All but one of the four campaign tickets running in the 2014 Georgetown University Student Association executive election received endorsements from student organizations, although all have received significant support from individuals across campus.
Last year, 15 student groups officially endorsed candidates, overall, compared to this year’s nine. However, 10 of those 15 groups declined to endorse a ticket this year.
Trevor Tezel (SFS ’15) and Omika Jikaria (SFS ’15) received endorsements from Hoyas for Immigrant Rights, Club Boxing, the Secular Student Alliance and the Graduate Student Organization, while Thomas Lloyd (SFS ’15) and Jimmy Ramirez (COL ’15) received endorsements from The Georgetown Voice, GU Pride and Cristo Rey Tutoring. Zach Singer (SFS ’15) and Dan Silkman (COL ’15) have received official support from the College Academic Council. At this moment, no student groups are publically endorsing the ticket of Ben Weiss (COL ’15) and Sam Greco (SFS ’15), although several individual student leaders have supported their campaign.
Hoyas for Immigrant Rights voiced its support for Tezel and Jikaria’s campaign largely due to hopes for greater representation in GUSA and increased institutional support to address the needs of undocumented students, according to treasurer Chris Wager (SFS ’17).
According to Secular Student Alliance President Dennis Mai (COL ’15), Tezel and Jikaria are best equipped to assist student groups in advocatin against administrative bureaucratic policies, like those concerning room reservations. The SSA also identified with the ticket’s emphasis on free speech.
Additionally, the Graduate Student Organization, GUSA’s equivalent body for the Georgetown graduate student population, endorsed Tezel and Omika’s campaign. According to GSO President Samuel Osea, (COL ’12, GRD ’14), Tezel reached out directly to him to discuss how the groups could work better together if he is elected, an action that prompted Osea to make the first ever endorsement of an undergraduate candidate in the group’s history.
“All these candidates have a vision, a mission of what they want to do with GUSA, but Trevor is the only one who reached out to us,” Osea said. “I think that was really proactive of him and really speaks to his character as a leader.”
According to Club Boxing President Adan Gonzalez (COL ’15), Tezel and Jikaria give voice to a range of students.
“Our club has members from 23 countries; we are the most diverse club on campus and proud of it. Trevor and Omika’s multicultural council gives us a voice in the GUSA system that does not exist. They are leading with a plan, not just lip service by saying ‘we support pluralism,’” Gonzalez said.
In addition to groups, Tezel also received the support of Alex Cave (COL ’15), who served as Chair of the GU College Republicans when Tezel served as chair of GU College Democrats.
“I’m supporting Trevor and Omika because there’s nobody I’d trust more to advocate tirelessly on students’ behalf and achieve results,” Cave said.
Tezel expressed appreciation for the variety of groups and individuals that are supporting his campaign.
“We feel that the diversity of groups and individuals that have endorsed our ticket show that we have a platform to address a wide variety of student interests at Georgetown,” Tezel said. “Groups like HFIR and GSO have never endorsed in GUSA elections before, and we’re proud that our inclusive approach to GUSA is reflected in these endorsements.”
Lloyd and Ramirez received endorsements from several student groups, including GU Pride, of which Lloyd is currently president. Additionally, The Georgetown Voice’s editorial board released an editorial Feb. 20 expressing support for the Lloyd and Ramirez ticket, citing their commitment to representing the entire student populace. The Hoya’s editorial board also endorsed the ticket Feb. 25.
GU Pride released its endorsement, written by Trans* Representative Lexi Dever (COL ’16).
“Having directly benefitted from Thomas Lloyd’s leadership and abilities to advocate for our community at Georgetown, we see how passionate he is about serving marginalized communities and how effective he is at communication solutions,” the statement read.
Cristo Rey Tutoring highlighted the ticket’s attention to service and community outreach, as well as their desire to expand the Community-Based Learning program.
Lloyd noted that the groups who have voiced their support for his ticket embody the priorities he is seeking to emphasize as a campus leader.
“So far, these endorsements point to our bona fides on change making, diversity, advocacy and social justice priorities,” Lloyd said.
Singer and Silkman received the official endorsement of the College Academic Council, of which Silkman currently serves as Treasurer. According to CAC President Kamil Lupicki (COL ’14), Silkman’s work as a member of the organization prompted their endorsement of his campaign for GUSA executive.
“Through his role as treasurer and three years on the College Academic Council, Dan Silkman has shown his dedication to the Georgetown student body,” Lupicki said.“This is seen through his work with administrators to voice student concern regarding on-campus printing options and efforts to create a dialogue between the College Academic Council and the GUSA branch of academic affairs, among other initiatives.”
Singer believes the CAC endorsement brings credibility for academic changes and influence to the ticket.
“One big issue that comes up, especially recently, is that the provost’s decisions obviously have to do with academics, so the fact that the College Academic Council, the largest college of the four, endorsed us, shows that our vision … is something they agreed would be effective,” Singer said.
Individual supporters of Singer and Silkman are confident in the diverse student experience the ticket brings to GUSA.
“I think they represent exactly what GUSA needs right now, a great combination of student groups and GUSA experience. Dan has been involved in every club I think I’ve ever joined at Georgetown, from New South residence hall council, to Relay and [New Student Orientation] to Blue and Gray,” Mara Kelley (COL ’15) said.“He really understands student groups and understands their needs, and I think Zach has the GUSA experience that is also so necessary. I think together they have a great connection with the campus and the students and also have a great idea about the future and aren’t afraid to vocalize it.”
While the Weiss and Greco campaign does not have the official support of any student groups on campus, the campaign released a statement emphasizing their desire to appeal to individual voters rather than larger organizations.
“The Ben and Sam campaign has not actively sought the endorsement of student organizations, preferring to connect with voters on an individual level, rather than assume that common membership in a particular group means votes from group members will be the same,” the statement said. “We are, however, proud to have the support of student leaders from diverse groups across campus.”
Individuals who support Weiss and Greco include club golf vice captain and Georgetown Speechwriting Advisory Group President Will Simons (COL ’16).
“I’m supporting Ben and Sam because I believe that not only are they the most qualified candidates, I believe they have the best platform and the best approach to solving Georgetown’s problems,” Simons said. “I really do believe that Ben and Sam’s vision for Georgetown and where they want to take GUSA will be the most beneficial to students and will help students, as our social media campaign has said, achieve theirs.”
GUSA Senator and Vice Chair of the Committee on Intellectual Life Ken Nunnenkamp (MSB ’16) expressed similar sentiments, and particularly commended Weiss and Greco for their realistic ambitions.
“When I looked at the platforms this year, I was surprised by how much I really felt myself caring about it, I was like ‘this is something that is really effective, this is change that could really happen,’” Nunnenkamp said. “Ben and Sam are not guys who have their heads in the clouds, they’re guys who want to see real change.”
Former vice presidential candidate and former College Republicans Chair Maggie Cleary (COL ’14) also expressed her support for the ticket.
“As someone who is one of the only two-year veterans of the GUSA executive elections, I’d like to offer my endorsement for Ben and Sam. I’ve known Sam Greco since his freshmen year, and I have worked with him extensively during the past three GUSA campaigns,” Cleary said. “I have never met anyone on the Hilltop as effective as Greco. He is determined, hard-working, and knows the issues. I recently got to know Ben, and I’ve been very impressed with him.”