This campaign season, students should look to Georgetown University Student Association candidates to propose enactable policies.
After just one ticket — Nicolo Ferretti (SFS ’21) and Bryce Badger (MSB ’21) — announced their candidacy Jan. 22, three additional tickets petitioned to join the race. One of these petitions, with candidates Joshua Marin-Mora (SFS ’21) and Isbel Deleon (COL ’21), offers students the best platform in this executive election.
All four tickets have promised to address prominent campus issues such as facilities, accessibility and sexual assault. However, simply recognizing these issues is not enough; students need candidates who are prepared to implement specific policies. Marin-Mora and Deleon move beyond cliche calls to action and offer tangible policy solutions with a central focus on student input. Marin-Mora’s and Deleon’s strong understanding of GUSA — likely due to Marin-Mora’s experience as a GUSA senator — underpins a substantive platform with creative, realistic solutions, making them the best choice for students in this election.
Policies from Marin-Mora and Deleon address broad problems in practical, incremental ways. Proposals to improve accessibility range from better publicizing a map of accessible campus routes to pushing Georgetown University to hire a full-time employee focused on making campus compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Moreover, the pair’s comprehensive and preventative approach to sexual assault at Georgetown stood out from other candidates’ policies. The ticket has proposed ideas, such as working with the Student Activities Commission to reform club funding as an incentive for increased bystander training among club leadership, that demonstrate a clear understanding of the GUSA Executive’s capacity while still bringing new ideas to the table. While other tickets also offer ways to improve bystander training, the clear suggestion of SAC enforcement adds a pragmatic element other candidates lack.
Ideas to address affordability, facilities and mental health are similarly specific and wide ranging, ensuring Marin-Mora and Deleon can make a realistic impact on a smaller, day-to-day level while still pressuring the administration to make major changes.
When creating policies like their suggestion to join the Open Textbook Network that American University uses to improve textbook affordability, Marin-Mora and Deleon looked to peer institutions to see what can feasibly be implemented at Georgetown. Such research makes their proposals impressively detailed and demonstrates a commitment to bringing fresh ideas to Georgetown’s campus without feeling a need to reinvent the wheel for every GUSA project.
Where other tickets offer just a few policies for each major issue, Marin-Mora and Deleon have extensive, well-researched lists.
The clarity and depth of Marin-Mora and Deleon’s policies push their platform above that of Ferretti and Badger, the only other ticket to demonstrate a full understanding of what they can realistically accomplish through the GUSA Executive office.
The Ferretti-Badger ticket is strengthened by the candidates’ GUSA experience. Ferretti worked in the GUSA Senate until he resigned to become the executive branch’s director of university affairs in spring 2018. Badger is currently the Francis-Olvera administration’s chief of staff and works on the board of SaxaFund, and he previously served as student engagement director for the Nair-Rahman administration.
Experience with GUSA has given Ferretti and Badger a clear idea of what the executives can accomplish. They know the exact limitations of the GUSA executives’ power, and they are prepared to work within these roles to push policies that can actually be enacted. Since both of the candidates have extensive knowledge of GUSA’s current initiatives, a Ferretti-Badger executive would also help ensure current projects are not lost in transition.
Extensive experience with GUSA, however, has also made Ferretti and Badger’s platform too cautious. The pair has some solid proposals, such as Badger’s idea to allow students to stay on campus over winter break if a trip home is unsafe or unaffordable. To reduce rates of sexual assault and misconduct on campus, Ferretti and Badger also propose a peer group for masculine-identifying students to discuss healthy masculinity with representation from all men’s sports teams, according to the candidates’ website. This ticket is the only one to propose new policies that would specifically address the role of masculinity in sexual misconduct.
Despite the pair’s few practical ideas, the ticket relies heavily on current GUSA initiatives and fails to provide as many new ideas as Marin-Mora and Deleon offer. Ferretti and Badger repeatedly emphasized campus accessibility as a priority, but to The Hoya they presented few solutions beyond GUSA’s current support for the HoyaLift initiative, which would establish an accessible shuttle route on campus.
