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

Deconstructing GUSA: Vote Angert-Kluger Tuesday

In a series of interviews conducted over the course of the past week, we’ve asked the same question of several candidates for the presidency and vice presidency of GUSA, as well as outgoing student association President Patrick Dowd (SFS ’09): What does GUSA do? We received a variety of answers and non-answers in response.

About a year ago, the editorial board of The Hoya (then differently composed) offered an answer of its own – not much. The lukewarm endorsement of Dowd and James Kelly (COL ’09) lambasted GUSA as generally useless and detrimental to student interests.

This dismissive attitude toward student government is ubiquitous at Georgetown. While we acknowledge GUSA’s inefficiency, organizational limitations and intermittent silliness, this casual, unproductive attitude should be left behind. Like it or not, GUSA is the most important representative of the student body’s will in the determination of university policy; it isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. All students must make the most of the voice that GUSA gives to their concerns and complaints, regardless of the political sensibilities (or lack thereof) of those who populate the GUSA Senate and Executive.

GUSA remains the most effective route for students to effect change in university affairs – for student safety and services, on- and off-campus residential life, curricular concerns and event coordination, we have few better advocates. The selection of the next leaders of our student government should not be taken lightly.

Last week, eight different tickets declared their candidacies for president and vice president of GUSA. The field, composed of all sophomores and juniors, includes nine students in the McDonough School of Business, four in the School of Foreign Service and three in the College. The slate comes with a wide variety of experience and somewhat less variety in their approaches to student government. Each ticket has its own assets and deficiencies.

In Josh Mogil (SFS ’11) and Lauren Klein (MSB ’11) we see undaunted ambition and impressive marketing abilities – their “Yourtown” slogan is plastered on every wall on campus, it seems – but also a lack of specificity and practicality in their proposals.

In Peter Dagher (COL ’10) and Elias Ibrahim (SFS ’10) we see needed commitment to continuing GUSA’s Summer Fellows Program, but only a rudimentary understanding of diversity at Georgetown.

In Sean Hayes (MSB ’10) and Andrew Madorsky (MSB ’10) we see passionate devotion to Georgetown’s tradition and successful past involvement in MSB student affairs, but several unrealistic campaign proposals, as well (including campus-wide printing and weekend Grab ‘n’ Go services).

In Brock Magruder (COL ’10) and Brian Litwak (MSB ’10) we see a strong populist streak – dissatisfaction with standard student issues like noise violation policy – but little organization and no relevant institutional experience.

In Joe McGroarty (COL ’10) and Dimitrios Koutsoukos (SFS ’10) we see hope for transparency and communication with constituents, but more interest in rehabilitating GUSA’s reputation than in bringing palpable change to student life.

In Cory Perkins (SFS ’10) and James O’Brien (MSB ’10) we see a focused, refreshing set of priorities, but not the experience needed to make their promises a reality.

In Jeffrey Lamb (MSB ’10) and Molly Breen (MSB ’11) we see effective leadership – Lamb is the chief operating officer of the Georgetown University Student Investment Fund and Breen is president and founder of the Georgetown chapter of Party for a Cause – but with no experience as members of the GUSA Senate or Executive, no guarantee that their past success will translate to student government and nothing new to say about diversity on campus.

We believe Calen Angert (MSB ’11) and Jason Kluger (MSB ’11) should lead GUSA for the next year. This pair of scruffy, laid-back MSB students has the requisite experience and common sense to lead.

Both men know student government well. Angert has served in the GUSA Senate and as secretary of student life in the GUSA Executive Cabinet; in those roles, he dealt with issues ranging from reform of the Student Activities Commission to campus diversity. Angert also sits on the Student Safety Advisory Board – he comes with a comprehensive and realistic understanding of how to address safety concerns on campus.

Kluger has served in the Executive Cabinet as director of advertising, and has helped to organize successful events like “May the Best Man Win” (a panel discussion and subsequent presidential debate watch) and an Energia lecture.

Angert and Kluger’s experience in student government will prove valuable if they are elected. On the national political scene, outsiders are often welcome; in student government, however, we believe that experienced leaders with the skills necessary to meet achievable goals are ideal.

The Angert-Kluger platform is smart and grounded. It prioritizes student safety: Angert and Kluger aim to work with the Department of Public Safety to get students more involved in the formulation of campus safety policy and reform noise violation protocol. Unrealistic plans to vastly expand student services are notably absent from Angert and Kluger’s platform.

They also aim to enliven extracurricular life on campus by asking the GUSA Senate to devote half of the $60,000 GUSA budget to a “Georgetown Fund,” which would enable student groups to host events that SAC couldn’t or wouldn’t fund.

While other candidates offer tired ideas about networking events between alumni and students, Angert and Kluger aim to work with the university to create a more responsive Career Education Center that works for all students. While several tickets seek to reform the center, Angert and Kluger offer the most concrete proposals to address the problem.

Angert and Kluger are also committed to discussing diversity. Although we would appreciate more specifics on how they hope to work with the Student Commission for Unity and address the commission’s recent findings, Angert and Kluger recognize the seriousness and complexity of this issue – other tickets seem poised to defer to the SCU on all diversity-related questions.

What does GUSA do? It’s a fair question. We believe one ticket has the experience and vision to make GUSA as relevant as ever. Angert and Kluger have been at the forefront of student government for the last year. If elected, they will bring perspective, experience and passion to their roles. Both have already managed to exert a positive influence upon our community and their work speaks for itself. They have the institutional knowledge needed to maximize success. They are ready to lead, and we endorse their candidacy.

Editor’s note: Editorial Board Member Richie Frohlichstein did not participate in the GUSA endorsement process.

Note: This editorial previously stated that neither Jeffrey Lamb nor Molly Breen had GUSA experience. To clarify, Breen is a member of the Summer Fellows Program Steering Committee.

To send a letter to the editor on a recent campus issue or Hoya story or a viewpoint on any topic, contact opinionthehoya.com. Letters should not exceed 300 words, and viewpoints should be between 600 to 800 words.

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