The GUSA Executive proposed revisiting the concept of establishing a D.C. advocacy consortium, prompted by the recent student protests at Howard University, at their meeting on Oct. 24.
Howard students have been occupying the Armour J. Blackburn University Center for the last two weeks, protesting inadequate housing conditions with a list of demands for structural fixes to the university’s on-campus housing crisis. Along with the Blackburn sit-in, current inequities in financial aid at George Washington University have increased the necessity of such an advocacy organization, proponents of the consortium said.
The advocacy consortium, a pre-existing policy point for the Executive team, would essentially be a space for all colleges in the D.C. area to collaborate in their advocacy efforts. So far no official policy team has been established within GUSA, however, informal brainstorming between the Executive and students at Howard has begun. They plan to reach out to other D.C. area schools later this week.
Georgetown students, led by the Black Students Association and GUSA President Nile Blass, have already been involved in supporting the current protests at Howard through supply runs and other actions such as sharing the supply Cash-App: $thelivemovement.
Speaker Leo Rassieur (COL ’22) provided updates on the meal plan mandate and the advocacy work GUSA has done to negotiate with the administration. An email that went out to juniors and seniors on Oct. 21 reflects changes to this mandate. Although GUSA was not fully successful in convincing the university to reverse the meal plan to its format from the previous years, upperclassmen can now apply for funding to aid with food insecurity, per the university email.
“I think it’s really remarkable we were consulted so much for it, that the meal plan requirement to go back to the way it was in previous years, but that was something the administration wouldn’t budge on and obviously we’re going to keep pushing for that,” Vice-Speaker Rowlie Flores (COL ’22) said. “We’re happy that in the short-term, people can apply for funding.”
Flores also shared that there was a meeting regarding the Metro U-Pass referendum and a plan is being developed to help serve low-income students with internships or jobs downtown.
The next GUSA meeting has not been scheduled due to Halloween this coming weekend.
This article has been updated to reflect BSA efforts and include context about the Howard protests.