Rise Together for Georgetown: Abbey and Will for GUSA

By: and
02/12/2015

Bring on the platitudes. It’s that time of year again.

As this election season continues, you’ll hear that GUSA is out of touch, that those involved are the worst kind of slimy, résumé-padding political operators, and that they’re so far removed from normal student experience that they have lost the ability to effectively channel real student desires to administrators.

That kind of language is easy, because substantive discussions are hard.

This election, at a historic time for our university, demands better than inauthentic moralizing and trite slogans—it demands a loud, pluralistic, unified student voice rise to give every Hoya the representation they deserve.

We have seen GUSA expand access to benefits to more student organizations. We have seen it help stop the consolidation of the CMEA, LGBTQ Resource Center, and Women’s Center. And we have seen it prevent housing and dining requirements that students strongly oppose. But sometimes GUSA falls short. Sometimes Georgetown falls short.

In reality there is not one Georgetown, but two—two Georgetowns separated by socio-economic privilege, by racial privilege, by ableism, and by a disgusting apathy towards the reality of sexual assault on this campus.

We know that sometimes GUSA doesn’t hear the concerns of marginalized students. Our personal meetings with Hoyas from every corner of campus have demonstrated the need for an inclusive, representative GUSA—a GUSA that actively engages every student.

And we know that the issues we face cannot be solved without everyone joining the chorus for student rights.

In negotiating with administrators, and engaging and including historically and currently marginalized students—students of color, LGBTQIA students, disabled students, student veterans, and students who do not come from economic privilege—it’s time to Rise Together to ensure GUSA deals frankly with privilege and exclusion.

We can only expand speech on campus if we Rise Together for groups like H*yas for Choice when the university denies individuals and student organizations the fundamental right to free expression on campus.

We can only ensure fair wages and benefits for campus employees if we Rise Together in solidarity with campus workers.

And we must Rise Together for an equitable campus plan.

In 1996, the Advisory Neighborhood Commission, Georgetown’s local government body—which had no student representatives—took away student rights to parking passes, and tried to push Hoyas out of the neighborhood. When it looked like students would begin to oppose these policies, ANC members tried to bully the student voice into silence.

Our response? A diverse and unified coalition of Hoyas rose up and elected two of our own qualified candidates to the ANC.

Georgetown will face a similar crossroads next year. The only way we can defend student interests from neighbors who think we are, as one newsletter wrote: “individuals running (or even worse: driving) around the neighborhood under the influence of alcohol or drugs, knocking down stop signs, yanking metal railings, damaging private property, urinating in public” is by linking arms and including all Hoyas in a representative movement for student rights.

It’s time for a unified, inclusive student movement to ensure the rights of all Hoyas and defend the future of this campus.

It’s time to Rise Together with Abbey and Will on Feb. 19.

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Abbey McNaughton


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