GUSA this, GUSA that; it seems the election was stolen, so let’s go tit for tat. If you asked me a month ago whether I would have the slightest interest in this year’s GUSA presidential election, my reaction would most likely follow as such: first, I’d laugh, thinking there’s no way you could be serious. Then, I’d grow confused and impatient, thinking that maybe you were trying to sell me something. Until finally, I’d get really suspicious, wondering if you were some kind of hired assassin, sent for me by my enemies. In the end, I would walk away worried, periodically looking over my shoulder to see if I was being followed.

Well as it turns out today, I find myself at Georgetown, downtrodden, yet not without hope that this week’s “technically” marred GUSA election will be nullified and a new election convened.

Since my freshman year, my attitude toward GUSA has always been quite cynical. I always figured there is nothing GUSA could realistically do for Georgetown. I simply assumed the only thing they’re good for is padding resumes and making the elected representatives feel important. Now, while I still believe this to be the case, for many that seek positions in our student government, there seems to be an exception that disproves the rule. So when Stephen Palmese and Tim Nunziata asked me to help them with their campaign and presented me with their ideas, I was sold. I truly believe GUSA could get a lot done, if only it focused on the things it could actually do – to make campus life better. I was sold because I believed GUSA could change if it had new leaders with fresh perspectives and the audacity to implement them. Unfortunately, however, Tuesday’s tainted election results merely reinstated the status quo.

But in any case, I write to you now not as a member of any particular campaign, but as a concerned student. I think I speak for a significant portion of this campus when I say something went wrong. This is no suspicion or hunch – let the facts speak for themselves:

Suspected Tampering: No one should have had access to the election results tallied by 8 p.m., Monday, Feb. 24th. Only the election commissioner and Mr. Justin Palmer were supposed to have that information. Evidently, a number of students managed to hack into the Saxa Server and the information leaked. Now, if people were able to get a hold of the results throughout Election Day by hacking into the server, then they could just as easily have tampered with them. Furthermore, this “unofficial tally” was subsequently posted on GUTV while 300 votes were still pending, in effect, manipulating the remaining voter turnout.

Student Disenfranchisement: Ultimately, the most troubling fact of all is this: on Monday, Feb. 24, 2003, hundreds of Georgetown students were disenfranchised. I have lost count of the number of phone calls I have received from students claiming they tried to vote but could not. Many students registered their email addresses and passwords but never got a response from Mr. Palmer. Other students received the email verification but could not reach the GUSA Elections link. And more than 300 students never even got the e-mail to vote.

Ultimately, the biggest problem with this election was that there were too many students who tried to vote, but could not because of “technical difficulties.” This is a problem that must be addressed and rectified. If the next president and vice president of GUSA are going to be effective leaders, then their leadership must be legitimated by a fair election, one that is not tainted and marred by “technical difficulties.” ore than ever, this election fiasco has placed GUSA’s continuous crisis at center stage. More than ever, the student body must unite to facilitate justice and real change. We, the students of Georgetown, demand a new and fair election.

Dave Gutnik is a junior in the School of Foreign Service. He served as Steve Palmese and Tim Nunziata’s campaign manager.

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