The long and tumultuous conflict between the Student Activities Commission and the Georgetown University Students Association appears to have ended in a cease-fire, with a compromise announced last Sunday which will finally make SAC almost fully accountable to the student body. Though it is unfortunate that University administrators had to become involved, both sides should be commended for making concessions and finally reaching an agreement.
The best part of this compromise is that now there is a transparent, accountable process for choosing SAC chairs and commissioners. A group including the current or incoming SAC chair, a commissioner elected by the sitting members of SAC, a staff representative of Student Affairs, and student representatives from no fewer than two other advisory boards will now elect new SAC commissioners. Additionally, student clubs will elect a new SAC chair each year, ensuring that more student leaders have a say in who runs this vital advisory board.
While members of GUSA’s Finance and Appropriations Committee had hoped that their agreement with SAC would require SAC to hold open votes on all decisions it makes, the final agreement involved a compromise whereby only votes on financial allocations will be public. Since SAC was so recalcitrant on this issue, this is a reasonable middle ground between the two organizations that protects clubs where their vital interests lie, namely annual funding.
The final important provision of the agreement involves SAC’s reserves. SAC Chair Ethel Amponsah (NHS`11) told the Voice in March that the organization had $215,000 in reserve funds. Under the new agreement, they will be spending down their reserves over the next three years to $150,000, a level recommended by Georgetown’s Office of Student Affairs. This should bring SAC’s reserves to a more reasonable level and ensure that funds drawn from the Student Activity Fees are spent to improve student life at Georgetown, rather than sitting idle in a bank account.
Reaching a final compromise between GUSA and SAC hasnt been an easy process. However, the agreement announced on Sunday will finally force the hisorically stubborn SAC to be more accountable to the students whose money it distributes.