GUSA Senate elects new vice speaker

July 22, 2020

The GUSA Senate elected Sen. Christopher Ziac (COL ’22) to fill the position of vice speaker at their meeting on July 19 following the previous vice speaker’s resignation on July 9

Ziac ran against Sens. Zach Volpe (SFS ’23) and Zahra Wakilzada (SFS ’23). Wakilzada was endorsed by the previous vice speaker, Eric Lipka (COL ’23) in his resignation announcement. Lipka also endorsed Sen. Leo Teixeira (COL ’21), who did not run. Ziac won in the second round of ranked-choice voting, and Wakilzada came in second. 

Each candidate gave a short introduction explaining why they believed they would be a good fit for the vice speaker role. Ziac argued that his institutional knowledge would allow him to cooperate with university administration and the GUSA Executive on policy priorities, including the COVID-19 pandemic. “As vice speaker, I will work with the administration to reopen in the most equitable way possible,” he said. “I believe my deep knowledge will allow me to negotiate the reopening guidelines.”

The vice speaker’s duties in the Senate include running Ways and Means Committee meetings and working with the Senate’s speaker to handle the administration aspect of Senate activities.

The Senate also passed a resolution advocating for the university to take measures to combat food insecurity for Georgetown students during COVID-19.

Traditionally, the Hoya Hub, a food pantry based in the Leavey Center, provides food to those on campus who lack access to it. However, since many students will be living off-campus this semester due to Georgetown’s Fall 2020 plans and will not be allowed on campus, they will not be able to use the Hoya Hub.

The resolution notes that this inability to access on-campus resources will leave many students vulnerable to food insecurity. Thus, it calls on Georgetown to respond by offering a food stipend for students living off-campus and asks the Hoya Hub to help students access food pantries near their permanent address. In a July 7 email, Provost Robert Groves said students on financial aid living off-campus would be given a “modest living allowance,” but no further details have been provided. 

Sen. Joseph Yacovone (COL ’22) introduced the bill by pointing out that COVID-19 has left many students without consistent access to food. “Food insecurity was already a fairly big issue on college campuses across this country before the pandemic, and the ongoing crisis has only made things worse,” he said. “It’s important for us as a Senate to respond to different ways the policy from Georgetown can be adapted to better mitigate this key problem.”

The resolution passed unanimously by a voice vote. There were no abstentions.

The Senate will hold their next meeting on Aug. 2 at 5 p.m. EST over Zoom.

Ethan Greer
Ethan is an assistant news editor for the Voice and a sophomore in the College. In his free time he enjoys eating copious amounts of Chipotle.

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