Student politicians have joined unified platforms, drafted legislation to overhaul the Student Association and clashed on the campaign trail in the week leading up to this week’s SA and Program Board elections.
Three candidates are running for SA president, pitting Change for Students member Daniel Loren against community facilitator Roger Kapoor and Delta Tau Delta President Bob Simon.
Loren, a junior, runs on the Change for Students platform for sweeping change of the SA, advocating a constitution referendum he co-authored. The proposed constitution seeks to split the SA into an undergraduate and graduate councils and increase the number of senators.
Juniors Kapoor and Simon expressed reservations about the referendum at a debate Thursday night in the Hippodrome. Although Loren’s opponents said they agree with the idea of a split, they said the new constitution is poorly written and grammatically flawed.
Calling for a more service-oriented SA and monthly State of the SA
speeches, Kapoor attempts to drive home his motto, “I will put the you back in GWU.”
While Loren, a former SA senator, and Kapoor, SA director of campus spirit, have experience in the SA, Simon is running as a non-politico vowing to “fight like hell” with the administration.
“I will not be afraid to use this position,” Simon said Thursday night.
A lackluster turnout to the “get to know the candidates” forum with Program Board, Marvin Center Governing Board and SA candidates became a debate among the candidates in front of their own campaigners.
“The lack of turnout is really indicative of the greater problem with the Student Association as officials within the organization have failed in attracting students,” said sophomore Mike Pellegrino, a candidate for SA executive vice president on the Change for Students platform. “Students have a right not to care, if I wasn’t running I wouldn’t have come to the forum.”
Pellegrino runs against current SA vice president of judicial and legislative affairs Josh Singer, a sophomore, and seven-year SA member J.P. Blackford, a graduate engineering student.
The Joint Elections Committee ruled Sunday that Loren and Pellegrino violated campaign rules when they parked a car plastered with campaign signs for Change for Students before the 5:30 p.m. postering start time Wednesday.
Pellegrino, who now has three violations, and Loren, who has four, said they will fight the ruling in student court.
“The JEC cannot have jurisdiction over H Street if the University has none,” Loren said after giving his testimony. “The car is my private property and it was parked on D.C. streets, the violation process is ridiculous and rules have to be cut.”
The JEC removes candidates with eight or more violations from the ballot. No other EVP or presidential candidates have violations.
Almost all SA presidential and Senate candidates advocate fairer funding and a more responsive SA, but the constitution referendum has caused the most conflict. Candidates have zeroed in on the new constitution proposed by Change for Students.
Alicia O’Neil runs unopposed for PB chair. There is a two-way race for vice chair between GWUnited member Bernard Pollack and current PB Political Affairs Chair Bryan Gless.
Pollack promised more funding for diverse student talent Thursday, while Gless concentrated on his PB experience and promised more programs similar to what students saw this year.