News and Analysis


Student Association Elections

Wednesday, March 9, 2016 7:42 p.m.

Hart explains withdrawal from SA race

Former Student Association presidential candidate Tony Hart released a statement Wednesday explaining his abrupt withdrawal from this week’s election.

In a public Facebook note, Hart listed his personal mental health and attacks from other students as reasons why he decided to drop out of the race. The announcement of his withdrawal came during the Joint Elections Committee debate Monday night.

Hart said in the post that he never intended to run for political office, but that he thought his position as a nonwhite, non-Greek, non-affluent student would put him in place to make significant change as SA president.

“I thought I could put a spotlight on the issues facing our community,” Hart wrote. “I thought I could rally our student body to demand more from our university and more from ourselves. I thought I could profoundly change the way the Student Association is viewed by thousands upon thousands of students on this campus.”

Hart wrote that he was personally attacked by students who told him not to run because it could ruin plans for other candidates. He said after his official announcement, more hurtful comments began to emerge, including one student who said Hart was “too poor to run for SA president.”

These factors, Hart said, contributed to a week of minimal sleep and changes in health and study habits and culminated with his decision to not participate in Monday night’s debate and drop out of the race.

“Last night I put my suit on, walked to the steps of the Marvin Center, and simply did not have the strength to walk up the steps and enter the debate room,” Hart wrote. “I turned towards two of my closest friends and asked them to walk me home as tears began to run down my face. At that moment, I knew nothing in life was worth the way I was feeling.”

Erika Feinman and Christina Giordano are now competing for the top spot. Voting is open until 9 p.m. Thursday.

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Student Association candidates discussed their sustainability goals at a town hall event Thursday. Anne McBride | Hatchet Photographer

Student Association candidates discussed their sustainability goals at a town hall event Thursday. Anne McBride | Hatchet Photographer

This post was written by Hatchet Staff Writer Crystel Sylvester.

Student Association candidates know it’s not easy being green – and Thursday, they told students exactly what they’re going to do about it.

Student sustainability leaders hosted the first-ever sustainability town hall, where students quizzed candidates on everything from food justice and workers’ rights to divestment and dissection.

Candidates were asked to describe what sustainability meant to them, and to discuss specific issues. Here’s what they talked about:

‘A megaphone to student voices’

Senate candidates supported the idea of linking students with the Board of Trustees. SA presidential candidate Erika Feinman hopes to add an undergraduate and graduate student to the board if elected.

John Brown, who is running for CCAS-U, suggested student observers at Board of Trustees meetings. Keiko Tsuboi, who is running for ESIA-U, pushed for students to lobby directly to board members.

Brianna Borghi, who is running for CCAS-U, said she supported adding direct student representation on the Board of Trustees to push for topics like fossil fuel divestment. Officials announced yesterday that they would not officials would not bring the topic to the Board.

“I think going to the University and showing the bare facts will get it done,” Borghi said.

Staying local

Candidates discussed their own ideas to promote sustainability within Foggy Bottom.

Junior Christina Giordano, who is running for SA president, suggested expanding GWorld options to include more sustainable and healthy businesses.

Devan Cole, a sophomore also running for CCAS-U, suggested creating incentives for student organizations to invest in local food sources.

“It’s important to invest in the local community,” Cole said.

‘Comfortable and safe’ in science labs

Candidates also discussed a petition started by GW Animal Advocates president Hannah Moskowitz that would allow students to opt out of dissections in some science classes.

Lujain Al-Khawi, a candidate for SEAS-U, said that she believed that non-science majors should “absolutely” have the choice to opt out of dissections.

“When you get to bio majors, it’s a different story,” she said.

Presidential candidate Erika Feinman suggested working with officials to come up with a solution for non-science majors who do not feel comfortable dissecting.

“We should be able to come up with alternative options to make sure that students feel good and comfortable and safe in classrooms,” Feinman said.

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Updated: March 20, 2015 at 10:44 a.m.

This year’s three Student Association presidential candidates published a combined letter Wednesday afternoon pushing the University to divest from fossil fuels, a vote that will appear on the SA ballot next week.

Presidential candidates Alex Cho, Andie Dowd and Ben Pryde said in the letter that they “applaud the hard work” of administrators in advancing GW’s sustainability efforts. But, the candidates said officials must do more by divesting, a process that requires GW to disclose its investments in fossil fuels and removing them from the endowment.

