FILE PHOTO: SHEEL PATEL/THE HOYA
Sahil Nair (SFS ’19) has resigned as GUSA president.

Sahil Nair (SFS ’19), Georgetown University Student Association president, resigned Tuesday morning following announcements by Vice President Naba Rahman (SFS ’19) and 10 other members of the GUSA executive that they would resign effective Friday.

Nair’s resignation is effective immediately. Nair did not include a reason in his resignation statement or respond to a request for comment as of 9 p.m. today.

Rahman and the 10 senior staff members rescinded their resignations about two hours after Nair announced his resignation. The GUSA Election Commission, the student board charged with running GUSA elections, confirmed Rahman, Chief of Staff Aaron Bennett (COL ’19) and the senior staff members may rescind their resignations and are not violating previous commission decisions on the matter, in a news release obtained by The Hoya.

Nair’s resignation is the first presidential resignation since 1960, while Rahman’s is the first vice presidential resignation since 1972, according to former GUSA Historian Ari Goldstein (COL ’18).

Rahman’s resignation statement was posted on GUSA’s Facebook page. Following suit, 10 other GUSA executive staffers tendered their resignations through a news release on the GUSA Facebook page.   

“The Vice President no longer feels she can continue to effectively serve in her role given the present environment within the organization,” Rahman’s resignation statement read.

Rahman’s statement did not clarify the “present environment within the organization.”

In their statement, the 10 senior staff members said that should leadership change, they would remain in the organization.

“Should a change in leadership occur, we would gladly remain in our positions within the organization to continue its important work,” the statement reads.

Bennett said in a separate statement following Nair’s resignation that the organization will release further information in the coming days.

“GUSA is entering a period of deep introspection and soul-searching,” the statement reads. “We plan on releasing a longer statement to provide the student body further explanation, clarity and direction as soon as we possibly can. Until then, we ask the student body to offer us patience in the short-term to wade through extraordinarily sensitive issues and decide on a path forward.”

Earlier this morning, a letter written by Ricardo Mondolfi (SFS ’19), chair of Students of Georgetown, Inc., and edited by Rahman, Bennett, GUSA Senate Transition Chair Juan Martinez (SFS ’20) and GUSA Senate Transition Vice Chair Eliza Lafferty (COL ’21) was circulated among 20 student group leaders and GUSA senators to pressure Nair to resign. The signatories included senior leadership of The Corp, GUPride, the GUSA senate and the Council of Advisory Boards, all of whom requested Nair’s immediate resignation due to assault allegations.

“It has come to our attention that for multiple weeks, Mr. Nair has faced allegations that he committed assault against several women,” the letter reads. “We believe that the safety and privacy of survivors must be respected above all else, including their decision to remain private, to file a formal report through the Title IX system, or to make their accounts public.”

The letter urged Nair to resign immediately and would have gone public had he not.

“We also believe Mr. Nair and everyone involved maintain their rights to due process and the presumption of innocence,” the letter reads. “However, we are convinced that the only way to protect effective student advocacy and the vital effort that is preserving student interests at our University is to demand he resign immediately.”

The Hoya is working to independently verify the allegations and is currently unaware of any Title IX complaints lodged with the university.

Todd Olson, vice president for student affairs, said the university is committed to supporting student wellbeing and will support GUSA.

“Our elected student leaders are students first and our top priority is their wellbeing. Our team of student affairs professionals is providing counsel to Georgetown University Student Association (GUSA) leaders and we have resources available for all students,” Olson wrote in an email to The Hoya. “We are committed to a positive and supportive structure for GUSA and its continued governance according to its bylaws.”

Nine GUSA policy chairs released a statement Tuesday morning after Nair’s resignation stating that they will continue their work despite the resignations.

“Our priority remains improving the welfare of the student body and the Georgetown community,” the statement reads. “The work that happens within Policy Teams goes beyond any individual or administration, and as such we will do everything in our power to continue serving the needs of the student body during this difficult time.”

The GUSA senate is set to convene at 10 p.m. for an emergency session, according to a GUSA senator.

Hoya Staff Writers Ian Scoville and Christian Paz contributed reporting.

This is a developing story.

This post has been updated at 10:57 p.m.

Resources: On-campus resources include Health Education Services (202-687-8949) and Counseling and Psychiatric Services (202-687-7080); additional off-campus resources include the D.C. Rape Crisis Center (202-333-7273) and the D.C. Forensic Nurse Examiner Washington Hospital Center (844-443-5732). If you or anyone you know would like to receive a sexual assault forensic examination or other medical care — including emergency contraception — call the Network for Victim Recovery of D.C. at 202-742-1727. Emergency contraception is available at the CVS located at 1403 Wisconsin Ave NW.  To report sexual misconduct, you can contact Georgetown’s interim Title IX coordinator at 202-687-9183 or file an online report here.

