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GUSA Senate begins initial steps of Senate restructuring, supports AAPI community and International Women’s Day

Published March 18, 2021


The GUSA Senate passed a resolution encouraging Georgetown to formally recognize International Women’s Day and an act to amend the bylaws to reduce the number of policy coalitions at their meeting on March 14.

Both the International Women’s Day resolution and act to begin restructuring the GUSA Senate passed unanimously with no abstentions. The Senate also introduced a statement of support for the Asian American and Pacific Islander community amidst white supremacist violence and hate crimes.

Sens. Adora Adeyemi (MSB ’24) and Lara Santana (SFS ’24) introduced a resolution encouraging the administration to recognize International Women’s Day by urging teachers to allot time to discuss International Women’s Day in classes, committing to a social media campaign with the goal of uplifting women’s voices, and drawing attention to the work of the Women’s Resource Center, LGBTQ+ Resource Center, and student organizations like BRAVE and Hermanes de Georgetown.

The resolution also advocates for the establishment of an on-campus affinity space for women, especially trans women. Although the proposal is in its initial stages, the two have begun to collaborate with women’s advocacy networks and a women’s center. “We want to take this support and turn it into action,” Santana said.

Sen. Leo Rassieur (COL ‘23) also introduced an act to implement the first steps on the Senate restructuring project. The project, a major campaign goal of the Blass-Sanchez administration, envisions a GUSA that is less hierarchical and bureaucratic and better suited to student activism. The Senate act reduced the number of policy coalitions in GUSA from 26 to 21, eliminating or consolidating coalitions addressing Arts, Athletics, Business, Free Speech, Residential Living, Transportation, and Unrecognized Groups.

Sens.  Melanie Cruz-Morales (COL ‘22) and Dominic Gordon (SFS ’24) both spoke in favor of the act, and no senators spoke in opposition.

Following the act’s implementation, the rest of the restructuring plan will be handled by the GUSA Executive, according to Vice President Nicole Sanchez (SFS ’22). The decision is a result of the unstable makeup of the Senate as positions shift during the transition to a new executive.

Sen. Gordon was also unanimously elected as Vice Chair of the Ethics and Oversight Committee. Gordon was previously the representative to the committee, which many senators highlighted in their support of him.

Several senators also voiced concerns about student celebrations following the men’s basketball team’s win at the Big East Tournament Championship, citing a lack of GUPD enforcement of COVID-19 precautions at large social gatherings. One such incident was visible at the front gates to the university, where a large group of students could be seen celebrating without social distancing or wearing masks.

The meeting concluded with a statement of support for the AAPI community following a recent surge in hate crimes. In the last year, there were over 3,800 incidents of hate, discrimination, or even direct physical attacks against Asian Americans across America. Following the murder of 8 people, 6 of whom were of Asian descent, in spas in Atlanta on March 17, the Office of the Executive Vice President of Health Sciences released a statement of solidarity with the AAPI community and shared a time for a Peace Vigil to honor the victims.

The GUSA statement demands further action from the university, including a community space for AAPI identity and culture on campus and the development of an Asian American studies program. Thirteen senators signed the statement.

The Senate will hold its next meeting on March 21 at 6 p.m. EST over Zoom.

 

This article has been updated to reflect Sen. Cruz-Morales’ name


Nora Scully
Nora is a sophomore in the SFS studying Science, Technology, and International Affairs. She enjoys cats and dogs of all types and has been working on approaching D.C. dog owners to ask to pet their dog(s).


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