Similar efforts are also taking place at Harvard University and Northwestern University, one of GW’s peer schools.

“We urge every student to vote for divestment, so that our collective concerns about climate change will be heard loud and clear,” the letter reads. Fossil Free GW delivered the letter to the student body through a post on their Facebook page.

The candidates wrote that if the vote passes, they will build “connections between our values as a University community, on sustainability and our local and global footprint, and our long term investment strategy as a forward looking perpetual institution” through discussions with students, faculty and the Board of Trustees.

The presidential candidates have also unilaterally supported increasing sexual violence education at Colonial Inauguration. Each issued statements saying they do not support GW’s chapter of the Young America’s Foundation seeking a religious exemption if LGBT sensitivity training becomes mandatory. The three presidential candidates and three executive vice president candidates also all wrote a letter to the editor of The Hatchet last week saying the next SA administration will support sensitivity training.

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Student Association Sen. Nick Gumas, U-At Large, is seeking the organization's top position. Sam Hardgrove | Hatchet Staff Photographer

Student Association Sen. Nick Gumas, CCAS-U, is seeking the organization’s top position. Sam Hardgrove | Hatchet Staff Photographer

Updated Wednesday, Feb. 5 at 11:32 p.m.

A junior who has spent two years in the Student Association Senate announced Wednesday that he will seek the organization’s highest post next year.

Nick Gumas, CCAS-U, said his goals include reducing the fee for students to receive academic credit for internships and expanding offerings at Student Health Service with programs like peer counseling.

“In the past, I think we’ve had candidates who have promised things that quite frankly were never going to happen. And I think that’s a shame because it’s created this environment where people are distrustful of the SA or very cynical,” Gumas said.

Gumas, chair of the senate’s student life committee who helped lobby top administrators this year to relocate Student Health Service to campus, said he would help launch a peer counseling program that trains students to coach their peers on issues like stress management and sexual assault.

Gumas said he also wants to strip away the nearly $4,000 fee for students to have a three-credit internship over the summer.

Part of his platform also focuses on promoting existing services, like resume critiques and group counseling, which he said many students don’t know exist. He said he will create an online directory of all GW services to help students keep track of the dozens of offices, each with their own offerings.

“In the past the SA has primarily been an advocacy organization, and I think that is great, but I think the SA also needs to start doing a better job being a service organization that connects students to resources,” he said.

The two-term senator is the chair of the senate’s Student Life Committee and the president of Allied in Pride, where he has advocated for condoms in residence halls, a campus-wide hazing survey and the chance for prospective GW students to identify as gay, straight, bisexual or transgender on their applications.

He is the first to announce a bid for the top post. Former candidate and alumnus Hugo Scheckter, who launched a hoax campaign earlier this week, said Tuesday that he did not actually intend to run.

Correction appended
The Hatchet incorrectly reported that Gumas was an Undergraduate-At-Large senator. He is an undergraduate senator in the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences. We regret this error.

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Freshman Tywan Wade announced he will be seeking the Student Association presidency next year, after he came in last for the same post last month.

Freshman Tywan Wade, who came in last place for the Student Association presidency this year, officially announced on his Facebook on Thursday he would run again next year.

Hours later he “unpublished” the page, saying that he regretted posting too soon although he said he wanted to keep the momentum from his campaign going.

Wade, who earned 152 votes out of 4,855 ballots cast, ran on a campaign that promised to bring more restaurant franchises to campus, create a nightly detour in Georgetown for the Vern Express and overhaul the Program Board.

He also said he would lobby the University to offer more dining plans, like giving upperclassmen the option to have dining dollars for J Street.

Junior Julia Susuni earned the top spot with a whopping 59 percent of the vote.

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Julia Susuni hugs a supporter in J Street after it was announced that she was elected Student Association president. Erica Christian | Hatchet Photographer


Correction appended

This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Chris Hebdon.

Junior Julia Susuni was elected the fourth-ever female Student Association president Thursday with a whopping 59 percent of the vote.

Students waited for nearly two hours in a packed Columbian Square to hear election results, wearing campaign buttons and t-shirts supporting their candidate. Susuni, who pledged to put Trader Joe’s on GWorld, move Student Health Service closer to campus and improve career services, defeated three challengers to become the first female president since 2009.