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17 Comments

  1. George Peacock says:

    In light of the demand for an immediate resignation, how can one also assert a right to due process and a presumption of innocence? Why would you ever force anyone presumed to be innocent to resign immediately? Asserting something to be true does not magically make it so.

    My presumption is that the group presumes guilt. Which is fine. They surely know more than I. But why say otherwise? Are we at full Orwell?

    • There’s a right to be presumed innocent by the justice system, not by individuals. His peers have no such obligation. We obviously knew he was guilty.

      Being thought to be guilty by your peers results in a resignation, being found guilty by the justice system results in legal consequences. Two different processes.

      • George Peacock says:

        The conflation confused me. A direct statement of maintaining a presumption of innocence concurrent with a demand for immediate resignation was jarring.

        My ending presumption that those demanding resignation had no such presumption of innocence was correct it seems.

        Good luck to GUSA and all in moving forward.

    • Jack the Bullfrog says:

      This comment is an example of mind-numbing bad faith.

      You can only have “due process” if there is a process. But this was not the conclusion of a trial; this was a transaction. Nair, who it appears was trying to ride out the wave, resigned because otherwise over half his cabinet would resign. He was not “forced,” it was well within his ability to run GUSA without a cabinet or any social capital.

      The right to associate and disassociate far exceeds a person’s claim to trial rights extrajudicially.

      I want to know who the cabinet members were who prioritized their positions over speaking out against sexual violence and abuse of power.

    • Sterling P Strange says:

      Exactly! The only proven offenders here are the ones that passively aggressively forced a resignation.

    • The only thing that is “full Orwell” here is that you’re continuing to get involved in student politics in 2018 when you graduated in “1984.”

  2. is there anyway that you can link to the letters you all are citing?

  3. #FreeNair

  4. This wouldn’t have happened if we elected Batman… just saying

  5. I’m pretty sure due process and demanding resignation are two mutually exclusive things.

  6. Dick Pointer says:

    I don’t get this mess with resigning and then rescinding the resignations. If the threat of mass resignation was needed to get Nair to leave as opposed to just asking him, then GUSA these days has some serious organizational problems.

    • Jack the Bullfrog says:

      I suspect the mass resignations were kabuki theater. By appearing to be the catalyst for Nair’s resignation, the senior staff can temporarily stay out the limelight for having failed to respond to this issue sooner.

      What did Naba know and when did she know it?

      • I will just say, rather suspicious that he did not sign the title IX letter GUSA released last week. This might suggest that someone within the organization knew about it at that time and stopped him from signing. But he could have just not signed it for any number of other reasons.

  7. The real question is whether actual complaints were filed either by the alleged victims, either with GUPD or Metro.

    If they haven’t, then there is no reason to believe the alleged victims and Nair should not have resigned and this has been a rumor-filled witchhunt. Hell, it may even be revenge because he did not sign the Title IX statement.

  8. There is a difference between criminal charges and unsupported allegations. If people have actually come forward and presented allegations of criminal conduct, the justice system is there to handle the situation. If on the other hand there are anonymous allegations of misconduct (which if true might rise to the level of criminal conduct), it is those that possess the first hand knowledge which have an obligation to come forward. if they don’t, then taking action without full information is nothing short of unfair.

    I don’t know anything about the GUSA President, other than he is a student who’s life has taken a turn based upon anonymous accusations. It is also ridiculous to think that the entire GUSA government structure is somehow wrapped up in a conspiracy to hide/ignore allegations of misconduct. These other students who were duly elected have responsibilities to their offices (and the students who they represent). That said everyone should be careful not to cause further harm to anyone out of some voyeuristic quest for knowledge of the underlying situation.

    It would appear that members of GUSA chose to take action to evoke change when change would not have otherwise occurred if they stayed silent. There is bravery in such a decision. If we give them the full benefit of the doubt and assume that they did the right thing, then we should not drag their lives down for either for doing so or failing to do so as promptly as we might like. Leave the possibility of criminal activity to the authorities and get back to the business of being student leaders.

    As for the individual who took another person to task here because the poster was not a current student, I can only say. Once a Hoya, always a Hoya. I represent you in this world and you represent me by virtue of the brotherhood/sisterhood that is shared between all those fortunate to have called Georgetown home for any period of time. What each of us does reflects upon the rest of us. Be patient. Be kind. Have respect for your fellow man and woman. The words of St. Ignatius are not just mere words…they actually mean something. Never lose sight of that in your life.

  9. I can’t believe the breaking news… Special Counsel Mueller is now looking into the Nair campaign’s possible collusion with Russia. Should be an interesting Fall.

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