SA Guide: Phil Gardner

Age: 19

Year: Sophomore

Major: Political science and history

Hometown: Tacoma, Wash.

Embarrassing freshman year moment: We once locked one of my roommates in a Thurston closet by putting two dressers in front of the doors and then left for 7-Eleven. We came back to two UPD officers screaming at us about false imprisonment.

Next song University President Steven Knapp should dance to: “Born This Way” by Lady Gaga

Platform: abolish the SA; replace it with an elected group of “student advocates”

Among the seven candidates running for Student Association president, one is running on a very unique platform – to get rid of the SA entirely.

Phil Gardner launched his Abolish the SA campaign in January, citing the SA’s “cycle of failure” in accomplishing anything significant since it was instituted in the 1970s. He announced in February he would run for SA president to use the position to eliminate the organization and start from scratch.

Gardner said his campaign is centered on one specific objective: If elected, he will ask the University’s highest governing body, the Board of Trustees, to revoke the SA’s charter. In its place, he will institute a system of “student advocates” – elected students who will work with GW administrators to get the reforms students want. He said he views the student advocates as “lobbyists” who won’t be mired in the current SA’s bureaucracy.

“The election is meant to serve as a de facto referendum on the Student Association,” Gardner said. “I truly have no desire to serve as a traditional president.”

Gardner insisted that if elected, he would not accept the University’s $15,000 scholarship. Once the student advocate system is in place, he will step down.

“I’m doing this because I care about fixing Gelman, dining at this University is still overpriced, there’s constant complaints about residence halls where you can’t get reliable Internet,” Gardner said. “I’m not going to promise to fix those things. My only promise is we’re going to get rid of the system and allow others who really want to spend their time doing that the ability to do that.”

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