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Ethan Fitzgerald clinches SGA presidency by slim margin

Raphael Kellner | Staff Photographer
SGA Sen. Ethan Fitzgerald (CCAS-U) reacts to his presidential win.

Updated: April 14, 2024, at 11:08 p.m.

Students elected sophomore Ethan Fitzgerald president of the Student Government Association on Saturday, narrowly beating presidential contender junior Lauren K. Harris by 16 votes in the final round of ranked-choice voting.

Fitzgerald, an undergraduate senator for the Columbian College of Arts & Sciences, captured 37 percent of the vote in the first round of ranked-choice ballots before narrowly defeating Harris in the fourth round, according to the Joint Election Commission’s unverified election results. Voter turnout jumped to 12 percent this year after just 8 percent of eligible students voted in last year’s election.

Fitzgerald pledged to advocate for students’ physical, mental and reproductive health as president and said he will work to expand dining options and hours as well as work with the Board of Trustees to add the SGA president and vice president as voting student trustees.

“I will not let you down, I can’t wait to get to work and I have an amazing partner in Ethan Lynne that I can’t wait to work with,” Fitzgerald said.

SGA Sen. Ethan Lynne (CCAS-U) defeated Aly McCormick in the vice presidential race, securing 54 percent of votes in the first and only round of voting, per the unverified election results. Lynne said he will advocate to extend GW Dining’s hours of operation past 9 p.m. and conduct an audit of all campus spaces to expand available meeting venues for student organizations.

“This is amazing,” Lynne said. “I am so thankful to everyone on my team. It has been the most long but incredible few weeks of my life, and I’m super excited to start doing some real stuff in the senate and start doing some real changes.”


SGA Sen. Ethan Lynne (CCAS-U) celebrates his vice presidential win.
(Daniel Heuer | Staff Photographer)

Student voter turnout increased for the first time since 2019 with 3,150 students casting votes compared to 2,190 voters in last year’s election, according to the unverified election results. Roughly 12.3 percent of eligible students voted in this year’s election, compared to last years 8.5 percent voter turnout.

Almost 85 percent of students voted “yes” on a referendum that gauges student opinions on adding the president and vice president as voting members on the Board of Trustees. The Board originally rejected the referendum in November after the SGA brought the resolution to voting members.

The approval of the referendum will now act as data for SGA members to bring to the board to show student support for the addition of voting student members.

Harris said she felt “deeply saddened” by the election results and saw her loss as a reflection of the “racism and sexism” she has faced as a Black woman running for a position of power. She said she will continue to advocate for change in the D.C. area by potentially working in the mayor’s office next year and working with local entrepreneurs to organize for social justice.

“I appreciate every vote for me, and I think that that showed that there was a desire for change, by coming in second shows there was a desire and a push for change happening,” Harris said.

McCormick said she hopes Lynne implements a survivors’ bill of rights, one of her campaign initiatives, and opens the Financial Services & Allocations Committee meetings to all students. She said she and Lynne had “very similar” initiatives on their platforms and that she believes Lynne will be “fantastic” as vice president.

“Thank you, for all my people who voted for me and believed in me,” McCormick said. “I’m just a kid from a different school who tried her best, and I’m just happy I had fun.”

Presidential candidates SGA Sen. Dan Saleem (CCAS-U) and Nicky Beruashvili won third and fourth place, respectively.

Saleem said he is “sorry” that he let his voters down, adding that he plans to take some time before determining what is next for him.

“I came into this race wanting to make a change and wanting to make a positive impact on GW and I wish the best to the new president and things will be alright,” Saleem said.

Nicky Beruashvili, a junior who ran for president and received eight percent of votes, said he wishes Fitzgerald and Lynne the best. He said the Residence Hall Association will continue to be his home at GW, and that he will be there to help Fitzgerald and Lynne in the SGA if need be.

“They were campaigning really hard, dedicated, steadfast with everything and results are shown,” Beruashvili said.

Liz Stoddard, Claire Avalos, Sophie Munson, Jacob Wilner, Jonesy Strell, Jayden Speed, Biyang Soh and Aadi Mehta were elected to the eight CCAS undergraduate senate seats, the senate’s most competitive race as 13 people vied for the positions.

Nine students not on the ballot rode write-in votes to senate victories.

William Smith was reelected for the School of Business Graduate senator position with 11 write-in votes and Anika Gupta was reelected for the School of Business’ third undergraduate seat with three write-in votes.

Only four graduate students were officially on the ballot for the 14 open graduate student seats, but 12 were filled because of write-in results. Although there were no candidates officially on the ballot for the School of Engineering and Applied Science’s three available graduate senator seats, Sri Soury, Sai Teja and Ravi Teja Rapolu were elected with two write-in votes each.

Justin Zaslavsky was also reelected to the School of Medicine and Health Sciences graduate senator seat with two write-in votes, leaving two remaining graduate senator seats vacant. Toniah Harrison from the Milken Institute of Public Health, Michael Pissos from the College of Professional Studies and Christian Lanphere from the School of Nursing were elected to the three remaining graduate senate seats with three, two and one write-in votes, respectively.

In ranked-choice voting, students rank candidates in order of their preference. Candidates with the fewest first-choice votes are eliminated from the first round of tallying the results. The JEC eliminates candidates with the fewest votes in each round in descending order of second- and third-choice votes and so on until one candidate reaches 50 percent of the vote, clinching the election.

This post was updated to include election results for members of the SGA Senate.

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About the Contributor
Hannah Marr, News Editor
Hannah Marr, a sophomore double majoring in journalism and mass communication and history from New York, New York, leads the Administration and Finance beat as one of The Hatchet's 2024-25 news editors. She was previously the assistant news editor for the Student Government beat.
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