Four potential tickets have emerged in the upcoming race for the Georgetown University Student Association executive election.
Election day is set for Feb. 22, with this year’s official campaign period beginning Feb. 8. Candidates are not permitted to campaign until this date. Tickets are required to attend one of two information sessions hosted by the GUSA Election Commission, held on Tuesday and Thursday this week, or to collect 100 student signatures by Feb. 10 to participate in the election.
Based on information session attendance, the four expected tickets are: Josh Sirois (SFS ’20) and Casey Doherty (COL ’20); Sahil Nair (SFS ’19) and Naba Rahman (SFS ’19); Hunter Estes (SFS ’19) and Richard Howell (SFS ’19); and Logan Arkema (COL ’20) and Jonathan Compo (NHS ’20).
Sirois has served in the GUSA senate including on the Finance and Appropriations committee, while Doherty led GUSA’s Dreamers advocacy efforts on the Federal & D.C. Relations committee and is the coordinator for Georgetown Opportunities for Leadership Development.
Nair is director of external outreach at Innovo Consulting, a group that connects social entrepreneurs and nonprofit organizations to Georgetown students. Rahman led Model United Nation’s National Collegiate Security Conference last semester and has been involved with Georgetown University Social Innovation and Public Service Fund, a $1.5 million student-run fund that allocates grant money to student and alumni social ventures.
Estes, who served on FinApp during his sophomore year, previously directed membership for Georgetown University College Republicans in 2016. Estes also served as the head of the Georgetown chapter of the Knights of Columbus, the world’s largest Catholic service fraternal organization, last semester. Howell is also a member of the Knights of Columbus and serves on the Lecture Fund’s associate board.
Arkema is the Georgetown University College Democrats’ membership director and a GUSA senator for West Campus, which includes Southwest Quad. Arkema campaigned for his senate seat on a promise to conduct all GUSA business in the character and voice of the cartoon hero Batman. Compo, a former cartoonist for The Hoya, is currently Mask and Bauble Dramatic Society’s technical director for its “Footloose” musical production this spring.
Mack offered advice on the upcoming election period to the prospective candidates at Thursday’s information session.
“Through this campaigning process, you’re going to talk to hundreds and hundreds of students, and you’re going to find out what people care about on campus,” Mack said. “It’s going to be a grueling process.”
On election day, students can vote on Hoyalink or in person at polling booths in Red Square or the Leavey Center operated by the GUSA Election Commission.
A potential cause for contention during the campaign emerged at the info sessions: All three seats on the GUSA Constitutional Council, the student association’s judicial body that adjudicates disputes over GUSA bylaws, are vacant. The three former justices resigned this semester.
By GUSA bylaws, the Constitutional Council adjudicates any decisions made by the Election Commission regarding violations of election and campaign rules. The most recent case before the Constitutional Council in December 2016 involved a dispute over the results of a referendum on senate restructuring. The results of the 2016 referendum were ultimately invalidated by the council in January 2017.
The February ballot will also include a referendum, approved by the GUSA senate Jan. 21, that would reform the senate’s current geographically organized structure into elections by class year and move elections for nonfreshman senators to April from the fall.
Applications for new constitutional council justices are due Friday evening. Mack and Andino said they hope to nominate new justices before the election. Nominees must be approved by the GUSA senate.
According to FinApp Committee Chair Christopher Holshouser (MSB ’18), if the council is not functional by the start of campaigning, the senate would hold a vote to resolve any election disputes.
GUSA Election Commissioner Grady Willard (SFS ’18) also informed candidates of a new electoral rule that prohibits them from contracting any external businesses for campaign support.
Willard especially warned against promotional events at bars and other off-campus sites. The new rule responds to an incident in last year’s executive race, when candidates John Matthews (COL ’18) and Nick Matz (COL ’18) allegedly held a promotional event at a bar on M Street.
Bouncers allegedly coerced students to submit ballots to gain access to alcoholic drinks, according to Willard.
Last year’s GUSA executive race was among the tightest in recent electoral history, with Mack and Andino receiving 50.74 percent of the vote — a 34-vote margin — after four voting rounds.
As with previous years, campaigns are allowed to “dorm storm” and knock on doors only outside of quiet hours, except for on election day when tickets can campaign all day.
The debates for vice presidential and presidential candidates will be held in Intercultural Center Room 115 on Feb. 14 and in the Healey Family Student Center’s Great Room on Feb. 19.
Tickets are required to fill out a form to declare their candidacy and must declare all “significant” campaign staff. Tickets cannot spend more than $300 on a campaign, and receipts must be submitted by midnight on election day.
All candidates must also abide by Office of Residential Living policies and the Code of Student Conduct.
Formal complaints alleging campaign violations against campaigns can be submitted to the Election Commission. Complaints can only be filed by candidates and university officials, not campaign staff or students.