Program Board, Class Council endorse SJ Matthews in SA runoff

GW’s Class Council and Program Board have issued a joint statement endorsing SJ Matthew for President of the Student Association (SA). Elections for the SA were held last week, but with none of the presidential candidates receiving the required 40 percent of the vote, the two candidates with the most votes will face each other in a runoff this Thursday.

As a refresher, Thursday’s candidates are SJ Matthews, a junior whose platform focuses on updating classrooms and addressing food insecurity, and Justin Diamond, a freshman write-in candidate proposing abolishing the SA and diverting funds elsewhere.

Program Board and Class Council’s decision to endorse Matthews is a major deviation from past precedent, as this is the first endorsement either have made in an SA race. Current President of GW Class Council Bella Gianani said that “Our decision to endorse a candidate in this race is representative of the significance of this particular election.”

“In her three years on campus, SJ has demonstrated her commitment to bettering the student experience through a variety of leadership roles,” Gianani stated in the press release. “I have no doubt she will continue to fight for students across the University as the next Student Association President.”

The organizations say they are endorsing Matthews because they see her as offering real solutions to problems facing students and understands the operations of the university and its administrators, and says her platform is “nuanced and is not reliant on angsty memes, but instead on real solutions,” a reference to Diamond’s rise in popularity via the GW meme page on Facebook.

The statement denounces Diamond’s choices as a candidate, saying he has run a campaign “misaligned with the goals of a true student advocate.”

“When students have a seat at the table—in Board of Trustees meetings, with President LeBlanc, and with our student affairs administrators—outcomes for students are better. Eliminating representation does not stick it to the man, it makes it easier for the man to stick it to you.”

However, Program Board Chairperson Reed Elman Waxham told The Rival that “our endorsement is for SJ, not in opposition to Justin.”

You can read GW Class Council and Program Board’s full endorsement here. The runoff election will take place Thursday, April 4. The Rival has reached out to SJ Matthews for comment. Justin Diamond declined to comment for this story.

Campus, SA19Emily Milakovic