ILLUSTRATION BY SAMUEL NELSON/THE HOYA

Students Set to Vote for President Amid Declining Trust in GUSA

ILLUSTRATIONS BY EMILY SHAMBAUGH/THE HOYA | Students ranked sexual assault policy as the most important issue in today’s election in a Wednesday night poll by The Hoya.

By Deepika Jonnalagadda
Feb. 8, 2019

As Georgetown University Student Association executive candidates seek to make their platforms relevant to students, trust in student government remains low, raising fears of low voter turnout.

Of the respondents, 2 percent rated their current trust in GUSA as strong, while 38.9 percent listed their trust in GUSA as weak, according to a door-to-door poll of 615 students conducted by The Hoya on Wednesday evening. 35 percent of respondents said they were uncertain.

Outgoing GUSA President Juan Martinez (SFS ’20) also expressed concerns about how many students will go to the polls. 58 percent of respondents said they planned to vote in today’s election, while 42 percent said they are not planning to vote.

“I’m kind of worried for this vote count, just seeing the enthusiasm or the attention given to these elections,” Martinez said at The Hoya’s post-debate analysis Tuesday. “I’m wondering how many people are going to turn out at the polls, how many people are actually going to vote and how is that going to impact the person who gets elected, or how is that going to give more credence to this movement about abolishing GUSA or maybe just fundamentally restructuring GUSA.”

Overall voter turnout was 39 percent last year and 38 percent in 2017, according to the GUSA Election commission.

In a campaign season dominated by outsider tickets and unprecedented circumstances, candidates are striving to engage students with relevant platforms.

The four tickets vying for the GUSA executive in today’s election are Norman Francis Jr. (COL ’20) and Aleida Olvera (COL ’20); Nicki Gray (NHS ’20); Sina Nemazi (COL ’21) and Roya Wolfe (SFS ’21); Ryan Zuccala (MSB ’20) and John Dolan (MSB ’20).

Voting Rules Affect GUSA Campaign Strategy

AMBER GILLETTE / THE HOYA | Clockwise from left to right: Norman Francis Jr. (COL ’20), right, and Aleida Olvera (COL ’20); Nicki Gray (NHS ’20); Sina Nemazi (COL ’21), right, and Roya Wolfe (SFS ’21); and Ryan Zuccala (MSB ’20) and John Dolan (MSB ’20).

By Joshua Levy
Feb. 8, 2019

Throughout the campaign season for this year’s Georgetown University Student Association executive election, the four tickets have focused not only on their policies, but also the rules and processes of the race.

In today’s election, the ballots will offer voters the opportunity to rank candidates by order of preference. Unlike the United States’ electoral college voting process, the single transferable voting used by GUSA allows for a form of an instantaneous runoff election.

If no ticket initially wins an absolute majority of first-choice votes, the ticket with the fewest first-choice votes is eliminated and has its votes redistributed according to the second-choices indicated on those ballots. Through this process, the instant runoff election continues until one ticket has the support of 50 percent of all voters. In general, few tickets earn a majority in the first round and most GUSA elections last until the second or third round.

Voters will rank their choices between the tickets of Norman Francis Jr. (COL ’20) and Aleida Olvera (COL ’20); Nicki Gray (NHS ’20); Sina Nemazi (COL ’21) and Roya Wolfe (SFS ’21); and Ryan Zuccala (MSB ’20) and John Dolan (MSB ’20).

Survey Shows Low Trust in GUSA, Tight Executive Race

ILLUSTRATION BY EMILY SHAMBAUGH/THE HOYA | In a door-to-door poll conducted Wednesday night, Nicki Gray (NHS ’20) led by 6.6 points leading up to Friday’s executive election. Respondents rated sexual assault policy and affordability as the most relevant issues in this week’s election.

By Cady Stanton
Feb. 7, 2019

Nicki Gray (NHS ’20) leads by a 6.6 point margin for Georgetown University Student Association president, according to a door-to-door poll of 615 students conducted by The Hoya on Wednesday evening. The election is set for Friday, Feb. 8.

Gray was the first preference of 34.7 percent of the 357 self-identified likely voters. Norman Francis Jr. (COL ’20) and Aleida Olvera (COL ’20) were close behind at 28.1 percent. Sina Nemazi (COL ’21) and Roya Wolfe (SFS ’21) came in third with 20 percent of the vote, while Ryan Zuccala (MSB ’20) and John Dolan (MSB ’20) came in fourth with 9.7 percent. Respondents who were undecided or wrote in candidates made up 7.5 percent of the total.

The poll’s narrow margin suggests no candidate will receive a majority of votes in the first round of voting. If no ticket receives an outright majority in the first round, an instant runoff is conducted between the top performing tickets, per GUSA’s single transferable vote system. In this ranked choice system, the ticket with the lowest vote total is eliminated, and their votes are redistributed to the remaining candidates based on voters’ indicated second preferences until one ticket receives a majority.

