GUSA passes legislation advocating for students during virtual learning period

January 13, 2022

Following the heated debate in last week’s meeting, GUSA took further action to address student concerns about the upcoming virtual learning period in a shorter and productive meeting on Jan. 9. 

The Senate passed two pieces of legislation addressing the changes brought by the virtual format of classes for the start of the spring 2022 semester. GUSA also released a statement to advocate for students who receive federal work-study awards and will be impacted by Georgetown’s current COVID policies, and discussed upcoming meetings with university administration regarding COVID policies, potential tuition refunds, and GU272. 

Following the bill debated at last week’s meeting, the Senate passed the most widely supported parts as its own resolution. This passed resolution addresses the transition to virtual education, calling for an extended withdrawal deadline until Jan. 21, and that the university revert to the S/C/NC grading scale used in the 2020-2021 school year in the event of mandatory online classes for the entirety of the school year. Furthermore, the final draft of the resolution requests that students receive a reduction in fees due to the closure of on-campus facilities like Yates Field House. This revised resolution omitted the call for a hybrid learning option that was hotly debated at the previous week’s meeting. 

The second piece of legislation calls for prorated refunds for housing and dining. Written and introduced by Vice Speaker Rowlie Flores (COL ’22), this resolution pushes for reimbursement for the housing and dining services that might not be utilizing due to COVID restrictions and the virtual learning format. Flores noted that even students who move in on Jan. 11 should be fully reimbursed for guest meal swipes, as these will go unused due to COVID restrictions. In addition to refunds for the guest swipes, Flores also proposed that students should be refunded for each calendar day they do not utilize housing and dining services, reimbursements which should be based on a student’s expected financial contribution.  

Speaker Leo Rassieur (COL ’22), Flores, Sen. Nirvana Khan (SFS ​​’24), Sen. Deborah Wey (SFS ’24), Sen. Brett Guessford (COL ’23), and Sen. Mirka Sosa (COL ’23) also released a joint statement to address the challenges that Georgetown Scholars Program and FGLI students may face during the virtual learning period. The statement focuses on students who receive federal work study who, due to facilities like Yates Field House being closed, may be left without sufficient work hours or pay. The statement called on the university to “to allow work study recipients to submit their regular weekly hours, regardless of if they are able to continue employment in-person.”

The Executive, represented by President Nile Bass (COL ’22), announced plans to meet with the administration regarding COVID policies; an additional meeting with President DeGioia’s Chief of Staff, Joseph A. Ferrara, to discuss GU272 is also scheduled.

The speaker noted upcoming elections set for Feb. 10-12 to elect a new president and vice president, a slate that will serve from the first GUSA meeting after election day until Dec. 31, 2022. This announcement introduces a new timeline for elections in which the executive and freshmen senators are elected in November while the remaining senators are elected in February. Campaigning for the upcoming election is set to begin on Jan. 27. 

GUSA will not meet Jan. 16 and the date of the next meeting is yet to be announced. 

Franzi Wild
Franzi Wild is a junior in the SFS and the news editor. She likes the natural world, Arabic verb forms, and kindness. She dislikes institutions and the people who protect them.

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