GUSA certified the election results of the Nov. 6 election at their most recent meeting on Nov. 7. President Nile Blass (COL ’22) also shared with the Senate the Executive’s priorities going forward. Of these, Blass stressed a push for student and faculty voting power on the Georgetown Board of Directors.
“We really want student and faculty voting power on the Board of Directors. That is probably going to be the hardest thing that the Executive is going to work on. I think that Georgetown is much better at financial and surface-level commitments than they are at things that change institutional dynamics of power,” Blass said.
The choice to advocate for more student and faculty representation on the Board of Directors is, in part, inspired by recent student-led protests at Howard University. Howard had a proportional representation of faculty and students on the university board for almost 50 years, but eliminated such representation in June 2021. Howard students are pushing for this representation to be restored. GUSA hopes that by establishing a board structure at Georgetown similar to Howard’s previous one, its advocacy will achieve a greater level of continuity.
“I think Georgetown’s strategy is usually to just wait us out because we graduate in four years, so if they can just wait us out, they don’t have to make any commitments,” said Blass. “To ensure that we have long-term solutions, this is a big part of it, making sure that we have a long-lasting presence that doesn’t matter if we are graduating.”
Blass, who ran last spring on a platform centered on restructuring GUSA, also touched on the next steps for restructure and reform. The restructure referendum did not pass in the Nov. 6 elections after failing to achieve the 25 percent affirmative threshold required for a GUSA referendum.
“Since we did not meet the 25 percent threshold for voting on restructure, the committee will have to reconsider its plans moving forward,” Blass said.
Speaker Leo Rassieur (COL ’22) provided updates on his work with the provost in regard to instituting a Latin American and Asian American Studies program. Despite years-long pushes for Georgetown to establish programs focusing on the experiences of Asian and Latinx Americans, the university has only a Latin American Studies minor and limited course offerings in Asian American Studies.
Rassieur had recently attended a student advisory committee meeting with Dean Soyica Colbert, and while there are no current plans to institute these programs, the university is looking at adding these courses of study as concentrations to the American Studies major.
Rassieur has also been working with the newly instituted university Ombudsmen to discuss bias and sensitivity training for staff members, and said one of his goals for the upcoming Senate would be to push for Georgetown’s inclusion on the Common Application.
The Senate certified the election results by unanimous consent, and the Elections Commission gave a presentation about the demographics of the 2021 student population and candidates. GUSA plans to conduct further research and demographic surveys in the coming weeks.
Vice Speaker Rowlie Flores (COL ’22) also reported that he met with Megan Chapple regarding the Metro U-Pass referendum and that next steps on this issue included data collection on student usage of D.C. public transportation.
Additionally, the Senate unanimously passed two resolutions. The first resolution expressed solidarity with George Washington University’s Jewish community following anti-Semitic vandalism at one of the university’s fraternity houses. The second resolution supported extending the hours of Epicurean and Co., emphasizing the need to compensate workers with overtime.
Leadership positions for various Senate committees and offices in the upcoming 16th Senate will be determined via internal election at the next GUSA meeting to be held Nov. 14 at 5 p.m.
This article has been updated to reflect a GUSA bylaw