Outgoing GUSA executives Kelley Hampton (SFS ’05) and Luis Torres (COL ’05) swore in their successors, GUSA President Pravin Rajan (SFS ’07) and Vice President Nate Wright (COL ’06), officially bringing their own terms to a close on Tuesday.

Hampton and Torres, who officially withdrew their contested referendum to dramatically overhaul the GUSA Constitution yesterday, said they are leaving the Student Association with a feeling of accomplishment and hope for the future.

Despite Hampton’s intensive efforts to promote the proposal over the past few weeks, it failed to garner significant support during the recent GUSA executive election campaign.

New GUSA President Pravin Rajan, who officially opposed Hampton’s proposal during his campaign, said that debating “insider-type” issues like Hampton’s serve as “smoke-and mirror distractions that keep real issues off the table.”

“Now with that issue finally out of the way, we’ll be able to focus all our energies on those real issues,” Rajan said.

Hampton and Torres faced difficulties early on in their administration when they entered office after a disputed election process. After winning last year’s executive election, the ticket was disqualified for excessive campaign violations. A long and divisive appeals period ensued. Ultimately the constitutional council overturned the disqualification.

“When we came in, we had everything stacked against us,” Hampton said. She said that because of the election controversy, her administration started late and could not benefit from a smooth transition. Additionally, many on campus and in the administration questioned the legitimacy of her election.

In spite of these obstacles, Hampton and Torres pointed to a number of achievements throughout the year.

Torres said that he and Hampton streamlined the GUSA budget, allocating more funding for events such as Hoya Homecoming Weekend and Traditions Day. He also said he was proud of many of the people he and Hampton brought into GUSA, including Media Director Andy Asensio (COL ’06), Historian Ryan Gelinas (SFS ’07) and Secretary Molly O’Reilly-Pol (COL ’07).

Hampton said she was proud of how much she and Torres had done in reorganizing GUSA’s infrastructure. She said she hopes her biggest legacy is making GUSA a more open environment for students with a regular newsletter and town hall meetings in residence halls.

Both said that anyone looking for one major accomplishment that affects a vast number of students in order to assess legacy does not understand how GUSA works. Big projects such as a living wage and a reforming Hoya Court are not part of GUSA’s domain, Hampton said.

Still, she noted that GUSA made definite progress on projects like the Adopt-a-Block program, ROTC credit, campus safety and online syllabi. She hopes GUSA will continue to improve those areas under the Rajan-Wright administration.

Nonetheless, Hampton and Torres were quick to identify areas where they wished they had achieved more. Specifically, Hampton said she wished they had been able to write up a comprehensive housing policy to bring to the administration.

Many of the problems Hampton and Torres faced this year are part of a broader identity crisis that has plagued GUSA since its inception in the 1980s, they said. In attempting to address issues, the Student Association’s role on campus has been repeatedly called into question.

“It is a support group, in my opinion,” Hampton said of GUSA.

Hampton and Torres recently proposed a referendum that would overhaul the GUSA constitution. The proposal generated widespread criticism from many within GUSA, and none of the candidates in this month’s executive elections endorsed the proposal. “Our student government doesn’t motivate students well,” Hampton said.

She also remarked on the difficulty she faced in interacting with the GUSA Assembly. While she said that an effective student government can’t be too small, she said the Assembly’s ambiguous role creates problems.

“I don’t think the Assembly serves any real purpose,” she said.

Torres served in the Assembly for three years before his election as Vice President and relied on significant support from Assembly members during their election last year.

Looking back on last year’s election controversy, Hampton and Torres said they were glad that they were able to use their experience to pass reforms to the election bylaws.

“We had a rough experience,” Torres said. He said that he was pleased with the work Representative Drew Rau (COL ’06) did as chair of the committee that wrote the bylaw reform, but added that more could be done.

Hampton reflected on her treatment by the campus press during the election controversy, which she said was unduly critical.

“I don’t mind negative comments when they’re informed,” Hampton said. She singled out the editorial board of THE HOYA for its treatment of the controversy, saying that many on the board have radical viewpoints that do not speak for the student body.

Ultimately, both Hampton and Torres said they are hopeful that GUSA will be able to work out its internal difficulties and build on what they accomplished over the past year.

“I feel we always had the students’ interests at heart,” Hampton said. She said that she and Torres brought many student groups that normally have difficulty being recognized into the process.

“I think I’m at peace with myself,” Torres said.

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