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Friday, March 27, 2015 12:55 a.m.

Photos: 2015 Student Association Elections

Updated: March 27, 2015 at 11:39 a.m.

Junior Andie Dowd hugs presidential candidate Ben Pryde after the presidential results were announced. Dowd won this year’s election with with 2,659 votes in a three-candidate field. Desiree Halpern | Contributing Photo Editor

Junior Andie Dowd hugs presidential candidate Ben Pryde after the results were announced. Dowd won this year’s election with 2,659 votes in a three-candidate field.
Desiree Halpern | Contributing Photo Editor

 

Alexandra Puig, vice chair of the Joint Elections Committee, reads election results to students in J street Thursday night. Desiree Halpern | Contributing Photo Editor

Lisa Rocco, a Center for Student Engagement staff member and the Joint Elections Committee’s adviser, reads election results to students in J Street on Thursday night. Desiree Halpern | Contributing Photo Editor

 

Charles Spirtos was one of three ESIA-U senators elected Thursday night. Jordan McDonald | Hatchet Photographer

Charles Spirtos was one of three ESIA-U senators elected Thursday night. Jordan McDonald | Hatchet Photographer

 

Students crowded in J Street to hear the results of the SA election. 5,456 students voted in this year’s election, a record number compared to previous years, which have been marked with sub-par turnout for a student body of more than 25,000. Desiree Halpern | Contributing Photo Editor

Students crowded in J Street to hear the results of the SA election. A total of 5,456 students voted in this year’s election, a record number compared to previous years, which have been marked by sub-par turnout for a student body of more than 25,000. Desiree Halpern | Contributing Photo Editor

 

Sophomore Thomas Falcigno was one of six CCAS-U senators elected. He will serve his second term as an SA senator starting in May. Jordan McDonald | Hatchet Photographer

Sophomore Thomas Falcigno was one of six CCAS-U senators elected. He will serve his second term as an SA senator starting in May. Jordan McDonald | Hatchet Photographer

 

During his tenure as SA president, this year Nick Gumas successfully completed two major initiatives - creating a peer support program and reducing the costs of internships. Desiree Halpern | Contributing Photo Editor

During his tenure as SA president this year, Nick Gumas successfully completed two major initiatives – creating a peer-support program and reducing the costs of internships. Desiree Halpern | Contributing Photo Editor

 

This post was updated to reflect the following correction:
In a photo caption, The Hatchet incorrectly identified CSE staff member Lisa Rocco as Alexandra Puig, vice chair of the Joint Elections Committee. We regret this error.

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Junior Andie Dowd won the Student Association president spot Thursday with 52.6 percent of the vote. Desiree Halpern | Contributing Photo Editor

Junior Andie Dowd won the Student Association president position Thursday with 52.6 percent of the vote. Desiree Halpern | Contributing Photo Editor

Updated: March 27, 2015 at 12:34 p.m.

Junior Andie Dowd was elected the next president of the Student Association on Thursday, winning the bid with 52.6 percent of the vote.

Dowd’s platform focused on improving health and wellness resources on campus, including placing sexual assault hotline numbers on the back of GWorld cards, putting sexual assault resources on GW’s smartphone app and improving 4-RIDE services. She also committed to leading the implementation of a peer-support program, which this year’s executives prioritized.

Junior Casey Syron won the executive vice president race with 2,213 votes. Katie Causey | Hatchet Staff Photographer

Junior Casey Syron won the executive vice presidential race with 2,213 votes. Katie Causey | Hatchet Staff Photographer

“I’m grateful for our team,” Dowd said after the results were announced.

Casey Syron won the executive vice presidential post with 2,213 votes, or about 44 percent — four percentage points higher than the threshold he needed to cross before the race went to a runoff.

Dowd held positions on the SA as a member of the Freshman Advisory Council and was the director of new students her sophomore year. She helped create a new SA position geared toward transfer students, and this year she served as the vice president for undergraduate student policy in the executive cabinet, where she focused on non-academic policies for undergraduates.

Syron held a position on the SA as a senator this year, representing Columbian College of Arts and Sciences undergraduates. His platform included goals for healthier campus dining, free counseling sessions and expanding 4-RIDE’s boundaries.

“We’ve been planning for a runoff this entire week, so it’s very relieving knowing that we won’t have to, cause now I can sleep,” Syron said.

A record total of 5,456 students voted in this year’s election — a number marked in recent years by sub-par turnout for a student body of more than 25,000.

The referenda on the ballot passed with an overwhelming success: Mandatory sexual assault prevention and intervention training at Colonial Inauguration secured 4,800 votes in favor, or 92 percent of the vote. Disclosing how much GW invests in fossil fuel companies and removing them from the endowment, known as divesting, won 3,697 votes, or 71.7 percent.

