Program Board, Class Council endorse SA candidate for first time

GW Program Board and GW Class Council endorsed Student Association presidential candidate SJ Matthews Tuesday, marking the first time the two groups have backed someone vying for a position on the student government.

Matthews, the president of the Residence Hall Association, will compete against freshman Justin Diamond in a runoff election Thursday after none of the four candidates for SA president reached the 40 percent threshold required to secure a win last week. Diamond, who launched a last-minute write-in campaign for the SA’s top post last Monday, is running on a platform of renouncing the SA president’s $15,000 scholarship and abolishing the SA.

“When students have a seat at the table — in Board of Trustees meetings, with President [Thomas] LeBlanc and with our student affairs administrators – outcomes for students are better,” the student organizations wrote. “Eliminating representation does not stick it to the man, it makes it easier for the man to stick it to you.”

Program Board Chairman Reed Elman Waxham said the organizations typically do not support SA candidates because students also elect Program Board and Class Council representatives during SA elections. But he said members “felt it was important” to endorse someone this year both because the election advanced to a runoff and because they oppose the proposed eradication of student government.

The groups wrote that Matthews’ platform, which is largely focused on building community, is not reliant on “angsty” memes but tackles issues like food insecurity and academic technology. Diamond’s candidacy took off on the GW memes Facebook group last week, and the page is now called “GW Memes for pro-Justin Diamond teens.”

“I’ve worked with University administrators to revitalize student health care, to improve the campus community and to advocate for students on a wide range of issues,” Waxham said in the endorsement post. “I know what it takes to be a successful advocate for students, and SJ has it.”

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