Articles tagged: Saxa Politica
This week the Georgetown University Student Association swore in the 27 newly elected student senators elected to serve their fellow classmates for the coming year. Their friends and their fellow residents have likely congratulated them for their victories. But are congratulations truly in order after this election? The answer is both yes and no.
It’s that time of year again, when we elect a number of our fellow classmates to senatorship in the Georgetown University Student Association. As regular as the yearly elections are, so are the outlandish promises made by candidates as they vie for the few votes necessary to win (one student only had to garner four votes to win one of last year’s GUSA Senate elections).
The Healy Pub proposal took a major hit this past week following the Voice and The Hoya’s biannual interview with University President John DeGioia and Vice President for Student Affairs Todd Olson. Despite meetings conducted by the Georgetown Univerity Student Associations’s Finance and Appropriations Committee that solidified the design and space for the Healy Pub, DeGioia and Olson seemed to indicate that the plan to bring back the pub was most likely dead on arrival.
The first edition of “What sucks: Tombs trivia’s most offensive team names” on Vox Populi, the Voice’s blog, provoked a large outcry of responses both denouncing and defending the names. Many commenters called for the Tombs to ban team names with jokes about sexual assault, sexual orientation, or natural disasters, among other potentially offensive topics.
Next week, the Georgetown University Student Association will vote in the student activities fee budget, concluding a months-long process that determines how to dole out $800,000 in club funding. Under the present model, GUSA is the only body with power over the budget, and GUSA senators ultimately make subjective decisions as to what constitutes an important contribution to student life.
Georgetown University Student Association presidents only occupy their post for one or two years, making it difficult for them to leave a mark on student life or deliver on optimistic campaign promises. The incoming GUSA executive, Mike Meaney (SFS ’12) and Greg Laverriere (COL ’12), would do well to heed the words of their predecessors—eschew flashy plans for those that will leave positive impacts.
Too often, student government can devolve into self-promotion with little substantive achievement. But having voted in Student Activities Fee Endowment reform and launched a new, usable website last semester, the Georgetown University Student Association looks poised for a strong semester. If last Sunday’s meeting is any indication of the sessions to come, the Senate appears to be maintaining its momentum with a set of initiatives that will make important contributions to student life.
Most students know Georgetown’s Advisory Neighborhood Commissioners as the people who shutdown late-night haven Philly Pizza. This incident shows that the ANC has wider powers than its “advisory” moniker might suggest, and their authority touches many aspects of student life. At the same time, however, the current composition of the commission undercuts the student voice.
Last fall, some Georgetown University Student Association senators made an alarming discovery: they were short an expected $8.2 million in student funds. Every year, students pay a $100 Student Activities Fee, but we only use half of it every year to provide approximately $315,000 in club funding. Ever since the student activity fee was created in 2001, the other half of the fee has gone into the Georgetown Student Activities Fee Endowment, a section of the larger University endowment.
The closer we get to the midterms, the less Democrats and Republicans can agree on. The Republicans are the party of no; the Democrats are the party of “maybe, after I’m reelected.” National leaders could use a lesson from our peers in the Georgetown University College Democrats, the Georgetown University College Republicans.
It’s a time-honored tradition for Georgetown University Student Association senate candidates—mostly well-meaning freshmen—to promise us better food at Leo’s and greater access to wireless Internet. But students who have been at Georgetown more than a month know that these issues are thornier, more bureaucratic, and more infuriating.
Flipping through old Voice archives was enough to give me déjà vu. “SAC continues freeze of GUSA funds,” March 4, 1999. “Gay activists press demands,” Feb. 13, 1973. “Residents say GU must justify higher enrollment,” Nov. 11, 1999. Reading through archives, it is increasingly apparent that we’ve been fighting the same battles for decades. Georgetown University Student Association versus Student Activities Commission. Students versus neighbors. Activists versus the administration. University Information Services versus technology.
There’s a new group of student activists at Georgetown and their demands—in the name of human rights and international law—deserve to be taken seriously. Georgetown, Divest! is part of a growing movement of students across the U.S. demanding that their universities divest from corporations that profit from violations of human rights and international law in Israel and the Palestinian territories.