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Serving the GW Community since 1904

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Wine bar on 2200 Penn opens doors
By Ella Mitchell, Contributing News Editor • June 14, 2024

Fitzgerald and Lynne discuss ambitions for presidency, vice presidency

Daniel Heuer | Assistant Photo Editor
Ethan Fitzgerald is sworn in as Student Government Association President.

Chief Justice Matthew De Billis and Deputy Chief Justice Jasper Coughlin swore in President Ethan Fitzgerald and Vice President Ethan Lynne at the Student Government Association inauguration ceremony Monday.

About 100 people gathered in the University Student Center auditorium at 7:30 p.m. to hear Fitzgerald and Lynne deliver their inaugural addresses, where Fitzgerald acknowledged students’ safety and free speech concerns following the installation of a pro-Palestinian encampment in University Yard on Thursday. He said he knows many students are “hurting and angry” right now and he wants to help protect their safety and security on campus as the newly elected SGA president.

“Hate is on the rise, there seems to be no concrete plan to fight it,” Fitzgerald said. “Students are concerned about free speech and marginalization. At the end of the day, a lot of people feel unheard and undervalued. That is not the campus climate I want to see and that’s why it’s evermore important that our leaders are engaged and willing to listen and learn.”

During his address, Fitzgerald said he plans to expand dining options to better accommodate students’ religious and dietary restrictions and “close the gap” between communication with the administration and student organizations on funding concerns. Fitzgerald added that he wants to increase community engagement on campus by forming more partnerships with student organizations.

Fitzgerald said this year’s increase in voter turnout was a result of the “concerted effort” from both his campaign team and the other candidates to “actively engage” with the greater GW community.

“It’s imperative that we capitalize on this momentum and ensure that students remain central to our decision-making processes,” Fitzgerald said.

Lynne spoke to attendees about his plans to launch the “first-ever” senate diversity, equity and inclusion staff committee and make GWorld cards available to add to mobile wallets. He said his experience as chair for the Financial Service and Allocations Committee taught about what funding concerns student organizations face on campus and how to run a meeting.

“I introduced and passed legislation including bringing down the cost of plan B, making the line item creation process more efficient and the strongest funding performance the SGA has ever seen,” Lynne said.

Lynne said as Vice President he will pass the survivors bill of rights, which would list the rights the University has to grant to sexual assault survivors to protect their identities during Title IX rulings. He added that he wants to continue to work towards achieving medication abortion access on campus.

“Regardless of what you believe, your personal opinions, whether you voted for me or not or even voted at all, or where you live, Foggy bottom neighbors, commuter students, Ashburn students, Vernies, I see all of you,” Lynne said. “Your voice as a student here is critical and it’s my absolute promise to the absolute most to uplift it.”

Outgoing SGA President Arielle Geismar said the role is “meaningful” because the president is responsible for engaging in difficult conversations with members of the administration and relaying information from those meetings to the student body. Geismar said the SGA name change from the Student Association marked a shift towards a focus on supporting students and addressing community concerns that will continue into Fitzgerald’s administration.

“When we changed the name, for me, it was more than just symbolic; it was about ushering in a new time for student government of an era of leaders who genuinely talk to students, who want to hear your feedback, who care deeply about the issues that are happening in our campus and in our community as a whole,” Geismar said. “I am excited, proud and overjoyed that that legacy will continue.”

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