Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Club Leaders Continue Push for SAC Reform

A group of 46 student leaders, including 30 club executives and 12 Georgetown University Student Association senators, executives and executive candidates, sent a second open letter to SAC Thursday night, urging the committee to incorporate student feedback into the revised guidelines.

“The point of the vote is to mandate feedback and the incorporation of feedback,” said International Relations Club President Eitan Paul (SFS ’12), who has spearheaded the effort.

The message would come less than a week after the first open letter, which was sent Feb. 18 and demanded a formal mechanism whereby student groups could provide input before the new guidelines were released. While SAC did not hold a forum before issuing the new guidelines, commissioners said that much of the feedback that had been provided during the semester was incorporated into the revisions.

At a meeting earlier this week, SAC commissioners discussed an amendment to their constitution that would allow revisions to funding guidelines during the fiscal year, according to SAC Commissioner Ruiyong Chen (SFS ’13). The constitution currently states that once adopted, guidelines are binding for the year.


If the amendment — which will go to vote Monday — is adopted, SAC might consider holding one or more town halls to allow for formal student feedback.

“SAC recognizes and takes responsibility for the fact that certain processes have been rushed this semester, but we’re looking forward to working with student groups on working to make the funding process better,” Chen said.

Possible revisions would be incorporated into the guidelines later in the semester, after groups have submitted their Programming Arcs — the plans that clubs must submit detailing the events they will hold in the coming year — on March 1.

“We’re keeping to our current deadlines,” Chen said.

Commissioners have emphasized the importance of allocating early so that groups have time to reserve campus spaces.

But Paul stated that he is not entirely appeased by the proposal of town halls, saying that while he appreciated the sentiment, he thought it might only create the illusion of real change.

Matt Bernstein (COL ’13), treasurer of the College Democrats, said it was important for the guidelines to be put to a vote because SAC commissioners do not have as much experience with programming as club leaders.

“SAC is a body that consists of 12 students and a university employee,” he said. “[A vote] could best and most accurately depict what students think.”

Paul added that if the majority of clubs are satisfied with the current guidelines, he will stop pushing for changes.

“I’m pretty confident that the majority of clubs who care enough to vote would say they are dissatisfied,” he said.

Chen said SAC may consider putting the guidelines to a vote, as the club leaders have demanded.

Paul has also charged SAC with violating parts of a GUSA resolution passed last year to reform the conduct of advisory boards such as SAC. The letter cited four violations, including failure to comply with provisions for an appeals process and a requirement that advisory committees hold meetings open to the public.

Chen said that the commission does have an appeals process, it just isn’t widely known.

She also pointed out that the meeting in which the guidelines were revised wasn’t closed.

“It was more that we didn’t publicize it,” Chen said. “It wasn’t intentional and malicious. We were just working in crunch time.”

William Kim (SFS ’13), who was a SAC commissioner during spring 2010, said he signed the letter because he thought the revised guidelines have hurt clubs more than they have helped.

“Originally, it was supposed to be easier for everyone,” he said.  “It turns out, at least from my perspective, that it isn’t.”

Kim hoped the letter would allow for a more open conversation with SAC. Similarly, Paul stressed his optimism that the letter signatories would be able to work with SAC commissioners to find a solution. He said that he hopes the vote will allow student groups to begin to working directly with SAC instead of trying to pressure them through outside routes.

“I really do believe they have our best interests at heart,” Paul said.

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