member of the Stewards but insists that there is absolutely no connection between his campaign and the Stewards.
Asked why he didn’t say he was a Steward before, Appelbaum said that his membership is a private matter and all campaigns aren’t obligated to reveal all personal information: “Because it is a private matter, I chose not to disclose it, but immediately and honestly addressed questions about it when asked as I have always done,” he said.
Appelbaum/Cleary supporters have jumped to the aid of their candidate and say that he has done nothing wrong.
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