“It feels really great. I am so proud of all the work my team has put in and really grateful for all the time and energy and all of their support,” Susuni said.

This year’s SA elections saw a record 4,855 ballots cast, Joint Elections Committee chair Jordan Thomas said. Sophomore Mike Morgan, senior Hugo Scheckter and freshman Tywan Wade earned second, third and fourth place respectively.

Junior Kostas Skordalos won executive vice president, beating sophomore Mike Adam by nearly 1,000 votes to become the second-highest student lobbyist.

“It doesn’t even feel real yet. It feels like tomorrow I’m going to be waking up and handing out palm cards,” Skordalos said. “I am excited to get to work tomorrow.”

The third candidate for executive vice president dropped out last week.

Here is a full list of candidates and the breakdowns:

Winners in italics

SA President

Julia Susuni (2795)
Mike Morgan (976)
Hugo Scheckter (775)
Tywan Wade (152)
SA Executive Vice President
Kostas Skordalos (2604)
Mike Adam (1796)
CCAS Undergraduate Senator
Nick Gumas (951)
Mollie Bowman (849)
Ben Pryde (809)
Marshall Cohen (725)
Justin Hyde (708)
Shreya Chaturvedi (658) 
Casey Syron (640)
John Weiss (593)
Justyna Felusiak (527)
Brandon Kumar (425)
Taylor Cole (372)
Jevin Hodge (344)
Patrick Furbush (340)
John Menges (319)
Ahrim Nam (301)
ESIA Undergraduate Senator
Varsha Sundararaman (439)
Chris Stillwell (377)
Paul Asercion (363)
Simarmeet Singh (342)
Johnny Kelley (294)
Spencer Newland (320)
SEAS Undergraduate Senator
Neil Forquer (129)
Edwin Musibira (77)
Karan Singh (57)
SMHS Graduate Senator 
Jordan Werner (101)
Kusha Davar (70)
Abhimanyu Aggarwal (43)
MCGB Undergraduate
Elizabeth Kennedy (1893)
Shelby Goodfriend (1530)
Ian Ceccarelli (1416)
Glenn Richardson (1153)
Usama Khan (1144)
Paul Organ (1082)
Grahm Rabinowitsch (905)
Alberto Zayas Montilla (830)
CCAS Graduate Senator
Cameron Smither (2)
Allison Rohde (2)
Allison Friedan (2)
*will face a runoff, where the Senate will vote
ESIA Graduate Senator
Paul Maesser (26)
CPS Graduate Senator
Tom Hayden (1)
Amee Pecot (1)
Julia Brown (1)
MCGB Graduate
Kuanysh Taishibekov (17)
Law School Senator
Peter Glaser (n/a) 
Paul Waters (n/a)
Alex Berman (2)
Andrew Beyda (2)
Jeff Conrad (2)
Undergraduate-at-Large Senator
Daniel Egel-Weiss (n/a)
Omeed Firouzzi (n/a)
Graduate-at-Large Senator
Andrew Hickman (n/a)
Cengiz Kara (n/a)
GWSB Undergraduate Senator
Ryan Counihan (n/a)
Fatma El-Taguri (n/a)
GWSB Graduate Senator
Tapan Bhargava (n/a)
Harimandir Garcha (n/a)
SEAS Graduate Senator
Hatem Elbidweihy (n/a)
William Rone (n/a)
SPHHS Undergraduate Senator
Kimberly Levitt (n/a) 
SPHHS Graduate Senator
Nora Albert (n/a)
Program Board Chair
Jon Carfagno (n/a)
Program Board Vice Chair
Kolton Gustafson (n/a)
This post was updated March 22, 2013 to reflect the following:
The Hatchet incorrectly reported that Julia Susuni won 57 percent of the votes. That figure was actually 59 percent. While 4,855 ballots were cast, Susuni won 2,795 of the 4,698 votes for the Student Association presidency.
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Thursday, March 21, 2013 8:59 p.m.

Student Association election 2013 live blog

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Tuesday, March 19, 2013 12:48 a.m.

Executive vice president candidate leaves race

Junior Will Ellingson left the Student Association race late Monday night, citing personal reasons. Photo Courtesy of Will Ellingson

Student Association executive vice president candidate Will Ellingson dropped out of the race late Monday night, citing a family emergency.

The junior said he will be going home to Colorado next week to spend time with family, and will be splitting much of his time between home and D.C. over the few months.