The referenda follow years of student lobbying. Current SA President Nick Gumas highlighted sexual assault prevention training at the February Board of Trustees meeting, and the student organization Fossil Free GW has pushed for divestment for more than a year.

Gumas said he was “excited for next year” and was thrilled with the results for the sexual assault education referendum.

“This sends a clear message to the University that this needs to be implemented for this coming CI and every incoming student for the class of 2019 has comprehensive education on the issue of sexual violence,” he said.

Last year, Gumas won the post of SA president in a two-candidate race with a record 2,092 votes. Dowd won this year’s election with with 2,659 votes in a three-candidate field.

Here is the full list of this year’s winners. The names of the winners are italicized:

Student Association President
Andie Dowd (2659)
Ben Pryde (1895)
Alex Cho (539)
Student Association Executive Vice President
Casey Syron (2213)
Spencer Perry (1373)
Carlo Wood (1365)
Undergraduate-at-Large Senator
Nancy Mannebach (2383)
Sean Kumnick (1835)
Alec DiFruscia (1085)
Jonng Hyup Lee (821)
Graduate-at-Large Senator
Alissa Fromkin (259)
Lacey Bruske (191)
Josh Harmon (158)
Kevin Fairdosi (155)
CCAS Undergraduate Senator
Thomas Falcigno (1277)
Erika Feinman (1250)
Melissa Lawrence (1249)
Nick Watkins (1193)
Kathleen Hunt (1158)
Evan Bursey (1045)
Juan Pablo Rivera Garza (884)
CCAS Graduate Senator
Monika Jansen (87)
Miguel Angel Torthon Granados (65)
Brady Forrest (60)
Matej Jovanovic (54)
CPS Undergraduate Senator
Write-in candidate
CPS Graduate Senator
Write-in candidate
GSEHD Senator
Write-in candidates
Law School Senator
Results pending
SEAS Undergraduate Senator
Zachary Graybill (193)
Ramie Abounaja (88)
SEAS Graduate Senator
Write-in candidates
SMHS Undergraduate Senator
Unfulfilled
SMHS Graduate Senator
Arielle Katcher (117)
Madelyn Hernandez (68)
Joshua Slocum (46)
ESIA Undergraduate Senator
Charles Spirtos (488)
Rohan Bhargava (458)
Eric Beeler (400)
Cristian Vides (381)
Parth Taparia (366)
ESIA Graduate Senator
John Blaha (n/a)
GWSB Undergraduate Senator
Alyssa Weakley (327)
Paden Gallagher (221)
Bhujit Saini (152)
GWSB Graduate Senator
Mohammed Rumzee (n/a)
SON Graduate Senator
Unfulfilled
SPHHS Undergraduate Senator
Nicole Martin (n/a)
SPHHS Graduate Senator
Molly Benoit
Program Board Chair
Seth Gold
Program Board Vice Chair
Jackie Susuni

Jacqueline Thomsen, Ryan Lasker and Mary Ellen McIntire contributed reporting.

This post was updated to reflect the following corrections:
The Hatchet incorrectly reported candidates’ percentages of the total vote. As the vote totals were being announced, we used the reported total vote number. Later, the JEC reported the total percentages for each race. We regret these errors.

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GW signed off on final agreements with the Corcoran College of Art + Design Thursday. Hatchet File Photo.

The Corcoran’s 17th Street building has been on the National Historic Registry since 1992. Hatchet File Photo.

The D.C. Historic Preservation Review Board delayed its vote on whether the Corcoran Gallery of Art’s historic status includes its interior to next month, the Washington Post reported.

The board was supposed to vote on GW’s plans Thursday to renovate the 17th Street building, but board members said that since the University submitted more information for the case, more review will be needed before a decision can be made.

The Corcoran’s more than 118-year-old Beaux Arts building has been on the National Historic Registry since 1992, the Post reported. GW’s plans to renovate the building include updating bathrooms and moving classroom space. University President Steven Knapp said when GW absorbed the Corcoran College that it would spend $25 million in the first phase of renovations.

The Foggy Bottom and West End Advisory Neighborhood Commission backed GW’s plan to renovate only certain parts of the historic building.

Charles Barber, GW’s deputy general counsel, said the University supports keeping “largely ceremonial spaces” – like the building’s rotunda – untouched, but other spaces should be updated.

“We need greater flexibility to shape its space for arts education,” he told the panel.

The vote will now take place April 23, the Post reported.

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Thursday, March 26, 2015 9:04 p.m.

