GW freshmen expressed disillusion with their first campus election season amid the recounting and re-postering that signals runoffs for Student Association president and executive vice president.
But some first-year students defended the SA and the political nature of election season.
“These candidates say things to make it look pretty but none of it ever gets done,” Emmanuella Duplessy said.
She said she was disappointed because she sees the elections simply as popularity contests, nothing more.
Sasha Sagalovich said SA candidates were not visible or accessible. She said she “just saw slogans” and did not think candidates made the effort to make her aware of the issues.
Freshman David Moora said he was frustrated the results seemed to change overnight and called the discovery of extra votes “weird.”
After recounting votes Friday, the Joint Elections Committee found their original Thursday tally, which declared Alexis Rice president-elect, was incorrect. Instead, the recount showed that Rice and Phil Meisner would face off in a runoff election. JEC members also discovered that a runoff for SA executive vice president race would feature candidates Caity Leu and Derek Grosso, not Leu and Cat Sadler, as they originally reported.
Other freshmen were uninformed about the elections and the ensuing controversy. Norraine Buttar said she did not vote because she was not convinced the SA accomplished anything.
“I always felt (SA members) thought they had more importance than they really have,” Becky Byrd said.
But freshmen who have participated in the SA this year offered a different perspective.
Jayson Winn, who ran for an undergraduate Senate seat in the Columbian School of Arts and Sciences, said he came to GW because of its location in the nation’s most political city and said he expected the SA elections to be competitive.
“Of course, it’s going to be political on campus. That’s what everyone is here for,” Winn said. “If you don’t like it, go to another school with lots of trees and grass.”
One freshman said the problems with the elections reflect the difficulties that always are present in the SA.
“It’s absolutely ridiculous because everyone’s been complaining about the SA not being accountable and now the election is even messed up,” Stephanie Richmond said. “They can’t even appoint the right people for the job.”
Julie Radocchia, a legislative assistant for many SA members, said students should not judge the SA on elections alone. But she said she understands why students outside the SA might get disillusioned during the campaign season. Radocchia said the SA could be more effective and has potential.
“(The SA) can do things for students,” she said.
Still, many freshmen remain unconvinced. Kevin Flasch’s apathy about the SA seemed to reflect the sentiments of many GW students.
“I have no opinion,” he said. “I don’t care.”
-Russ Rizzo contributed to this report.