Early this morning, an anonymous leak revealed online that GUSA presidential candidate JackAppelbaum (COL ’14) is a member of the Second Society of Stewards. In an interview with The Hoya,Appelbaum confirmed his membership.
Yet despite this news, The Hoya’s editorial board stands by its endorsement of Appelbaum and Maggie Cleary (COL ’14). The revelation does not bear on Appelbaum’s candidacy. He remains a qualified student leader, and his personal affiliation with the Stewards should not tarnish the merit of his and Cleary’s campaign platform, just as it shouldn’t tarnish the campaigns of other candidates who happen to be members of secret societies. We endorsed the Appelbaum-Cleary ticket because their policy goals are reasonable, achievable and will ultimately benefit students at Georgetown.
Although Appelbaum did not disclose his affiliation before the news broke, he was never asked directly to do so prior to the emergence of the information. This was undoubtedly because, barring a conflict of interest, personal affiliations to student groups are not relevant when evaluating the merits of a ticket. And when finally asked last night, he admitted his membership without hesitation. In contrast, Adam Ramadan (SFS ’14) lied to the press when asked about his affiliation with a secret society on campus, only admitting to it in a statement Wednesday after scrutiny on the secret affiliations of Georgetown University Student Association hopefuls had intensified.
In any case, such revelations only serve as distractions from the substantive issues at stake in the election, and it is unfortunate that this news has overshadowed the final states of the campaign.
Appelbaum and Cleary remain the candidates best suited to lead GUSA into the near future. Ultimately, their policy goals — which include funding reform and student rights advocacy — should weigh on the minds of voters much more than Appelbaum’s personal affiliations. Our confidence that Appelbaum and Cleary will best serve the undergraduates on the Hilltop has not wavered.