Nate Tisa (SFS ’14) and Adam Ramadan (SFS ’14) were elected president and vice president of the GUSA executive yesterday, finishing just 92 votes ahead in the final round of runoff voting despite trailing in the initial stages.
“We are beyond thrilled to serve the student body and make Georgetown a better place,” said Tisa, who ran as a presidential candidate in the 2012 Georgetown University Student Association executive election and currently serves as speaker of the GUSA senate. “It shows the faith a lot of people have in us that we have the capability of actually accomplishing what students wanted.”
Tisa and Ramadan trailed Jack Appelbaum (COL ’14) and Maggie Cleary (COL ’14) 1,210 to 1,187 in the first round of counting, but overtook first place in the fourth round and achieved a majority after alternate choices from the other candidates’ votes were distributed.
A total of 3,733 ballots were cast in the election, surpassing last year’s total 3,697 ballots and marking a record high turnout rate for any GUSA vote.
The results of the election, which were released round by round on Twitter by the GUSA Election Commission between 12:42 and 12:51 a.m. Friday, mirrored a poll that The Hoya conducted last Tuesday, in which Tisa and Ramadan tied with Appelbaum and Cleary, both tickets scoring 20.5 percent of likely voters among the 793 students polled.
Tisa and Ramadan, whose platform advocates for expanding free-speech zones, combating sexual assault on campus and establishing gender-neutral housing, received endorsement from H*yas for Choice, GU Pride, The Voice and Hoya Blue.
“We are going to get started on our platform tomorrow morning as soon as we wake up. Students have shown that they know we care about diversity, care about free speech and sexual assault, and we will push through our platforms for the entire next 12 months,” Tisa said.
Appelbaum and Cleary maintained a lead of 19 through the third round of voting.
Shavonnia Corbin Johnson (SFS ’14) and Joe Vandegriff (COL ’14) received 758 first-round votes, while their supporters’ alternate votes played a deciding role in the election.
Corbin Johnson and Vandegriff had endorsed Appelbaum and Cleary as a second choice for their supporters, but retracted this endorsement after news of Appelbaum’s membership in the Second Society of Stewards broke early Wednesday morning.
After the results were announced, Vandegriff said platform similarities between his ticket and Tisa’s influenced his supporters.
“[Tisa and Ramadan] support making campus a more progressive place, which is near and dear to my heart. I really hope they stay true to that,” Vandegriff said. “That may be a reason why people supported them. There’s a lot of the same focus.”
Appelbaum said he did not come to any conclusions about the election’s results during the first or second round of voting.
“I had no clue what to expect. I was not in any place thinking we had it in any of those first rounds. I knew it would come down to where Shavonnia and Joe’s votes were redistributed,” Appelbaum said.
Appelbaum said he did not believe news of his membership in the Stewards greatly affected the outcome of the election.
“It came at an unfortunate time,” Appelbaum said. “But I’m prepared to answer for it at any time. I’m not ashamed of it and I’m proud of how we stood up for it.”
Ramadan also admitted to membership in a secret society unaffiliated with the Second Society of Stewards Wednesday night after initially denying affiliation with a secret society Tuesday. Ramadan also said he did not believe his membership or initial denial affected the election.
“At the end of the day, people know that Nate and I care about this place, and that’s what matters and that we want to make Georgetown a better place, whether it be through organizations that nobody talks about or organizations that everybody knows about,” Ramadan said.
Current GUSA President Clara Gustafson (SFS ’13) and Vice President Vail Kohnert-Yount (SFS ’13), who had endorsed Appelbaum and Cleary in this race, showed up at Tisa and Ramadan’s campaign party to congratulate the duo.
“I think it was a very long, very well fought campaign. I think Nate and Adam will do a great job and they will be able to recruit a lot of different people to be involved in GUSA that haven’t been before, which I think is very exciting,” Gustafson said.
Corbin Johnson and Vandegriff wished Tisa and Ramadan well in office. Vandegriff said he believed Tisa benefitted in this race from having already experienced a GUSA campaign cycle, as did Cleary, who ran as a vice presidential candidate in 2012.
Spencer Walsh (MSB ’14) and Rob Silverstein (SFS ’14), the only ticket without GUSA experience, finished in fourth place with 366 first-place votes.
“Given our cross endorsement with Nate and Adam, we are especially excited to see a candidate who shares our values chosen to lead GUSA,” Walsh wrote in a statement. “Rob and I hope to work with Nate and Adam on the many issues where we agreed during the campaign.”
Cannon Warren (SFS’14) and Andrew Logerfo (COL’14) finished with 175 votes in the first round of voting.
“I just feel like my main constituency didn’t come out. “I’m still going to work toward advocating toward students. … Tyrannical dictator Nate Tisa won’t stop me,” said Warren, who has gained a reputation for humorous statements during the campaign.
Tisa will be the first openly gay president of the Georgetown University Student Association and the second at a major Jesuit university. The first was elected to the University of San Francisco in 2003.
“As the first gay president at this university, I am going to Catholic [University], going to American [University], I’m going to tell them, this is the 21st century and they have absolutely no reason to deny the fact there are gay students here who deserve representation and deserve a voice in student government,” Tisa said.
Tisa and Ramadan will be sworn in to their new roles March 16.