2 percent of respondents rated their current trust in GUSA as strong. 23.9 percent of students listed their trust in GUSA as medium, and 38.9 percent of respondents listed their trust in GUSA as weak.  35 percent said they were indifferent/unsure.

GUSA is somewhat relevant, according to 54 percent of respondents. 40.3 percent said GUSA is not at all relevant, and 5.7 responded it was very relevant.

In GUSA Presidential Debate, Candidates Call for Increased Student Input

MARGARET FOUBERG FOR THE HOYA | From left to right: GUSA Presidential candidates Sina Nemazi (COL ’21), Nicki Gray (NHS ’20), Ryan Zuccala (MSB ’20) and Norman Francis Jr. (COL ’20) offered their views on topics such as the GU272 referendum and student activism at a debate Tuesday night.

By Cady Stanton
Feb. 6, 2019

Four presidential candidates for the Georgetown University Student Association executive shared their varying policy approaches at Tuesday night’s presidential debate, expanding on issues ranging from the GU272 referendum and student advocacy recognition to the flaws of GUSA.

Norman Francis Jr. (COL ’20), Nicki Gray (NHS ’20), Sina Nemazi (COL ’21) and Ryan Zuccala (MSB ’20) detailed their policies on Title IX regulations and tuition during the event. The executive election is set for Friday, Feb. 8.

2 GUSA VP Candidates: Elevate Student Advocacy

SHEEL PATEL / THE HOYA | Aleida Olvera (COL ’20), left, and Roya Wolfe (SFS ’21) spoke on topics of accessibility, free speech and tuition in a GUSA vice presidential debate Thursday night.

By Cady Stanton
Feb. 1, 2019

Two Georgetown University Student Association vice presidential candidates expressed views on topics ranging from free speech and tuition reform to the representation of marginalized students at a debate Thursday evening.

Aleida Olvera (COL ’20) and Roya Wolfe (SFS ’21) opened with their campaigns’ policy priorities and answered questions from campus media outlets including The Hoya, The Georgetown Voice, and The Georgetown Review. Audience members and Twitter users also supplied questions for the candidates. The debate was hosted by the GU Election Commission in the Intercultural Center.

Vice presidential candidate John Dolan (MSB ’20) was not present at the debate. Dolan and his running mate Ryan Zuccala (MSB ’20) instead posted a video on their campaign’s Facebook page answering questions submitted by Georgetown students. In addition, Nicki Gray (NHS ’20) is running a solo presidential campaign.

Francis, Olvera Stress Accessibility

AMBER GILLETTE/THE HOYA | Norman Francis Jr. (COL ’20), right, and Aleida Olvera (COL ’20) are seeking student input to bolster their platform.

By Deepika Jonnalagadda
Feb. 1, 2019

Long before launching their bid for the Georgetown University Student Association executive, Norman Francis Jr. (COL ’20) and Aleida Olvera (COL ’20) bonded in the first few weeks of their freshman year, after Olvera witnessed Francis attempt to climb a doorway in Village C West.

Since freshman year, the two have remained close friends, making the decision to expand their personal relationship into a political one last week. Francis and Olvera’s campaign is centered on the themes of transparency, reform, accessibility and progress — or “T.R.A.P.,” as the pair have labelled it.

Though they had chosen to run the day before the final executive election info session, Francis said his ability to work well under deadlines serves as previous experience working under a tight timeline.

“I decided to run last week,” Francis said Sunday in an interview with The Hoya. “I’m a Georgetown student, I like living life under pressure. On one Friday, I finished three finals — I wrote 22 pages from three different finals — so I like working under pressure.”

Gray Sets Precedent as Solo Candidate

AMBER GILLETTE/THE HOYA | In her campaign, Nicki Gray (NHS ’20) plans to emphasize enhanced support for survivors of interpersonal violence.

By Riley Rogerson and Cady Stanton
Feb. 1, 2019

As a solo candidate, Georgetown University Student Association presidential candidate Nicki Gray (NHS ’20) promises to collaborate with student leaders and support survivors of interpersonal violence.

Gray is running for the GUSA executive without a vice presidential candidate after her former running mate, Sam Appel (COL ’20), removed his name from the executive ballot Monday night.

Despite losing her vice presidential candidate, Gray highlighted the ongoing support from her campaign staff.

“I’m running alone in the sense that my name is the only one on the ballot, but I’m by no means running alone,” Gray said Wednesday in an interview with The Hoya. “I have an amazing team to support me, an amazing group of people that I’ve been learning from throughout this entire process, from the time I decided to run.”

