Gustafson, Kohnert-Yount Win Election
Published: Thursday, February 23, 2012
Updated: Friday, February 24, 2012 04:02
GUSA Senators Clara Gustafson (SFS '13) and Vail Kohnert-Yount (SFS '13) won this year's GUSA executive election with over 57 percent of the vote in the sixth and final round of instant runoff voting.
Gustafson and Kohnert-Yount comprise the first all-female winning executive ticket. Gustafson will also be the first female president of the Georgetown University Student Association since Kelley Hampton (SFS '05), who was elected in 2004.
The ticket received 1,856 votes in the final round, while runners-up Murphy Kate Delaney (COL '13) and Michael Appau (COL '13) garnered 1,391 sixth-round votes.
A total of 3,697 ballots were cast in the election, a record-high turnout for any Georgetown University Student Association vote. This year's race also marked the first time that more than 50 percent of the student body participated in an election or referendum. The number of ballots cast by 1 p.m. Thursday surpassed the previous executive election record set in 2010, in which 3,089 total votes were counted.
"I am so honored and really excited," Gustafson said after the results were announced.
She emphasized the importance of continuing the Student Code of Conduct reform process begun by current GUSA President Mike Meaney (SFS '12) and Vice-President Greg Laverriere (COL '12). Gustafson also vowed to prioritize creating an undergraduate research symposium and finding a permanent director for the Center for Social Justice, two key elements of her campaign platform.
Gustafson praised the abilities of her fellow candidates and encouraged them to apply to become members of her executive cabinet.
"All of the candidates have had a lot of different experience in a lot of different areas around Georgetown's campus, so including their expertise in our cabinet will be really important to the both of us," she said.
Following the GUSA Election Commission's announcement of the final tallies at about 2:15 a.m. Friday, tickets quickly issued congratulatory emails. Colton Malkerson (COL '13) and Maggie Cleary (COL '14) lauded Gustafson and Kohnert-Yount's campaign efforts and said they looked forward to future collaboration.
Tyler Sax (COL '13) and Michael Crouch (MSB '13) asked their supporters not to perceive the election as a defeat.
"If we end up with a student government that listens before it speaks and hears more student voices – then tonight is not a loss," Sax wrote in an email.
Gustafson and Kohnert-Yount, who assume their roles after spring break, will be the first ticket sworn in after a transition period created by an amendment passed by the GUSA senate in January. In past years, the winning ticket took office almost immediately after being elected.