The GUSA Senate passed a resolution on Sunday, Nov. 15 standing in solidarity with students of color across the country, stating their support in the face of institutionalized racial injustice.
The resolution, which states that “The Georgetown University Senate therefore affirms to be in solidarity with Black students and students of color who are challenging, transforming and acting against systemic injustice that has existed and permeated college campuses nationally and globally,” was passed overwhelmingly, with only one abstention and one vote against the resolution.
The resolution further states that the Senate “recognizes the validity of student demands to see a more inclusive and equitable educational environment” and “challenges university administrators to take immediate and appropriate measures to protect the safety of students facing threats due to the recent increase in student demands to battle institutional injustice.”
In the meeting, Senator Elizabeth Oh (SFS ‘16) advocated for the bill, saying that “this is us as a student body saying we’re united, we’re one student body, horrible things are happening to students of color, because they’re students of color, and that’s wrong.”
During the period of debate, students raised questions about the bill’s specific references to the events at Yale University and University of Missouri, and debated the merits of referring to particular events and actions as opposed to a more generalized statement.
“There’s obviously a problem with racism in this country, and it’s obviously also evident on college campuses,” said Senator Ben Costanza (COL ‘18), who opposed the resolution’s language. “But what these students at Yale and Mizzou are doing is divisive. If the protesters focused on serious and sustained discourse, I would support them, but if they don’t change their message, I don’t support them.”
Senator Jasmin Ouseph (SFS ‘19), who worked on the resolution’s formation and language, explained that the views of students of color outside of GUSA, including members of the Black Leadership Forum and the Students of Color Alliance, were taken into consideration in the resolution’s writing, and advocated for keeping it as such. “We weren’t just going to stay that there’s racial injustice,” she said, “we wanted to say specific things because they are recent and relevant.”
After the meeting, Senate Speaker Enushe Khan (MSB ‘17) said that the goal of the resolution aimed to take a stand alongside students across the country. “It’s saying that we’re looking at this beyond just one community, we’re genuinely concerned and interested in what you have to say,” she said. “Black students matter, and what they care about matters to us.”