The Hatchet’s 2015 SA Elections Liveblog

Follow along as The Hatchet presents breaking news on SA elections from the heart of GW democracy – J Street.

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Nearly 800 people have signed a petition asking the University to restore funding to the music department, as well as the theater and dance department.

The petition gathered 793 signatures as of Thursday morning, nearly a week after students learned about how course offerings for next semester would be affected by University-wide budget cuts.

One-on-one instrumental lessons will be reserved for majors and minors only and the department will decrease from two bands and two choruses to one of each.

Professors have said that the cuts could shrink the department by at least 40 percent and that they could make it difficult for the department to attract the most-talented students.

The petition states that the cuts will also affect the music department’s collaboration with other arts departments, like the theater and dance department. Courses that aren’t required for theater and dance major or minors are being cut, it says.

All academic departments and administrative divisions around the University have been asked to cut their budgets for next year by about 5 percent to make up for overspending and revenue from tuition falling below projections.

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Updated: March 25, 2016 at 12:08 p.m.

The Student Association debate took place Tuesday evening in the Jack Morton Auditorium.

Candidates for executive vice president and president answered questions from reporters and student leaders – with topics ranging from platforms to favorite Chipotle orders – during the two-and-a-half-hour event.

Elections for the 2015-2016 Student Association will be held on Wednesday and Thursday.

Video by Diana Marinaccio.

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This post was written by Hatchet reporter Henry Klapper.

Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D–D.C.) hosted a panel on threats to women’s reproductive health in a talk at GW Hospital Tuesday.

Norton spoke alongside leaders from Planned Parenthood and Reproductive Rights Action League. The group urged the audience to “Fight for our right to choose.”

1. Spreading awareness

Norton said women need to “go on the offensive” in the fight for women’s rights to make choices about their reproductive health. She said being aware was the first step to reforming anti-abortion laws across the nation.

“Nothing is more under attack than reproductive choice in America today,” Norton said.

Norton said that the progress made for women in the Supreme Court’s landmark Roe v. Wade decision is quickly being lost following Republican efforts at the state and federal levels.

In 2013, nearly two dozen states enacted 70 anti-abortion regulations ranging from requirements at clinics to bans on insurance coverage of abortion, according to the Guttmacher Institute.

“We need to be visible in the fight,” said Norton. “We need evidence of our consciousness.”

Jacqueline Ayers, director of legislative affairs of Planned Parenthood said women need to be vocal about “anything that interferes with our health.”

2. Not just a woman’s problem

Norton said that reproductive health is a broader family issue – not just a woman’s problem.

The panel invited several guest speakers to share their stories on the importance of giving a woman the right to choose.

One speaker was Christy Zink, an assistant writing professor and the director of the University Writing Center. Zink shared her story about the decision she and her husband made to terminate her second pregnancy after she learned her child would be born with a birth defect that would lead to severe pain and constant seizures.

“The choice didn’t come out of laziness, contrary to the common arguments against abortion,” Zink said, adding that she was speaking as a mother at the panel, not a professor.

3. Call to action

Norton repeatedly said pro-choice women need to make themselves visible – and make themselves heard.

“There are disadvantages to social media,” Norton said. “You need to march, you need to demonstrate evidence of your ideas.”

She said students should be “on the front lines” of fighting for reproductive rights. She said she decided to hold the panel at GW because she was “very impressed” with students’ activism around the issue.

Shannon MacLeod, the president of GW Voices for Choices, also spoke at the panel.

“Choice is an issue that directly affects young women,” MacLeod said. “Women are extremely affected by the stigma around abortion in the media and women are paying attention to it. People aren’t aware of what they are facing.”

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Updated: March 24, 2015 at 3:16 p.m.

This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Victoria Sheridan.

Allied in Pride and GW’s Young America’s Foundation released a statement Monday about how they could work together to foster “a comfortable campus environment.”

YAF leaders said they still oppose mandated diversity trainings but would work with Allied in Pride to plan a separate event about tolerance on campus. Earlier this month, Allied in Pride released a statement that YAF leaders’ refusal to use preferred gender pronouns was an “act of violence.”

“Both of our organizations are in agreement regarding the importance of diversity, inclusion, and tolerance,” the groups’ joint statement read. “We simply disagree over proposed methods of instilling these values in the student body.”

That statement also comes after Allied in Pride called on the Student Association to defund the conservative group for opposing mandated diversity trainings.

The proposed trainings were part of a series of bills related to LGBT issues on campus that the SA passed last month. Dean of Student Affairs Peter Konwerski said in a statement two weeks ago that the University had not yet seen a copy of the bills, which he said act as a “recommendation” for officials to consider.

