Yard referendum cancelled for March vote

By the

March 15, 2001

Supporters of the Yard Student Association have requested a postponement of the Yard Referendum. The supporters plan to pursue the Yard reform next year, said Nate Willems (SFS ‘01), co-chair of the Yard Steering Committee.

This postponement concludes an extended discussion of student government reform, beginning in early January.

In response to the call for reform, Georgetown University Student Association President Tawan Davis (CAS ‘01) established a Constitutional Review Committee. Davis asked for a review of GUSA’s constitution to result in recommendations to improve student government.

The CRC was composed of Martha Swanson, Director of Student Organizations, and 15 students representing various campus groups including the Yard.

The members of the Yard Steering Committee agreed that the result of the CRC discussion would replace the referendum on the Yard constitution scheduled for March 29.

Last Wednesday, the CRC announced they were unable to reach a consensus and that GUSA should take no action, thereby reverting to the original plans of holding a referendum on the Yard constitution.

“Since the [CRC] ran out of time, the impetus is on our steering committee for campaigning,” said Willems. “We intended to be done with the vote on February 26. We are running on fumes. We are afraid that we wouldn’t have adequate energy to properly run the campaign as it deserves,” Willems said.

According to a Yard press release, the referendum postponement is due to exhaustion and academic responsibilities.

Willems said the CRC was “basically taken over by GUSA and SAC voices and did not listen much to club leaders and ordinary students. A postponement will allow new voices to be heard.

According to Will Cosmas (CAS ‘01), the GUSA election commissioner, GUSA bylaws would require Yard supporters to circulate a new petition next year to demonstrate support for a referendum on the Yard constitution.

“The deadlines they were given depended on their volition to put out a referendum this year,” Cosmas said.

Aaron Polkey (CAS ‘02), a member of the CRC and founder of Student Against the Yard, said he was glad the Yard issue had allowed for open discussion about student government reform.

“I’m glad that we didn’t rush into completley scrapping student government. It’s good that we will have time to involve more people in such an important discussion,” Polkey said.

Polkey said he thought GUSA should work to implement the reforms that did find consensus within the CRC. He said he would be interested in being involved in discussion of reform in the coming academic year.

“We will be watching to make sure that everyday students are always involved in whatever proposed changes there are to student government,” Polkey said.

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