Nemazi, Wolfe Hope to ‘Run for All’

AMBER GILLETTE/THE HOYA | Sina Nemazi (COL ’21), right, and Roya Wolfe (SFS ’21) are focused on dining reform and female empowerment.

By Cady Stanton
Feb. 1, 2019

Sina Nemazi (COL ’21) and Roya Wolfe (SFS ’21) met at Georgetown’s International Relations Summer Program in 2015, two years before enrolling at Georgetown and long before entering the 2019 Georgetown University Student Association executive race. Now, the pair believe their different experiences working with campus leaders will serve as assets in their campaign for greater representation of student voices.

Nemazi and Wolfe’s campaign slogan, “Run For All,” has an additional reading of “Run With All” because of their emphasis on working alongside leaders of student groups in their advocacy, according to Wolfe.

“We want to be able to be a group where people go to for help, to tell stories. We want to be able to be the group that listens, not the group that only speaks,” Wolfe said Sunday in an interview with The Hoya.

Zuccala, Dolan Tackle GUSA Inefficiencies

AMBER GILLETTE/THE HOYA | Ryan Zuccala (MSB ’20), left, and John Dolan (MSB ’20) want to pressure the administration to reduce tuition.

By Chelsea Hafer
Feb. 1, 2019

After training alongside each other for three years on the Georgetown men’s lightweight crew team, Ryan Zuccala (MSB ’20) and John Dolan (MSB ’20) are running for the Georgetown University Student Association executive to combat perceived inefficiencies of student government.

Friends and acquaintances told the pair they sought a productive GUSA executive, inspiring Zuccala and Dolan to announce their candidacy on a platform centered around actionable goals, according to Zuccala.

“The emails started to come out about GUSA and we started to ask some people what they think,” Zuccala said Monday interview with The Hoya. “People didn’t really know what GUSA did so they felt like GUSA never really represented them or got anything done that they wanted. We thought about it, and one day we were hanging out and the idea started to form.”

Appel Exits GUSA Senate, Drops Exec Bid; Gray to Run Alone

AMBER GILLETTE/THE HOYA | Sam Appel (COL ’20), right, resigned from the GUSA senate and stepped down from the executive race Monday night. His former running mate Nicki Gray (NHS ’20) announced she is continuing her run for GUSA president alone Tuesday evening.

By Deepika Jonnalagadda and Yasmine Salam
Jan. 29, 2019

Sam Appel (COL ’20) resigned from the Georgetown University Student Association senate and stepped down from his bid for GUSA vice president on a ticket with Nicki Gray (NHS ’20) Monday evening. Gray has since continued her campaign without a running mate.

Gray is permitted to continue her campaign for president alone, according to GUSA Election Commissioner Minji Doh (SFS ’19). If elected, Gray would appoint a vice president once in office.

A solo candidate has never run in a student government presidential race in GUSA’s electoral records, which span the last 20 years of GUSA’s 35-year history, according to GUSA Historian Henry Westerman (SFS ’21).

After meeting on Monday evening, Gray and Appel reached the conclusion that Appel would remove his name from the ballot and resign from the GUSA senate immediately. At this time, Gray has agreed to keep the reasoning for Appel’s departure private because of a third-party request, according to campaign manager Marc Pitrois (SFS ’20).

Candidates Set Sights on GUSA Executive

KIKI SCHMALFUSS/THE HOYA | Norman Francis Jr. (COL ’20) and Aleida Olvera (COL ’20), Nicki Gray (NHS ’20) and Sam Appel (COL ’20), and Sina Nemazi (COL ’21) and Roya Wolfe (SFS ’21) launched GUSA campaigns in Red Square on Friday morning. Ryan Zuccala (MSB ’20) and John Dolan (MSB ’20) are also running.

By Cady Stanton and Riley Rogerson
Jan. 25, 2019

Three tickets launched their campaigns and a fourth confirmed its candidacy for the Georgetown University Student Association 2019 executive election early Friday morning, with candidates calling for greater campus inclusivity and stressing realistic goals.

The four announced tickets are: Norman Francis Jr. (COL ’20) and Aleida Olvera (COL ’20); Nicki Gray (NHS ’20) and Sam Appel (COL ’20); Sina Nemazi (COL ’21) and Roya Wolfe (SFS ’21); Ryan Zuccala (MSB ’20) and John Dolan (MSB ’20). All four tickets are officially registered to run, co-chair of the GUSA Election Commission Grant Castle (SFS ’21) said.

Typical to the start of every GUSA executive election season, Francis-Olvera, Gray-Appel and Nemazi-Wolfe arrived in Red Square with their campaign staff and posters just after midnight to mark the official start of their campaign season.

While not present alongside the three tickets in Red Square, Zuccala and Dolan are confirmed to have entered the race.

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