Georgetown students have two choices when it comes to their relationship with GUSA: engagement or apathy. As this brief election cycle comes to a close, we urge the former. Yet according to a poll conducted by The Hoya, 28.2 percent of likely voters remained undecided Sunday evening. Those voters as well as those who believe they have already made their choice should consider a ticket whose leadership has a track record of promoting engagement.
We urge students to vote for Thomas Lloyd (SFS ’15) and Jimmy Ramirez (COL ’15) for the Georgetown University Student Association executive Thursday.
We focused on each ticket’s platform in addition to candidates’ leadership styles and approach toward the office, criteria indicative of how the future GUSA administration will address unforeseen problems in the upcoming year.
Lloyd is the type of leader we want in our corner. Relative to other candidates’ platforms, Lloyd and Ramirez’s platform offers strong advocacy to any and all who ask for it.
They have shown skill in working with administrators. As resident assistants, both members of the ticket have been immersed in key issues facing GUSA, such as sexual assault policy. On the ground level, Lloyd and Ramirez have witnessed and shaped policy changes with the unique vantage point of seeing and reacting to nitty-gritty details of the policies that are at stake in this election.
When questioned about the concern that their ticket has the least GUSA experience, both candidates pointed to the fact that even without years in GUSA, they are used to having more skin in the game when it comes to policy areas that GUSA traditionally handles.
The GUSA president’s personal leadership is just as important as his platform, and we believe that Lloyd presents the best track record and potential for GUSA to effect change throughout the student body.
ACCESS TO BENEFITS
Discussion of unrecognized student groups’ access to benefits and campus space comprises a significant portion of this election’s debate. While all three platforms from Lloyd’s competitors share a common goal of easing restrictions on resources, none goes far enough in articulating a specific strategy to combat the status quo.
Lloyd and Ramirez distinguish themselves yet again by proposing a “tiered system” that would extend some benefits and limited recognition to currently unrecognized groups. This middle ground, as they refer to it, is a more practical and plausible approach to a system unlikely to be completely reversed on first attempt.
Lloyd has direct experience dealing with the ramifications of holding an event with unrecognized student group H*yas for Choice, and he knows firsthand the difficulties associated with leading a student group that often challenges Georgetown’s Catholic identity. His strategy holds the most promise of real revision in access to benefits.
Most candidates address free speech at Georgetown, but only Lloyd and Ramirez have articulated precisely what they see as the current policy’s biggest flaw: the culture of “self-censorship” it engenders. Lloyd notes that, as a leader in GU Pride, he is bothered by campus advocates who suppress their own thoughts out of fear of university retribution. This hesitancy from campus activists represents a graver problem than the mere confusion over existing policies.
Lloyd and Ramirez take a practical approach to reforming this tendency, focusing on how student groups can better access university benefits and exercise their rights to free speech.
All four of this year’s tickets want to reform Georgetown’s sexual assault policy and procedure. Ben Weiss (COL ’15) and Trevor Tezel (SFS ’15) both serve on the Sexual Assault Working Group, and Zach Singer’s (SFS ’15) platform also addresses the need for reform.
However, Lloyd and Ramirez’s approach to sexual assault excels in identifying specific ways to support survivors of sexual assault and to increase awareness of the issue beyond New Student Orientation training and “What’s a Hoya?” programming. The specificity of their proposals, which include the addition of a retaliation clause to protect survivors and changing administrative procedures for taking action against perpetrators, shows a thorough understanding of sexual assault policy and the meaning of consent as well as how Georgetown can take immediate action to improve its approach to the issue.
Every campaign platform in this year’s race devoted significant attention to student disciplinary procedures, offering proposals from amnesty to allowing drinking in freshmen dorms. We are confident that Lloyd and Ramirez are best equipped to address this topic, shown through their platform and experience as RAs.
A strength of Lloyd and Ramirez’s platform is that it establishes a more just student disciplinary process without reducing the Code of Student Conduct’s ability to discourage reckless behavior. Their proposal to establish a fixed time limit for notifying students about violations of the code of conduct is one example of the pair’s levelheaded approach to reform. They propose increasing funding for the Student Advocacy Office by 50 percent while raising its profile among freshmen — the students who need it most — a move that reflects their experience with managing campus life.
Only Lloyd and Ramirez have an approach that connects institutional policy with the goal of uniting all students.
Put simply, merely having a big campaign tent is insufficient. While other candidates suggest new bureaucracy — Tezel’s Multicultural Council initiative, for example — Lloyd and Ramirez have the most hands-on approach to promoting diversity within the ranks.
In our discussion with Lloyd and Ramirez, both candidates admitted that they had no ability to fully understand the nuanced experience of what it is like to be each minority at Georgetown. But instead of holding a series of roundtable discussions or commissioning a new GUSA special office about diversity, Lloyd and Ramirez have demonstrated that — through serving as allies and including members of minority communities in their cabinet and staff — input from all facets of Georgetown’s diverse community can be included in every relevant conversation.
In their comparatively small platform, Lloyd and Ramirez propose admirable and feasible ideas that strengthen their candidacy. Rather than presenting a pipe dream to persuade voters, the pair has identified the most important issues early on, letting voters know what to expect from them.
Lloyd and Ramirez bring strong ideas to the table, but most importantly, they bring themselves.
For this reason, students should cast their votes for Thomas and Jimmy on Feb. 27.
Thomas Lloyd is a non-staff guest columnist for The Hoya this semester. His column has been suspended during the GUSA election campaign period.