Two candidates for Student Association executive vice president entered the race with different backgrounds but the same goal: addressing wrongdoings at GW. Andy Liaupsin came into the race with experience in advocating for fossil fuel divestment and fair wages for workers. Brandon Hill entered with experience in working with the SA to pass legislation that will benefit all students.
Both candidates have an idea of what they want the University to look like, but their visions could not be more different. Hill’s platform works in the best interest of students, and the editorial board felt that his experience in the SA would give him a leg up in the job.
Hill’s detailed steps on how to execute his plans stood out because he not only has a plan that will benefit all students, but he has carefully thought out how that vision will come to fruition. His platform encompassed everything from short-term goals like expanding GW Listens to sweeping financial aid reform. When we sat down with Hill, he emphasized his track record within the SA as a senator and the connections he has built with administrators along the way.
As a senator, Hill worked within the Black Senators’ Caucus to help students after a racist incident, advocated for in-person diversity training and worked to host an inaugural conference on LGBTQ health. He also supported the call for divestment through legislation and participation in protests. Given the pattern of racist incidents over the past couple of years, the SA needs a candidate who will prioritize fostering a diverse and inclusive campus. We were impressed to see that he had already taken steps within the SA to address the issue, a topic that was missing from Liaupsin’s platform.
Hill’s platform tackles some of the University’s most pressing topics, including financial aid reform and better recognition for the Mount Vernon Campus. He also included relatively smaller goals like expanding GW Listens to operate outside of the SA office. Hill demonstrated that some initiatives may take longer to see through, while others can be done within a year in office.
While Hill’s SA experience gives him an edge, we were still impressed with Liaupsin. As just a freshman, he has been active in organizations like Sunrise GW and the Progressive Student Union. It shows in his platform that he has advocated strongly for fair wages for workers, improving GW’s security and addressing flaws in the next strategic plan.
But we had concerns about the feasibility of his platform. Liaupsin’s platform included several radical changes to campus life like abolishing the GW Police Department and replacing them with Student Access Monitors. The editorial board felt these changes would be dangerous for campus safety and decrease trust in the security department.
To Liaupsin’s credit, he is dedicated to campus activism, but the SA needs to be able to run independently of student organizations and represent all students, not just those in Sunrise GW and the Progressive Student Union. A crucial role of SA leadership is to be able to work with the administration to achieve goals and advocate on behalf of all student needs. While his platform emphasized the need for officials to act on divestment and improve conditions for workers, his platform lacked any tangible steps to execute the plan. When we spoke with him, he also had not spoken with officials about his plans. Liaupsin would be doing students a disservice by only representing a portion of campus and alienating administration while doing so.
There are many positives and negatives to working within the SA and electing an SA insider. It is easy for those in the SA to become trapped in the SA bubble and forget that they represent all students. But it can also be positive because electing someone within the SA means they can build on existing relationships with officials and other SA leaders.
For all of his previous work in the SA, Hill has shown that he is able to reach all students and administration on what needs to be done and how to do it. His ability to adjust and change his plans based on what is feasible but will still get him the results he wants impressed us. Hill informed us that he removed part of his initial platform that focused on releasing financial aid packages earlier after he met with an official who told him it would not be possible to implement. His flexibility and ability to listen to officials is needed in a student leader.
It is clear to us that Hill can lead the SA with his experience, administrative support and passion. Vote for Hill for SA executive vice president this upcoming Wednesday and Thursday.
The editorial board is composed of Hatchet staff members and operates separately from the newsroom. This week’s piece was written by opinions editor Kiran Hoeffner-Shah and contributing opinions editor Hannah Thacker based on conversations with The Hatchet’s editorial board, which is composed of copy editor Natalie Prieb, managing director Leah Potter, design editor Olivia Columbus, sports editor Emily Maise and culture editor Sidney Lee.
Want to respond to this piece? Submit a letter to the editor.