Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

GUSA Presidential Candidates Emphasize Need for Inclusive Student Advocacy

The Georgetown University Student Association presidential candidates discussed their plans to eliminate exclusivity and hierarchy in GUSA during the executive presidential debate.

On Feb. 22, candidates Daniella Sanchez (COL ’22) and Nile Blass (COL ’22) proposed plans to restructure GUSA, include student voices and continue advocacy for community-focused inclusivity. The GUSA Election Commission hosted and moderated the debate, devoting a portion of the event to audience questions. 

Sanchez, who is running alongside Leo Arnett (SFS ’22), was formerly speaker of the GUSA Senate and currently serves as co-director for student inclusion, director of COVID-19 response and a senate liaison for the executive staff’s engagement team. Blass, who is running alongside Nicole Sanchez (SFS ’22), currently serves as provost of the Student Advisory Committee under the executive administration.  

KASSIDY ANGELO/THE HOYA | Candidates Daniella Sanchez (COL ’22) and Nile Blass (COL ’22) discussed their platforms in a Feb. 22 debate.

Both tickets are proposing restructuring GUSA to combat alleged elitism and exclusivity in the organization.

If elected, Blass and Sanchez plan to continue the current restructuring plan proposed in the GUSA Senate, including the elimination of Robert’s Rules of Order, a set of governing guidelines similar to parliamentary procedure, and other positions and titles that Blass and Sanchez believe creates too much of a hierarchy. 

The ticket hopes to create a new government body built upon student input by holding meetings with students who are not in GUSA to establish an inclusive restructuring plan, according to Blass. 

Blass and Sanchez’s administration plans to transform GUSA from an organization that promotes individual agendas to a student collective for advocacy composed of student leaders who are passionate about creating fundamental change, according to Blass.

“The titles, the clout, the resume-building, the exclusivity of projects and movements — all of this hinders real work to exist and to be done,” Blass said during the debate. “You need to remove existing barriers that deter advocacy. You need to ensure that the entire GUSA is elected, and it’s official and it has appointees, but they need to be a collective. They need to be buy-in. It needs to not just be you know someone who knows someone who can get you a position on a policy team.” 

Sanchez and Arnett’s administration is proposing a four-step restructuring process that starts with gathering student input on GUSA. If elected, the ticket plans to create a restructuring committee to organize and host restructuring conventions, forums set up for the student body to share its input on GUSA. These meetings will ensure the student body can actively participate and voice its concerns, according to Daniella Sanchez.  

“We want the students to be involved in the planning process. And we want them to be transparent, communicative of what we’re thinking, what direction we’re going in, what’s happening with that, and so the restructuring committee that we’re proposing would host these to do just that,” Daniella Sanchez said during the debate. “To do what we expect the administration to do, we’re also going to be doing it.”

Sanchez and Arnett’s restructuring process also includes disbanding the GUSA Senate, creating a new funding process for the Council of Advisory Boards and drafting a new governing document, according to the ticket’s campaign website.

Regardless of the election’s results, both candidates are hopeful for GUSA’s future.

This year’s election marks, to Sanchez’s knowledge, one of the first times two women of color have run for GUSA president, a stride for diverse representation in GUSA leadership.

“I just also want to acknowledge that I am pretty sure that this is one of the first times ever that two women of color are leading both candidacies as the president,” Daniella Sanchez said. “No matter who wins, the student body is going in a really great direction, and so is GUSA.” 

Polls will be open Feb. 25 at 10 p.m. EST and will close Feb. 27 at 11:59 p.m. EST. 

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About the Contributor
Caitlin McLean
Caitlin McLean, Chair of the Board
Caitlin McLean is a senior in the College of Arts & Sciences from New York, N.Y., studying government and history with a minor in journalism. She does not know how to drive. [email protected]

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