“I simply don’t know if I will be able to commit to what the SA EVP position really requires, which is something that’s very, very important to me. If this pull is taking me home, I won’t be able to dedicate the amount of time the position deserves,” Ellingson said.

His departure leaves just two candidates, sophomore Mike Adam and junior Kostantinos Skodalos, for the executive vice president position.

Ellingson, who was on the Colonial Inauguration cabinet last year, is a member of Sigma Chi Fraternity. He was running on a platform that targeted peer academic advising and bringing the housing and FIX-It departments under one roof.

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Updated: Wednesdayy, March 20, 2013, 1:17 a.m.

Student organizations began handing out their stamps of approval for Student Association candidates this week.

Last year, about 50 student groups supported the eight candidates for president and executive vice president. Elections will be held after spring break on March 20 and 21. To hear from the candidates, stop by this year’s Student Association debate, co-hosted by The Hatchet, on March 19 at 7 p.m.

Did we miss an endorsement? E-mail so we can keep this list updated.


Michael Morgan

  • GW College Republicans
  • The International Affairs Society
  • Green GW
  • Cuban American Student Association
  • South Asian Society
  • Beta Theta Pi Fraternity
  • Alexander Hamilton Society

Julia Susuni

  • GW College Democrats
  • GW Women in Business
  • Club Sports Council
  • GW Chabad
  • Phi Sigma Pi
  • Student Alliance for Israel
  • Pre-Law Student Association
  • Student Theater Council
  • Student Bar Association
  • Student-Athlete Advisory Council
  • Panhellenic Association
  • Inter-Fraternity Council
  • Multicultural Greek Council
  • Jewish Student Association
  • Arab Student Association
  • Balance
  • Allied in Pride
  • MBA Association
  • GW Ballroom
  • Camp Kesem
  • Students for Education Reform
  • GW Men of Strength
  • GW Secular Society
  • Feminist Student Union
  • Black Student Union
  • Allied in Pride Graduate Students
  • Media Student Community Council
  • Indian Students Association

Hugo Scheckter

  • GW Golf Club
  • Twitter Account @FakeStevenKnapp
  • GW Monarchist Society
  • The Afghan Student Association
  • Twitter Account @GdubBro

Tywan Wade (*did not return requests for comment by publication time)

Executive Vice President

Kostas Skordalos

  • GW College Democrats
  • GW Club Sports Council
  • GW Pre-Law Association
  • Student Bar Association
  • Student Theater Council
  • Feminist Student Union
  • Black Student Union
  • National Council of Negro Women, GWU Section
  • Progressive Student Union
  • GW Men of Strength Club
  • Allied in Pride
  • Allied in Pride Graduate Students
  • GW College Republicans
  • GW Jewish Student Association
  • GW Medical Center Student Council
Michael Adam (*did not return requests for comment by publication time)
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Kwasi Agyeman, who was booted from the Student Association election last month because he would be enrolled in a different program next fall than his current program, will not be reinstated, the Student Court announced this week. Hatchet File Photo.

This post was written by Hatchet reporter Leonore Princiotti

GW’s Student Court rejected an appeal to reinstate a Student Association presidential candidate who was kicked off the ballot last month.

The court ruled that Kwasi Agyeman, who is taking both undergraduate and graduate classes, did not have grounds to make an appeal and would not be granted a trial.

Agyeman was slated to graduate in 2012, but outstanding requirements prevented him from completing his degree. As he takes his final Writing in the Disciplines course this semester, he is also auditing graduate student classes pending his acceptance into a master’s program at GW.

The decision was based on an SA policy that requires candidates to remain in the same degree program during elections and when they assume office.

Chief Judge Jeremy Carter said the group maintained the decision because it was uncertain whether Agyeman would remain at GW next year.

“He has not been accepted anywhere, so for us to say that he had been injured as a graduate student doesn’t apply,” Carter said, citing a rule that candidates must prove they were harmed by a JEC decision. “We’re not prepared to set the precedent that a senior who’s graduating and not coming back is being injured because they can’t run for an election.”

Agyeman was also denied the chance to file a second appeal. Still, he said his fight for changes in the GW community is not over.

“I’m going to lead a great wave and whoever comes with me, regardless of if I’m SA president or Kwasi the grad student. I don’t know why I thought I needed an elected office to make change,” Agyeman said.

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