Nile Blass (COL ’22) and Nicole Sanchez (SFS ’22) were elected as the Georgetown University Student Association president and vice president, marking the first time a Black woman will serve as GUSA president.
The pair’s win also marks the first time that all three top GUSA leadership positions have been held by women of color, including the GUSA Senate speaker position, which is currently held by Melanie Cruz-Morales (COL ’22). Blass and Nicole Sanchez received 57% of votes, edging out candidates Daniella Sanchez (COL ’22) and Leo Arnett (SFS ’22). With 1,598 votes total cast in the election, the student turnout was about 30%, according to the GUSA Election Commission.
Blass and Nicole Sanchez plan to immediately pursue their campaign policies by working with and advocating for all communities on campus, according to an Instagram post.
“We are incredibly honored to represent you as your GUSA executives in the coming year,” reads the post. “One of our primary goals continues to be that you have a voice and the opportunity to be heard under this administration.”
Blass and Nicole Sanchez centered their campaign around equitable and transparent COVID-19 protocols, support for student communities of all identities and a GUSA restructuring plan.
Both Blass and Nicole Sanchez have experience in GUSA; Blass currently serves as provost of the Student Advisory Committee in the GUSA Executive. Nicole Sanchez is a GUSA senator for the at-large class, senior policy adviser to executive staff and a member of the student activism team.
The GUSA Senate is looking forward to working with the Blass and Sanchez administration to accomplish the administration’s goals, according to Cruz-Morales.
“I am so incredibly proud and excited to be working with Nile Blass and Nicole Sanchez,” Cruz-Morales wrote in an email to The Hoya. “I am extremely excited to create a relationship that has never before been seen between the Senate and the Executive. For the first time in Georgetown history, GUSA will be led by a Black woman, a Latina, and an Indigenous woman, and I have the most confidence that together, we will do an amazing job.”
The Blass-Sanchez and Sanchez-Arnett tickets were the only candidates on the ballot after candidates Olivia Kleier (SFS ’22) and Jon Pejo (COL ’22) suspended their campaign Feb. 15 following allegations of plagiarism, which they denied.
Despite their loss, Daniella Sanchez and Arnett intend on remaining involved on campus in other student organizations, and they are excited to see the change that Blass and Nicole Sanchez bring to GUSA, according to Daniella Sanchez.
“We both will continue to work towards our mutual goal of building community and finding advocacy spaces in our own unique ways,” Daniella Sanchez wrote in an email to The Hoya. “Ultimately, we are proud of the efforts from both campaigns and look forward to a progressive year.”
The outgoing executive, President Nicolo Ferretti (SFS ’21), Vice President Bryce Badger (MSB ’21), congratulated the candidates on bringing important conversations to this year’s executive election cycle, according to GUSA Press Secretary Jacob Bernard (SFS ’23).
“The Ferretti and Badger administration would like to extend a message of congratulations to Nile and Nicole on winning the 2021 GUSA Spring Executive Elections,” Bernard wrote in an email to The Hoya. “The Ferretti and Badger administration would also like to extend a message of thanks to Daniella and Leo for a well fought campaign. The ultimate goal of Executive Elections is to bring crucial issues to the forefront of conversations and it is safe to say that both campaigns did so.”
Unlike previous GUSA executive elections, the 2021 election was completely virtual. Candidates were not allowed to participate in door-knocking or host in-person gatherings because of safety concerns related to COVID-19. Candidates were able to post flyers on campus, however. This year’s candidates chose to focus their campaigning on social media platforms such as Instagram and Twitter, and both tickets launched their own websites to outline their policies.
The incoming administration is ready to advocate for the Georgetown student body, according to Blass and Nicole Sanchez.
“Our administration must not only be historic in representation, but in action,” Blass and Nicole Sanchez wrote in a statement sent to The Hoya. “We are fully committed to ensuring that our campaign promises do not stay promises, and that all communities at Georgetown are recognized in our work.”
This article was updated March 1 to include a statement from the Sanchez-Arnett campaign. The campaign did not respond to comment before the article was initially posted.