The GUSA Senate did not pass a resolution that would have called for the expulsion of any students found guilty in the admissions scandal at their April 7 meeting.
The proposed resolution called on the administration to take action against students found guilty of admissions fraud by the Department of Justice, which has not yet happened. The resolution would have asked the university to expel any current students found guilty, revoke degrees from any who have graduated, and bar all from Georgetown graduate programs. It would have also called the university to conduct an investigation into any students found guilty.
There were no students charged by the Department of Justice as a result of their “Varsity Blues” investigation into the nationwide college admissions scandal, so no students could be found guilty at this time.
Sen. Evan Ferrara (COL ’19), who introduced the resolution, felt it was important to limit condemnation to students found guilty, and to focus on future actions. “If these students are found guilty, what do we actually think would be the right solution for Georgetown to take?” he posed as the question the resolution sought to answer.
The students who spoke in opposition did not question the premise that students admitted fraudulently should be condemned, but rather the efficacy of the resolution. Sen. Sam Dubke (SFS ’21) questioned the place of the Senate, saying, “I think they did commit the crimes but I don’t think that us calling them out advocates for anything.”
Sen. Julio Salmeron-Perla (SFS ’22), who is also a member of the Honor Council, said that students would already be expelled if they were found guilty, regardless of the resolution. Sen. Harry Clow (MSB ’19) echoed this sentiment. “No matter what we do it’s not going to do anything,” he said. “I don’t see the Senate’s place in this matter.”
Senators also expressed that Georgetown would seek to expel these students any way in order to preserve its reputation. Sen. Salmeron-Perla felt that Georgetown would act in order to keep up the value of its degrees.
Sen. Dylan Hughes (COL ’19) said that the point of the resolution was not necessarily taking action, but supporting students who have been hurt by this news. “The value of this is we’re saying that GUSA stands for something, that GUSA is willing to take a moral stance,” they said.
In the same meeting, the Senate also passed two acts to increase oversight and knowledge within GUSA. Dubke introduced An Act to Amend the Bylaws, creating the position of Transition Ethics and Oversight Chair, allowing for the establishment of provisional bylaws for the summer, and requiring Senate confirmation for positions that oversee policy chairs. The Senate passed the act unanimously.
The Senate also unanimously passed an Act to Amend the Bylaws to Establish an Access and Wellness Department. This department will “exist for the purposes of supporting all branches of GUSA and ensuring that student representatives are trained, aware, and knowledgeable about campus resources.” It would include a chair, Senate liaison, and external advisor. Speaker Eliza Lafferty (COL ’21), who introduced the act, said the purpose was to ensure that all GUSA participants were prepared to take their positions through training and resources.
The Senate confirmed three executive nominees — Kristina Yarovinsky (MSB ’22) as Executive Treasurer, Henry Westerman (SFS ’20) as Executive Co-Historian and Nile Blass (COL ’22) as Gender Equity Chair.
The Senate will meet next on April 14 to close business and verify the Senate election results.