“In a perfect world, we wouldn’t have to go through those two weeks again.” Those were the words of incumbent Georgetown University Student Association Vice President Jason Kluger, who spoke of the campaign process in an interview with The Georgetown Voice blog Vox Populi.

Unfortunately for Kluger and his running mate, Calen Angert, something called democracy stands in the way of their “perfect world.” Determined to hold on to power at all costs, Angert and Kluger have shown that they will not let ideals stand in the way of their pursuit of a second term.

On Jan. 29 – only three days before the first informational meeting for the GUSA presidential election – Angert and Kluger stood in Red Square and handed out free pizza and treats from Georgetown Cupcake to encourage passers-by to fill out a student survey. In the past, GUSA has done student surveys primarily through e-mail and other online means, so the event should have immediately raised red flags. Even more suspiciously, the two incumbents used GUSA funds to purchase the food for what could be seen as a de facto campaign kickoff, in what some are now calling “Cupcake-gate.” Of course, campaigning at that point was explicitly prohibited. If Angert and Kluger only cared about learning students’ concerns, surely they could have gotten other people to distribute the food and collect the surveys in order to avoid any conflict-of-interest questions. Failing that, they could have defaulted to the standard GUSA practice of soliciting information online.

Two days later, on Jan. 31, Mr. Angert and Mr. Kluger announced to the GUSA senate that they were running for a second term. Such an announcement in itself was highly unusual since the official start date for campaigning was still a full nine days away. In an interview with The Hoya (“Angert, Kluger Announce Campaign for Second Term,” Jan. 31, www.thehoya.com), Angert said, “We hope that students think that we’ve done a good job in representing them in this past year, and if they think we’ve done a solid job and delivered on a lot of results that they’ll vote for us in this next election for a continued second term.” If that isn’t campaigning, then I don’t know what is. Angert and Kluger seem unwilling to play by the rules that everyone else has to follow. If I could file a complaint with the Election Commission, I would; unfortunately, that right is reserved to candidates running against this incumbent ticket.

Sadly, the behavior demonstrated by Angert and Kluger has not been confined to the last week and a half, but has occurred throughout their entire term in office. Their signature proposals, including the creation of the GUSA Fund and their support of funding reform legislation pending a Monday vote by the senate, would radically increase GUSA’s power over student funds. Who stands to benefit from such an increase in GUSA’s power more than the leaders of GUSA themselves? Interestingly, the timing of the vote on funding reform is just in time for campaign season. Furthermore, voters should not consider it coincidental that Angert and Kluger’s other main objectives – the revival of the Collegiate Readership Program and the student SafeRides driver program – are also only taking effect this week.

GUSA deservedly takes a lot of heat for its repeated ineptitude, but it can play a constructive role if it serves as a voice for students’ concerns. That cannot happen, however, if its leaders are overly consumed with obtaining and holding on to their power. Hopefully voters will come to realize this over the two weeks Angert and Kluger apparently find so undesirable.
Tom Marty is a junior in the School of Foreign Service and a former GUSA senator.

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