Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Davis/Arsenault Elected GUSA Executives

Voter Turnout Down in Write-In Victory

By Tim Sullivan Hoya Staff Writer

Write-in candidates Tawan Davis (COL ’01) and Jacques Arsenault (COL ’01) were elected GUSA president and vice president, narrowly defeating their closest challengers, Ryan Erlich (SFS ’01) and Keavney Klein (NUR ’02) by 47 votes in the student association’s executive election yesterday.

Davis and Arsenault won the election with 567 votes, giving them less than 31 percent of the total votes and slightly more than 9 percent of the overall student body population.

Erlich and Klein registered 520 votes, while Jamal Epps (COL ’01) and Jeff Burns (COL ’01)) received 408 votes. Write-in candidates Mike Cerminaro (COL ’01) and Mike Tomon (COL ’01) came in fourth with 125 votes, Hector Lopez (SFS ’02) and Mark Valadao (SFS ’02) ran fifth with 79 votes, Catie Sheehan (COL ’01) and Meg Troller (MSB ’01) received 45 and Joe Morrow (SFS ’01) and Andrew Katz (COL ’01) came in with 44. Other write-in candidates received 62 votes.

 Voting Results New South Walsh Leavey Total Tawan Davis/Jacques Arsenault 276 83 208 567 Ryan Erlich/Keavney Klein 277 124 119 520 Jamal Epps/Jeff Burns 215 85 108 408 Mike Cerminaro/Mike Toman 33 5 87 125 Hector Lopez/Marc Valadao 49 12 18 79 Catie Sheehan/Meg Troller 13 15 17


Joe Morrow/Andrew Katz 12 5 27 44 Write In 15 22 25 62

Voter participation this year was 29 percent, down from a 38.5 percent participation rate in last year’s election.

Davis said that he was “excited, nervous and looking forward to next year,” following his victory. He credited his victory to “a lot of first-rate people who believed in me.”

Davis is a co-founder of the Georgetown Unity Coalition, chairman of policies and procedures for the university honor council and a board member of the Georgetown chapter of the NAACP. Arsenault is a GUSA junior class representative, a student representative on the search committee for vice president for student affairs, a resident assistant in New South, a John Carroll Scholar and a member of the Georgetown Solidarity Committee

Both Davis and Arsenault said that they will approach their positions differently because they were elected as write in candidates. “I think that Georgetown students were asking GUSA to be different,” Davis said. “We have a greater responsibility to the student body now,” Arsenault said.

The Erlich/Klein campaign originally protested the results of the election, saying that write-in votes written as Tawan/Jacques and Jacques/Tawan should count in separate totals. Acting Election Commissioner Arjay Yao (COL ’00) said that the election commission ruled that as long as both Davis’ and Arsenault’s names appeared on the ballot, then the vote would count for them. He said that the decision was made well before the election season began by the entire election commission, which was also granted the authority to make decisions on the night of the election.

Yao said that in order for a vote to count for a write-in candidate, both candidates’ names had to appear, regardless of the order in which they appeared. Yao said that the Erlich/Klein campaign was “definitely entitled to an appeal.”

Erlich said that the GUSA election is “a tough thing to lose,” but was happy with the showing he and Klein had made. “I’m sure glad to see 520 people, despite what was written about us, committed to us,” Erlich said.

He also said that he felt their campaign had made a contribution to the Georgetown community. “With all the people we united and the issues we put on the table, it shows that these ideas are starting to get acceptance on campus.”

Erlich said both he and Klein will continue to work within GUSA and with Davis and Arsenault to “make sure their ideas are realized . it’s about keeping people together.”

Jasper Ward (COL ’00), who worked on the Erlich/Klein campaign, said that they will not appeal the election commission’s decision. “It’s over,” Ward said. “We beat them in the freshman class, but they did a better job of getting out the seniors and juniors, and we appealed to the same type of people.”

Arsenault said that his and Davis’ decision to run as write-in candidates was a conscious one. “We thought, if we were elected, it wouldn’t be by accident,” Arsenault said. He also said that their victory “shows evidence of a desire for the student association to become more responsive to student concerns.”

Arsenault said that his and Davis’ election “shows that despite the talk of apathy, it shows that students really do care . it took a lot of effort to write in our names . its exciting, hopefully we can capitalize on that.”

Davis said he thought “Georgetown students were asking GUSA to be different.”

He also said that he needed to talk with students as well as the new GUSA assembly before determining the priorities of his administration. Arsenault said he thought the priorities for him are finding housing for sophomores, increasing communication between GUSA and students and “establishing regular communications with the administration and faculty.”

The election caps off a chaotic GUSA campaign season, one in which Election Commissioner Kerry Tyman (COL ’01) resigned and Paul Stroka (SFS ’02) and Dan Ryan (MSB ’02) withdrew from the campaign.

Yao said that the Stroka/Ryan ticket received several write-in votes, but not enough to warrant classifying them as a write-in ticket separate from the general “write-in pool.”

Davis and Arsenault succeed current GUSA executives Ron Palmese (MSB ’00) and Denis Scott (COL ’02), whose term will end in March when the GUSA general assembly approves the election of Davis and Arsenault, who are presently president-elect and vice president-elect.

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