Enushe Khan (MSB ’17) and Chris Fisk’s (COL ’17) Georgetown University Student Association executive campaign slogan, “Breaking Barriers, Building Bridges,” focuses on the campaign’s goals of creating a more inclusive GUSA, a vision that runs throughout its platform, which also addresses the importance of expanding mental health programs, dining options and efforts against sexual assault.
Khan said in The Hoya’s profile of their candidacy that the slogan focuses on opening GUSA up to underrepresented student groups and empowering them, something GUSA’s current structure has been ineffective at doing.
“What that means is that you have multiple students here on campus who care but have no means to get involved or to voice their concerns or to feel empowered,” Khan said. “They’re just sort of left out in the dark and they have nothing that they can do about it, and on top of that they don’t know what’s actually happening because they don’t see GUSA as a resource.”
The Khan-Fisk platform addresses 23 issues, from academics to workers’ rights.
Khan said she had three early priorities in the platform: to address campus dining, the D.C. policing bill and the campus plan. Khan emphasized that the new dining contract has to be approached with student input, given food’s importance in student’s lives.
“Food is very important for me and also to pretty much everyone here on this campus; you know food has such an impact on us, especially as students with the schedules that we have, in terms of our mental health, the effects that it has, the implications. There is a lot to be said just on our dining program alone and that’s a pressing issue right now,” Khan said.
The ticket hopes to make dining plans more accessible, for example, by increasing off-campus dining options using flex dollars and student discounts and expanding the number of locations that accept meal swipes, according to the Khan-Fisk campaign website.
Khan also said the D.C. policing bill — which would allow the Georgetown University Police Department to patrol off campus — needs to be amended to restrict campus police to only patrolling on campus.
“The portion relating to campus police officers needs to be amended because that would be a detriment to this sort of social life and the privacy of students who are living here off campus,” Khan said. “That would give GUPD just way too much access.”
The pair also promised to prioritize the 2017 Campus Plan, which is set to be signed in May or over the summer, if elected. Khan said she would advocate to not sign a campus plan over the summer period.
“My big thing is that the campus plan, cannot and should not be signed when there are no students here on this campus. So, it cannot and should not be signed over the summer,” Khan said.
GUSA Secretary of Campus Planning Ari Goldstein (COL ’18), a co-director of policy for the Khan-Fisk ticket, said approaching master planning with a team will make the process more inclusive.
“Because you have a small number of students who are working hands-on with administrators, then you reach out to the student body when it’s necessary, but that is not as inclusive as possible,” Goldstein said. “So the idea we have is to bring together a large group of students on a master planning team, as one of the many teams on the administration and to train and engage a large group of students to be master planning advocates.”
According to Khan, master planning will be the most challenging project for her potential administration to address, and it is essential that GUSA work with the administration and neighbors to accomplish their goals.
“I think it is important that the future GUSA president and vice president also build a very strong relationship and network with the neighbors that we have here, because again this campus plan affects more than just our campus because the neighbors are key stakeholders,” Khan said.
Fisk said his and Khan’s early priorities also revolve around socio-economic issues.
The official Khan-Fisk platform lists 19 policies to address socio-economic inclusivity on campus, which include GUSA’s advocating for the inclusion of expenses like laundry and printing in tuition so that it is counted toward financial aid as well as support for internship transportation costs.
Sexual assault is a substantial component of the Khan-Fisk platform, with 23 policies addressing the issue. Khan said the Memorandum of Understanding between GUSA and the university that was signed in September must be revisited and completed.
“One big thing with sexual assault is that MOU, so one important thing there is not all elements that have been pushed for have been signed. So a big thing is, ‘let’s get the rest of that signed,’” Khan said.
According to Khan, there is also potential for increasing sexual assault education efforts on campus through the “What’s a Hoya?” program.
Khan and Fisk also emphasized the importance of following through on the Sexual Misconduct Campus Climate Survey and called for the implementation of the Project Callisto system, an online sexual assault reporting system developed by survivors for college students, and mandatory bystander intervention training for all Georgetown students.
GUSA Secretary of Sexual Assault Policy Sarah Rabon (COL ’16) said while the platform offers strong support for current initiatives, she would have liked to see more new ideas included.
“Overall, it’s kind of a lot of things that are already ongoing that are important that I very much hope to see work continuing to happen around after I leave. So that’s definitely a positive,” Rabon said. “And maybe the not so positive: I would have liked to see more original ideas, more new ideas, moving beyond what was already agreed upon with the university, with the memorandum of understanding in the fall semester.”
Rabon also called the sexual assault platform vague, which could prevent it from fully achieving success.
“What I would have been more happy to see is a lot of things are very vague in terms of things like ‘pressure the university to do this and that,’ and if I’ve learned one thing about working with the administration and doing policy work at Georgetown is you need to have very specific metrics and specific goals for policy agendas or they kind of go nowhere,” Rabon said.
Khan said it is important for the platform to be realistic, and that GUSA lending its support to initiatives can be powerful.
“One thing we don’t want to do is sit down here and overpromise everything,” Khan said. “Sometimes it is important when you have an administration that takes a stance on something or GUSA actually takes a stance or position on things, that can be more powerful than we sometimes think. It is important that we make clear that we would lend support to specific areas.”
Khan and Fisk said mental health is another priority for their administration. Khan said repurposing the Mental Health Advisory Board is essential.
“With mental health, the big thing is you have the Mental Health Advisory Board, but students we’ve been sitting down with who are on that advisory board have expressed that there has been a lot of talk but not a lot of doing and execution, and they would like to see that advisory board be repurposed,” Khan said.
In addition, Khan said it is important to work with students to figure out how best to use the 80,000 dollars allocated to hiring a new Counseling and Psychiatric Services employee.
Fisk also stressed the importance of working to address the stigma on campus surrounding mental illness.
“Working with groups on campus who work with mental health issues and talk about how GUSA can help too diminishes the stigma on campus about the issue and also to be sure that someone’s financial status is not a barrier to seeking the help that they may need,” Fisk said.
Fisk said GUSA’s restructuring — where the senate and executive will work on policy together in teams — will help achieve the administration’s policy goals if they are elected.
“Those things are impossible for two people to take care of by ourselves and that’s why we had the collaboration — we have per-issue areas to talk about how we can work together with the experts in a lot of these issue areas because Enushe and I simply cannot be experts in everything … It is really important to keep the structure in mind,” Fisk said.