Three students announced their intention to run for the GUSA presidency in next month’s elections, setting up a race that will pit a two-year veteran of the student association against a two-time unsuccessful Assembly candidate and one candidate with no GUSA experience.

Khalil Hibri (SFS ’07), Twister Murchison (SFS ’08) and Gage Raley (COL ’07) will run for GUSA’s top office, according to a list released yesterday by the Election Commission.

Campaign regulations forbid candidates from speaking to the media before the official campaign period, which starts next Wednesday. The election is scheduled for Feb. 16.

Full election results will be disclosed, after Election Commissioner Benita Sinnarajah (NHS ’06) said earlier this week that GUSA had reversed an earlier decision to withhold the election’s percentage results from the university community.

Murchison is currently serving his second term as an Assembly representative. Hibri made headlines last year when he was disqualified from the Assembly election in April for violating campaign bylaws. Last November, he ran unsuccessfully for one of his class’s open seats. Raley is not involved in GUSA.

Murchison chose Assembly Representative Salik Ishtiaq (SFS ’07) as his running mate. Ishtiaq ran on a ticket with Hibri last semester and was also disqualified. He was elected to the Assembly last November, after running on a ticket with Hibri.

Hibri will run with Geoff Greene (SFS ’07), GUSA’s secretary of external relations. Oxana Miliawa (COL ’07), Raley’s running mate, also has no GUSA experience.

Enoch Bevel (COL ’08), declared his intention to run in the election earlier in the week, with Sarkis Kavarian (COL ’08) on his ticket, but dropped out of the race yesterday.

As it has before, the election could gauge current student interest in the workings of GUSA – in the past, voter turnout in executive elections has hovered just above 30 percent. Sinnarajah said that GUSA does not deserve its reputation for being ineffective and that students should participate in the election.

Sinnarajah also encouraged the candidates to clearly articulate their messages to the student body.

“My big advice to these candidates is to knock on people’s doors,” she said.

GUSA President Pravin Rajan (SFS ’07), who decided not to run for a second term, also encouraged the candidates to communicate with voters, calling a lack of communication “the biggest failure of this administration.”

Rajan also outlined what he believed should be the most important issues in the upcoming campaign, saying that university disciplinary procedures should be the first priority of the next administration.

“I’d make the thing about adjudication – the fact that we have no say in how we get punished,” he said.

Rajan also said that he hoped the next GUSA executives would continue the internal reforms that he began last year following his election. Over the course of his term, Rajan has expanded the scope of the executive branch and reorganized it into several different departments.

“It essentially became like a tribal union,” he said. “Maybe you need that kind of intermediary situation before you can become like a professional organization.”

Sinnarajah said that the candidates have big plans for the campaign.

“Everyone’s looking forward to it – they make me really excited,” she said. “I have a lot of faith in these candidates, and I foresee a great election and things running smoothly.”

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