Candidates Spar in VP Debate
Published: Tuesday, February 12, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, February 12, 2013 02:02
The five vice presidential candidates for the GUSA executive advocated their tickets' respective platforms yesterday in a debate largely centered on funding reform and the student association’s relationship with the student body.
Approximately 40 students attended the debate at White Gravenor Hall, which featured one hour of sparring in advance of the presidential debate Feb. 18.
While the other candidates emphasized their experience both inside and outside the Georgetown University Student Association, Rob Silverstein (SFS ’14), who is running alongside Spencer Walsh (MSB ’14), stressed that the pair is no less qualified despite its lack of prior involvement in the student government.
“Spencer and I don't feel [that] having GUSA background makes you qualified to better understand students’ needs on campus,” Silverstein said.
When asked to evaluate the term of current GUSA President Clara Gustafson (SFS ’13) and Vice President Vail Kohnert-Yount (SFS ’13), candidates largely agreed that the executives’ main achievement was successfully raising the evidentiary standard from “more likely than not” to “clear and convincing.”
“When GUSA does one great thing each year … most freshmen don’t know what GUSA does,” said vice presidential candidate Joe Vandegriff (COL’14), who is running with GUSA Senator Shavonnia Corbin Johnson (SFS ’14). “So we have to constantly build on that and strive for so much more than just a referendum a year.”
Maggie Cleary (COL’14), who is running with former Student Activities Commission Chair and current member of the GUSA executive cabinet Jack Appelbaum (COL ’14), praised the current leaders’ efforts to broaden GUSA’s engagement with student groups, but pointed out that the pair fell short of its goals to expand club autonomy over funding and event planning.
Andrew Logerfo (COL ’14), who is running with two-year GUSA senator Cannon Warren (SFS ’14) was asked to address how his ticket should be taken seriously as its main platform is a plan to hold a rat-hunting competition.
“It’s not a joke. It’s a serious problem. These are dangerous animals. Rats are dangerous. They carry diseases,” Logerfo said. “They present a terrible threat to our usually beautiful campus after six o’clock. … The real goal behind this is to basically shove the issue [into] the face of the administration.”
Adam Ramadan (SFS ’14), who is running with GUSA senate Speaker Nate Tisa (SFS ’14), cited producing concrete results as GUSA’s most effective way of increasing engagement.
“Actually show that GUSA is a capable body, and then people will put credibility behind GUSA — then they will get more involved,” Ramadan said.
Candidates clashed on the question of improvements to SAC’s funding system. Cleary stressed her running mate Appelbaum’s experience as former SAC chair, which she said makes her ticket the most qualified to enact comprehensive funding reform.
“SAC is still broken. And I think after his year as SAC commissioner chair, Jack came to the conclusion that it cannot be completely fixed. And the only solution is to completely redo the funding system,” Cleary said.
Ramadan suggested that individual advisory boards serve as a model for SAC as a whole.
“There is no specialization when SAC has 100-plus student groups that have almost nothing in common,” Ramadan said. “You already have an infrastructure [through advisory boards]; you already have a blueprint on how students groups are funded.”