Student organization presidents and treasurers are already required to participate in a day-long set of trainings in the fall. Sessions included topics like budgeting, finance, diversity and creating safe zones for LGBT students.

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The University announced Monday that it has hired an assistant director of sexual assault prevention and response to work under one of its Title IX coordinators.

Carrie Ross will connect the office than ensures GW’s compliance with anti-discrimination law to faculty, staff and students. She will also partner with the Division of Student Affairs, the coordinator of victims’ services and student organizations to create programming about sexual assault prevention and awareness.

She will work under Title IX Coordinator Rory Muhammad, who GW hired in October after a nearly year-long vacancy in the Office of Diversity and Inclusion.

Ross comes to GW from the University of Michigan, where she worked at the school’s Center for the Education of Women.

Ross told GW Today that she has already begun designing a curriculum for raising campus awareness of sexual assault and how students should respond when it occurs.

“I’m glad to be part of an institution that’s taking this issue really seriously and approaching it with thoughtfulness,” Ross said.

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Dana Perino, a former White House press secretary, debated former Congressman Barney Frank in the Only at GW Debate Sunday. Jordan McDonald | Hatchet Photographer

Dana Perino, a former White House press secretary, debated former Congressman Barney Frank in the Only at GW Debate Sunday. Jordan McDonald | Hatchet Photographer

Updated Mon. March 23, 2015 at 3:09 p.m.

This post was written by Hatchet reporter Ben Marchiony.

Barney Frank and Dana Perino squared off at the Only at GW debate Sunday, hosted by the College Democrats, College Republicans and Program Board.

Frank, a former Democratic congressman, is widely known as the first member of Congress to voluntarily come out as gay, and is also known for his landmark bill, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform and Consumer Protection Act. Dana Perino, George W. Bush’s former press secretary, is currently a commentator for Fox News and was the second female White House press secretary.

Alex Rogers, a political reporter from Time Magazine, moderated the debate.

Didn’t score a ticket? Here are the three biggest takeaways from the event, hosted in the Jack Morton Auditorium:

1. How the U.S. will deal with Iran and Israel

Frank said that Israel isn’t in danger of losing support from the Democratic party, but Benjamin Netanyahu, the country’s prime minister who was re-elected last week, is. He said that to be Israel’s friend, the U.S. has to show  support by ensuring they do what’s right, and supporting a two-state solution.

“I, as a long time supporter of Israel, am very troubled by Netanyahu’s mistakes. Israel is in danger of losing support in much of the world. It’s the role of America, as a friend of Israel, to make clear what’s in Israel’s best interests,” Frank said.

Rogers asked Perino about what she thought of Netanyahu’s comments on the two-state solution, and how willing she thought the Obama administration was to protect Israel internationally.

“We care about an Israel that’s safe, prosperous economies for surrounding nations, freedoms for women and gays, education, in particular, for girls. Israel can be a real force for change, in that regard,” Perino said.

2. Thoughts on 2016

Both candidates shared their thoughts on the upcoming presidential election in 2016, giving their take on potential candidates.

Perino was asked about Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Tx., chances of running for president in the next election cycle, and she said that it’s early in the process to judge who will be the final candidates.

“At this point in the election cycle in 2008, conventional wisdom was that the two nominees were going to be Hillary Clinton and Rudy Giuliani,” she said. “A good, robust, competitive primary can be a very good thing for the system,” she said.

Cruz announced on Twitter Monday that he was running for President.

Frank said Democrats haven’t had a “real contest” for their presidential nominee “out of respect” for Clinton.

“There haven’t been the real issues that generate a large primary operation,” Frank said.

Perino said that Clinton, the former Secretary of State, is being pushed to formalize her campaign and that she has “uncontrolled enthusiasm” from voters.

“I tend to look at these things from a media standpoint and a PR standpoint, there’s been a lack of enthusiasm not from the Democratic party, but from the media,” Perino said

3. A conversation with the audience

Audience members submitted questions for the debate, and Frank and Perino were asked about how they got into politics and what advice they would give to someone who wants to work in the field.

Perino said she started out answering phones for a congressman from Colorado, and eventually became his press secretary. She said the key to entering the field is is networking.

“My dad made me read the Denver Post and the Rocky Mountain News every day, and I would pick up two articles to discuss with him over dinner,” she said.

Frank also spoke about his early love for politics.

“When I was 14, I was a pretty normal teenager, but there were two things that set me apart from the other guys. One, I was attracted to politics. The other one was that I was attracted to the other guys,” he said. “I knew this was going to be a problem, because being a homosexual wasn’t very popular in 1964. I didn’t decide to be a member of a despised minority, so for me it was about working this out.”

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