Pravin Rajan (SFS ’07) was elected president of GUSA on Wednesday, defeating eight other candidates in one of the most crowded races in the student association’s history.

Rajan and running mate Nate Wright (COL ’06) won 36.3 percent of the vote, finishing nearly ten points ahead of their closest competitors, Happy Johnson (COL ’07) and Vikram Agrawal (SFS ’07). No other ticket finished in double digits.

“I’m honored that students have come out and showed their faith in the system,” Rajan said shortly after the election results were announced in Sellinger Lounge yesterday evening.

“I’m excited about the opportunity we have here, to really try and make a lot of changes that GUSA needs to see happen,” Wright said.

The fate of the election was briefly thrown into question yesterday after the results were published in The Georgetown Voice before the official announcement. Before announcing the results, the Election Commission met privately to discuss whether the interception of the results before the last night’s scheduled announcement had damaged the integrity of the election. Ultimately, however, the commission approved the final tally.

Rajan and Wright celebrated with their campaign staff after the outcome was made official. Disappointed, but not bitter, defeated candidates extended their congratulations to the winning ticket.

“It was a fun race, and it was great being able to knock on every door,” Agrawal said. “We were here to have fun, and we did.”

Chin Huang (SFS ’07), who ran on the ticket of Colin Krainin (COL ’07) also reflected positively on his experience, but offered a challenge for the victors.

“It was a remarkable experience,” Huang said. “We hope now that the president and vice president will implement the changes they promised, and so we will hold them accountable.”

Aside from the early publication of the results, the election proceeded without serious controversy. Despite the more stringent campaign bylaws adopted by the GUSA Assembly last year, no ticket was disqualified. No candidate had challenged the election’s results at last night’s 8 p.m. deadline to submit formal appeals.

A total of 2,271 students, or around 36 percent of the student body, voted in the election, a turnout GUSA media director Andy Asensio (COL ’06) said was about average for executive elections. It was around 20 votes lower than last year’s turnout of 2,293 votes but significantly below the 2,756 votes cast in 2003.

Rajan and Wright expressed disappointment in the turnout. Rajan criticized the new bylaws for failing to bring more students into the process, a function many in GUSA had hoped the reforms would serve.

“A majority of seniors were unaware they were able to vote,” Wright said.

Still, the two said they were encouraged by the percentage of the vote they won against eight other tickets. Rajan credited the victory to the work of his 120-person campaign staff.

“The team we brought together was made of people who had achieved tangible things on campus,” he said.

Amidst the thrill of their victory, Rajan and Wright were fully aware of the challenges GUSA faces in the immediate future. Rajan pledged to make good on his campaign’s promise for a “GU Revolution” and completely overhaul the student association.

Though he opposes the constitutional referendum promoted by GUSA President Kelley Hampton (SFS ’05), Rajan said he will form a constitutional commission to examine the shortcomings of GUSA and recommend reform measures.

“We’re completely revamping the structure of the executive advocacy committees,” Rajan said. He also said he will be forming a new student cabinet, in which each officer has a clearly defined role, context, and objectives. He also pledged to include students not involved in his campaign.

Rajan promised to make every issue addressed in his 27-page campaign platform a priority in his administration.

Rajan said that Wright would be taking charge of most of the institutional reform. Wright will be focusing on the university policies on housing, sexual assault, alcohol and residence hall lockdown, Rajan said.

Rajan and Wright will be sworn in at this Tuesday’s assembly meeting to succeed Hampton and GUSA Vice President Luis Torres (COL ’05). In the face of what many on campus agree are daunting obstacles, they remain optimistic.

“I think this is the year where GUSA changes,” Rajan said.

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