GUSA candidates have been using buzzwords for too long; in this election, students need tangible solutions to actually address some of Georgetown’s long-term problems. The Ferretti-Badger ticket would be a valuable second choice for voters, with well-informed intentions to enact good policy. But compared to Marin-Mora and Deleon’s in-depth policy proposals, Ferretti and Badger’s ideas seem disappointingly limited.
Julio Salmeron-Perla (SFS ’22) and Gabby Elliott Brault’s (SFS ’21) platform pales in comparison to that of Ferretti and Badger, and even more so to that of Marin-Mora and Deleon. While Ferretti and Badger offer well-informed but limited policies, Salmeron-Perla and Elliot Brault’s platform raises more questions than answers.
Proposals from Salmeron-Perla and Elliot Brault are unclear and at times problematic. The pair’s policy on addressing campus sexual assault and misconduct is particularly concerning. Noting that Georgetown’s Office of Title IX Compliance has been failing students, the candidates proposed that survivors of sexual assault go through GUSA to find support. Elliot Brault said that if she is elected vice president, she will walk with survivors to the Office of Title IX Compliance. This policy somehow expects untrained GUSA executives to address sexual assault in a professional capacity, and it is dangerous for Elliot Brault to encourage survivors seeking Title IX services to approach untrained students rather than a federally regulated office.
Moreover, this policy is especially misguided given the 2018 resignation of GUSA President Sahil Nair (SFS ’19) amid assault allegations. Survivors have good reason not to trust GUSA with this issue, and it was careless of Salmeron-Perla and Elliot Brault to propose such a policy.
Salmeron-Perla and Elliot Brault’s lack of substantive policy is troubling given their experience with GUSA. Salmeron-Perla has served in the senate and Elliot Brault in the executive branch as Socioeconomic Advocacy Policy chair.
Compared to Salmeron-Perla and Elliot Brault, Arisaid Gonzalez Porras (COL ’21) and Anahi Figueroa-Flores (COL ’21) offered more feasible policies and demonstrated an admirable passion for representing the underrepresented.
Gonzalez Porras and Figueroa-Flores’ background as organizers makes them clearly open and receptive to student ideas. The pair brings up issues no other ticket has mentioned, such as menstrual equity, indicating a commitment to issues outside of the select few GUSA candidates typically focus on. The pair’s activist mindset and knowledge of a broader set of issues would be a valuable addition to GUSA’s advocacy efforts.
Though Gonzalez Porras and Figueroa-Flores bring up important topics and dedicate attention to underrepresented communities, they repeatedly stated they did not know about GUSA’s processes or the responsibilities of president and vice president. Since effective GUSA policies must navigate around specific bureaucratic guidelines, successful candidates need to craft policies that are feasible within the scope of their roles. Thus, Gonzalez Porras and Figueroa-Flores’ lack of knowledge about the GUSA executive role makes their ideas less feasible than those of Marin-Mora and Deleon.
The Gonzalez Porras and Figueroa-Flores ticket is undoubtedly a positive addition to the race. Gonzalez Porras and Figueroa-Flores are both undocumented students and serve as president and vice president of Hoyas for Immigrant Rights. Throughout their campaign, they have emphasized the importance of undocumented student representation in student government. The pair has also demonstrated a commitment to specifically addressing the experiences of marginalized communities at Georgetown, an important and admirable commitment at a university that often overlooks these groups.
If Gonzalez Porras and Figueroa-Flores are not elected, the next executive administration should absolutely work with the pair in some official capacity. This ticket’s ideas would critically improve the scope and efficacy of GUSA’s advocacy projects.
All tickets emphasize a desire to work with student organizations through the GUSA executive to facilitate advocacy projects. While such collaborations are valuable, GUSA executives also need to have distinct, substantive ideas. In this race, Marin-Mora and Deleon’s platform is by far the most detailed and feasible.
If students want to see effective policies enacted, they should vote for Marin-Mora and Deleon on Feb. 6.
The Hoya’s editorial board is composed of six students and chaired by the opinion editor. Editorials reflect only the beliefs of a majority of the board and are not representative of The Hoya or any individual member of the board.