The Georgetown University Student Association decided Tues. to postpone a referendum that would determine the future of student government.
Supporters of the Yard Student Association collected over 1,700 signatures on a petition requesting a referendum that could replace GUSA with the Yard. They had expected that the referendum would take place on the same day as the GUSA presidential election, Feb. 26.
GUSA ruled Tues. to postpone the referendum until March 29 in order to hold a Constitutional Convention before the vote. The convention will work to reform student government in a way that would gain the approval of many students.
The convention will be led by Jamal Epps (CAS ‘01), a GUSA representative, and Rob Bauer (CAS ‘02), a member of the Yard Steering Committee. Members of the committee will include three GUSA members, three representatives of the Yard, one representative of Students Against the Yard, one president of an academic council, one student representing funding boards, one representative of InterHall, two students representing student clubs and one representative of student programs. The convention will work to “formulate and present a new or revised Constitution for the student government of Georgetown University.”
The Committee will meet first on Feb. 20 and will present a final reformed constitution on March 15.
At the Tues. meeting, Tawan Davis (CAS ‘01), GUSA president said he hopes the convention can incorporate the ideas of the Yard in this reform of GUSA.
“If it doesn’t work out, the March 29 referendum will be the Yard constitution,” Davis said.
Supporters of the Yard said that they wanted to incorporate suggestions into their constitutions, but that they did not want to create another form of GUSA, according to Jack Ternan, a Yard supporter.
“It is not the fact that they changed our referendum date that bothers me, said Yard Committee Chair Nate Willems (SFS’01) in a press release. “It is the idea that some people may have supported pushing back the referendum hoping that students may forget about the idea and voter turnout might not be as high as it could have been.”
According to Will Cosmas (CAS ‘02), the GUSA election commissioner, the postponement will not make a substantial difference in the turnout because the presidential election and the Yard referendum would be presented on separate ballots.
GUSA representatives elections have been postponed indefinitely due to the new date of the referendum vote. A new date will be scheduled after the referendum date if the Yard does not pass. If the Yard Student Association is approved, there will be no representative elections, as the Yard includes only one representative from each class, instead of the four class representatives of GUSA.