Reed Howard (SFS ’17) and Courtney Maduike (SFS ’17) announced their entrance into the 2016 Georgetown University Student Association executive race through a social media campaign and an informal town hall event in the Former Jesuit Residence great room Monday night, the same time as the official town hall in the Healey Family Student Center.
The campaign will join the recent rise of write-in campaigns, which also include the Hot Chick and Chicken Madness, and Harsh Thakker (SFS ’18) and Anton Smaliak (SFS ’18).
Howard previously served as GUSA Deputy Chief of Staff in the executive of former President Trevor Tezel (SFS ‘15) and Vice President Omika Jikaria (SFS ‘15), in addition to serving as an Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner for district 2E and as a New Student Orientation Coordinator.
Maduike has no prior experience serving in the GUSA Senate, but has served as a coordinator for the GUSA Executive-sponsored “What’s a Hoya?” program. Maduike is also member of the Georgetown University Women of Color board, a founding member of the Georgetown Africa Business Conference, a member of the Blue & Grey Tour Guide Society and a sister in the Delta Phi Epsilon Professional Foreign Service Sorority.
Former GUSA presidential candidates Sara Margolis (COL ’16) and Chris Wadibia (COL ’16) both moderated the town hall, which was attended by approximately 25 students. Howard and Maduike discussed the factors that motivated hem to join the race, most prominently the desire to give Georgetown students an alternative to the Khan-Fisk campaign.
“Realizing that there was only one ticket in the race and realizing the difficult position that that put the student body in and not having an actual choice of a student who we could elect as the next GUSA executive … we wanted to make sure that the student body had an alternative or had an opportunity to exercise that agency,” Maduike said.
Howard and Maduike are currently running as write-in candidates, but have filed an appeal with the GUSA Constitutional Council to be added to the official ballot this Thursday.
Howard and Maduike first petitioned the GUSA Election Commission on Sunday, but the commission denied the request the same day, citing Howard and Maduike’s failure to attend either of two mandatory information sessions and meet deadlines for submitting election paperwork.
The Howard-Maduike ticket argues that no part of GUSA’s bylaws allows the Election Commission to mandate attendance at information sessions and the current one-ticket race presents unique circumstances.
According to GUSA Election Commissioner Alden Fletcher (SFS ’17), the Election Commission maintains that its refusal to admit Howard and Maduike to the ballot is valid.
“The election committee has to enforce the rules in the bylaws and meet the requirements of the conditions in the bylaws, and to do so requires running on deadlines to make the process function. While those aren’t elaborated specifically in the bylaws, those are sort of the necessary tools to have a coherent process,” Fletcher said in an interview with The Hoya.
The Election Commission also stressed that the circumstances of the current one-ticket ballot does not necessitate or allow a change to procedure. This year’s election is the first time GUSA has seen a one-ticket race for the executive.
“It is not appropriate to change the rules of an election just because a group of people might be unhappy with the initial outcome. That would not be fair to candidates who attended the info sessions, filed budgets, have been campaigning for a week and a half and followed the rules,” the commission wrote in an email to Howard and Maduike.
Chris Grocki (SFS ’17) and Jeff Naft (COL ’17) also appealed on Feb. 9 to be placed on the ballot and were rejected by the GUSA Constitutional Council.
Howard and Maduike said having a GUSA presidential candidate who will be on campus this summer during campus plan discussions is pivotal to ensure a campus plan agreement that represents students’ interests.
Last week, The Hoya reported that GUSA presidential candidate Enushe Khan (MSB ’17) will complete a 10-week investment banking internship with Goldman Sachs and will not be on campus for day-to-day discussions with administration if elected this summer. Khan’s running mate, Chris Fisk (COL ’17) will head campus planning talks, supported by a team of seven Khan-Fisk staffers.
Howard, in his position as a New Student Orientation Coordinator, plans to work part time in that capacity over the summer, while also attending campus plan meetings on campus.
“I think a big thing is that the GUSA executive needs to be here over the summer, and so finding out that some of the candidates are considering taking obligations that will bring them away from the city was a huge factor,” Howard said. “Students deserve someone that’s going to be here fighting for them.”
During the town hall, Howard and Maduike outlined three main pillars of their campaign policy: college affordability, race issues on the Hilltop and advocating for students in regards to the 2017-2037 Campus Plan.
On the topic of college affordability, the Howard-Maduike ticket stressed the importance of combatting undergraduate tuition increases.
“It’s time for GUSA to stop giving the administration a free pass on rising tuition rates. Over the past couple decades we’ve seen tuition soar and yet there has been little questions that GUSA has asked about where these tuition dollars are being spent,” Reed said.
Howard and Maduike also emphasized the importance of expanding on University President John J. DeGioia’s recent initiatives on race, which include the expansion of African American studies into a major department.
“We would want programming that goes into ensuring that students examine and are aware of Georgetown’s racial history with slavery and reconciliation and making sure that that’s a part of Georgetown’s identity and not just part of Georgetown’s black identity,” Maduike said.
Howard and Maduike said they are confident in their ticket’s ability to gain awareness among students and stage a viable opposition to the Khan-Fisk campaign.
“Sometimes I think positivity is infectious and we’re just going to have a lot of fun with this and hope that word travels,” Howard said. “Students want a choice in this election and so I think us giving students a choice whether or not they vote for us or not is going to create a buzz.”
Hoya Staff Writers Ian Scoville and Ashwin Puri contributed reporting.
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