COURTESY CRAIG CASSEY
COURTESY CRAIG CASSEY

Though he did not obtain enough signatures to get his name on the ballot for this November’s ANC election, Craig Cassey (COL ’15) announced his intent to run a write-in campaign for a seat on the commission late last month. The recent redistricting of Advisory Neighborhood Commission 2E’s jurisdictional area allots two seats to single member districts entirely occupied by students. Thus the commission could potentially seat more than one student representative for the first time in 10 years. Cassey is running to represent SMD 2E 04, while Peter Prindiville (SFS ’14) will run for SMD 2E 08. If elected, both students will serve on the commission for two years. The Hoya sat down with Cassey to talk about his goals for the campaign.

Why did you decide to run for ANC

commissioner?

As a freshman, I was involved in College Democrats and [the student advocacy group] D.C. Students Speak, and both of those experiences gave me insight into what … problems … the Georgetown community was facing … and what the Georgetown community needs from an ANC commissioner in these next few years.

What are some of those problems?

In the past years we witnessed a lot of friction due to the [2010] Campus Plan debates, and I believe that, going forward, student inclusion in the entire process is essential. Another issue we face is the noise ordinance, which still reads as an unfair ordinance against students and would not have come about if we … had more students and student-friendly commissioners on the ANC board. We need to increase voter registration across the university, getting students involved in the conversation pertaining to local politics as well as giving them opportunities to get involved so their voices may be heard and something like [the noise ordinance] will never be passed in the future.

What are the key tenets of your platform?

Fostering community, empowering students and engaging with the student body at large. Having proceeded through the Campus Plan hearings, we are at an opportune moment to build a community that is both cohesive and positive in all their interactions. I want toreduce friction that was created the past few years, and I believe firmly that now is the time. If we can do that in the next Campus Plan hearings in 2017, it may go much more smoothly.

I hope to empower students not just through reaching out and getting their opinions and speaking to those on the ANC board but also providing them with other opportunities to get involved. Several boards and commissions in the District pertaining to green construction, LGBTQ issues, safety — everything you can possibly imagine — have unfilled seats. As an ANC commissioner, I will be able to reach out to more students and hopefully get them to apply to these seats.

[Current ANC 2E student commissioner] Jake Sticka (COL ’13) did a great job of engaging students, and I want to continue that tradition … by making use of social media and being present in [my] district — not just having hall meetings but going to dorms to get firsthand opinions of what [students] feel is going on and what they don’t support, and keeping all students in the loop, because they deserve to be.

What was your reaction to the ultimate outcome of the 2010 Campus Plan, and how do you hope to address it going forward?

Some of the changes are positive, such as the addition of food trucks, the removal of restrictions regarding party planning as well as proposals for the New South Student Center. Having said that, I feel that students were shafted in some ways, but due to the finality of the Campus Plan, I believe we should press ahead, move forward on things we have control over and make sure the [New South Student Center] is a viable option for on-campus student activity. If it is going to be a pub or a bar, we have to make sure it is an appealing option. This is a process that will be taking place over the next few years and will be a main focus in this ANC term.

Also, the Georgetown Community Partnership was a body created as part of the Campus Plan agreement that will meet frequently to help all parties stick to the tenets outlined in the Campus Plan. There will be a main student committee that will have a student chair. While that is essential, I feel we still need more student representation in the sub-committees that will be part of the partnership. I would like to push for more inclusion in that specific area. I think there’s a lot of potential for the Georgetown Community Partnership to be effective. I think time will tell, and it will be made more effective if more students are included in the process, and hopefully it will help reduce the stigma currently surrounding both students and residents. That is the greatest gain we can make as a community if we are trying to create one Georgetown. I think that needs to be the first step.

Is there anything you would like to change about the ANC 2E?

Like any student commissioner, I would like to have more students on the ANC to begin with. I also would like to see a change in the location of meetings. It would be good for the university and the community if we alternated meetings between the Georgetown campus and the current location [at Georgetown Visitation School]. That would be a very strong, small gesture of the progress and teamwork we hope to see in the next five years and into the future.

What are your plans for getting students out to vote?

I’d like to continue registering students to vote. I will inform students of the logistics of where to vote and same-day registration, which D.C. allows, and how to go about writing in a candidate. That means information flyers, making information available by social media, going door to door and getting to know the potential constituents.

Have you had any form of dialogue with other ANC 2E commissioners about possibilities for cooperation after the election?

I’ve met Jeff Jones, commissioner for district 2E 03, and we’ve spoken about the potential for Georgetown to exist as one community. We were encouraged not just by what this means for the ANC but also about how we can increase student engagement across the board in various D.C. political ventures.

What is your professional relationship with Prindiville, and how do you envision cooperating if you are both elected?

Peter and I are running for different seats, so we’re not running against each other. There’s no opposition, and we’re cooperating. My district, 2E 04, includes Village C West, Village A, New South, the Southwest Quad and the Jesuit Residence. Peter and I are different people and operate in different ways, but I feel the combination of our varying skill sets while on the ANC when fighting for student rights will be very effective.

Single Member District 2E 03 is made up of both students and permanent residents. Do you think there is potential for a student to occupy that district’s seat, thus meaning that Georgetown would have three representatives on ANC 2E?

I do think there’s hope that that seat will go to a Georgetown student. This year when we were talking about potential candidates for that district, there seemed to be a lot of interest, but not enough student interest yet to make it a viable campaign. I see it as a … possibility that someone will run and potentially win in that district. If that were the case, we could get more students engaged, because with three more students on the board, we’ll have a lot more ability to stand up for student rights.

The Hoya interviewed Cassey’s fellow candidate Prindiville in the Apr. 27 issue. Read it online at thehoya.com.

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