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Trustees rename SA to SGA after student advocacy

Sage Russell | Assistant Photo Editor
Student Government Association President Arielle Geismar at Friday’s Board of Trustees meeting.

The Board of Trustees unanimously voted Friday to change the Student Association’s name to Student Government Association.

Board Chair Grace Speights called trustees to vote on the name change at their Friday meeting after SGA President Arielle Geismar requested in October that the Board retire the former name to avoid the potentially misleading SA acronym, which is known to stand for sexual assault. Geismar said students and faculty have expressed that they are excited for the student governing body’s “new era” at GW.

The SGA — which held the SA name for 51 years, spanning from 1973 to 2024 — will hold a “transition day” and gauge student feedback for new logos for the organization, Geismar said. The SGA Senate voted to ask the Board to change the name at their meeting in October, sending their request onto the trustees.

“I’m really looking forward to clearing up that confusion and changing the name to Student Government Association,” Geismar said.

This is the second of nine resolutions passed by the two previous SGA senates that called for action from University officials and garnered a public response from administrators. A University spokesperson said in November that trustees would not consider a resolution that requested the Board add the SGA president and vice president as voting members.

SGA Vice President Demetrius Apostolis said the SGA had been working on the name change for “a while,” which serves as proof of student advocacy’s efficacy. He said the body worked with students and other stakeholders to find a name that better exemplifies the SGA’s purpose and values.

The SGA moved away from an abbreviation that was “offensive and hurtful” to many GW community members, Apostolis said.

“I am excited for what is in store for the future, as this rebranding marks a new start and image for the organization which represents the entire student body,” Apostolis said.

SGA Sen. Ethan Fitzgerald (CCAS-U), who was one of the senators leading the name change initiative, said he is grateful the SGA was finally able to relabel the body, which has been a “long time coming.” He said he and other members of the SGA heard student complaints about the negative connotations of the former name, which pushed him to work with other student leaders including Geismar, Apostolis and SGA Sen. Noah Jordan (CCAS-U) to request trustees ratify their name request.

“While it’s just a small example, I think this change is indicative of the fact that student advocacy does have impact here at GW, and I’m hopeful that students will continue to voice their beliefs and their concerns,” Fitzgerald said.

SGA Sen. Izzy Brophy (CCAS-U) said she is proud to support the name change because it indicates the desire of GW students and faculty to create a University that is inclusive and respectful of all students’ identities and experiences.

She said she hopes the rebranding will allow the SGA to turn a new leaf with students and push those involved with the SGA to better understand the power their advocacy has on present and future GW students.

“I believe that this change will allow for a much needed reset in the Student Government Association,” Brophy said. “It’s no secret that the relationship between the student body and Student Association had been straining for years.”

Jordan, who also led the initiative, said he feels “pretty proud” by the Board’s ratification of their request.

“This whole process has been super heartening for the strength of students’ unified voice,” Jordan said.

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About the Contributor
Hannah Marr, Assistant News Editor
Hannah Marr is a sophomore double majoring in journalism and mass communication and history from New York, New York.  She is The Hatchet's 2023-2024 assistant news editor for the Student Government beat.
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