The Hatchet investigated candidates’ platforms and found that some ideas have failed before, some are out of touch and some are redundant. Here are the top five loopholes in the Student Association president and vice president candidates’ campaigns.
Wants to move Student Health Service closer to campus
Junior Julia Susuni, who is vying for the SA’s highest post, wants to move Student Health Service and the University Counseling Center off K Street and closer to the heart of campus. She proposed Tompkins Hall as a potential open space once engineering departments move into the Science and Engineering Hall in 2015. Senior Associate Dean of Students Mark Levine, who oversees wellness at GW, said SHS’s location is beneficial for students because there is a pharmacy, imaging center and a Quest Lab in the same building. He said the in-house resources allow for faster results. Levine also said that the UCC was moved from a site on-campus to its current spot to provide clients with “anonymity” while still being one block away. He added that he would consider moving both services under one roof “if the right location became available.”
Wants to overhaul the Program Board, when the SA president does not have that power
Freshman presidential candidate Tywan Wade said campus events need improvement. He proposed scrapping Program Board’s current structure and using a public relations committee as well as specific committees devoted to concerts, performing arts, speaker series and special events. But Program Board already has committees broken up by event type, including performing and visual arts, political affairs and concerts, as well as by group needs like marketing, advertising and finances. Chair Lauren Shenfeld said the organization’s current structure is “very effective.” She also said the SA president has no discretion over Program Board’s structure or programmatic goals, beyond suggestions from one student leader to another.
Wants to create a financial literacy program, which the University is already launching
Michael Morgan, who is running for SA president, highlighted increasing financial literacy for students. One idea to tackle this, he said, is to start a program to teach undergraduates how to file their taxes. Graduate MBA students would teach the workshops – an opportunity Morgan said would be a resume-builder. But the Center for Student Engagement has already committed to increasing students’ financial prowess, and it even began a pilot seminar series called “Big Adult Topics” this semester to teach students not only how to file taxes, but also how to pay off student debt and start saving for retirement. The program will launch officially next fall, offering a workshop once a week.
Wants to push for sexual assault policy reform that is already changing
Junior Kostas Skordalos said he wants to put more weight behind preventing sexual assault and supporting survivors. The activist said he wants to strike out the 180-day window for reporting sexual assault to an indefinite time period, but Deputy Title IX Coordinator Tara Pereira already said in January that the University has plans to more than double that time period. He also said he wants to advise Pereira on developing a centralized online resource about sexual violence, which GW already has in the works through a website called HAVEN.
: Wants to add a voting student seat to the Board of Trustees
Sophomore executive vice president candidate Mike Adam said he wants to push administrators to add a voting student seat to the University’s highest governing body, the Board of Trustees – an effort that has repeatedly failed. While some public universities like Pennsylvania State University and the University of Massachusetts have voting students on their boards, student leaders this year said that position may not be ideal promoting student issues because trustees handle long-term financial matters, not items that impact day-to-day campus life. In addition to the SA president’s speaking time before the full board at each meeting, two SA cabinet members serve as non-voting members of the student life and academic affairs committee.
Editor’s Note: The Hatchet also wanted to fact check presidential candidates Michael Morgan and Tywan Wade’s campaign ideas about security but Senior Associate Vice President for Safety and Security Darrell Darnell and Chief of the University Police Department Kevin Hay through University Spokeswoman Michelle Sherrard declined to comment on specific campaign points. Morgan wants to extend the University Police Department’s security I.D. checks in all residence halls from 3 to 7 a.m. but is hazy on where the funding for more student employees will come from. Wade wants to let students from other residence halls tap in without having residents come down to the lobby and give an okay. Wade also wants to have the Vern Express stop in Georgetown on nights and weekends and have UPD officers and 4-RIDE drivers retrained to be “friendlier.”