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

GUSA Assembly Passes Reform Compromise

GUSA Assembly Passes Reform Compromise

Accord Reached Despite Controversy Raised by `Common Sense’ Pamphlet

By Clare McMahon Hoya Staff Writer

Over 180 students turned out for Tuesday’s GUSA Assembly meeting to see representatives vote 14-1-1 in favor of a compromise on the semester-long constitutional issue. According to the resolution, a Student Leadership Reform Group will be formed to examine the current constitution and reform it however the group sees fit.

The reform process will include several town hall meetings, open to all Georgetown students to give their input. The final draft of the new constitution will be submitted to students on the same day as the March elections for next year’s GUSA executives.

According to the compromise, the S.L.R.G. will consist of 12 students and be chaired by GUSA Vice President Austin Martin (COL ’99). Six of these students will be elected in a general election to be held on Monday, Jan. 25. The other six members will apply and be appointed by GUSA President John Glennon (COL ’99)and Martin, following a review by the Assembly.

While most members of the Assembly were in favor of this process, one problem some representatives raised was the Jan. 25 general election date. The original compromise resolution designated that the election would be held on Dec. 2 to allow the S.L.R.G three months to review and change the constitution.

However, at Tuesday’s meeting, GUSA Representative Yea Afolabi (COL ’00) and Election Commissioner Jackie Shapiro (COL ’99) proposed a resolution to change the election date to Jan. 25, claiming that the original Dec. 2 date gives students little time to learn more about the S.L.R.G. and to plan their campaigns, should they decide to run for a position. The resolution was passed 10-4-2, despite Representatives Jasper Ward’s (COL ’01) and Rip Andrew’s (SFS ’01) protests.

According to Ward, “Our plan called for three months of dialogue about the actual constitution. This plan is one and a half months of politics and only one and a half months of dialogue.” Ward is a Hoya staff writer.

The compromise was the result of a meeting held Saturday of 13 concerned students, including Ward, Andrews, Glennon, and Martin. Its approval comes after a tense week for GUSA representatives, beginning with Sunday’s distribution of a pamphlet called “Common Sense: A Look at the History of Georgetown’s Student Leadership, its Current Problems, and a Range of Possible Solutions.”

The pamphlet, organized by Ward, Andrews, and six of their supporters, was distributed to residence halls. Andrews said Wednesday night that the eight group members each contributed $45 to print the pamphlet on a student’s desktop printer, for a total of $360.

The pamphlet drew criticism from various members of the Assembly, who said there was misinformation and half-truths throughout the material. Associate Dean of Students Penny Rue, who was paraphrased in the pamphlet, wrote a letter to the Assembly, saying “I was disappointed to see this supposed quote, because it does not represent my viewpoint.”

Glennon also spent part of Tuesday’s meeting highlighting inconsistencies in the pamphlet, which claimed that students at various other universities wield more power with administration. As a result, Glennon investigated the student government powers at schools like Duke, Harvard and Brown, and reported that, across the board, students were disillusioned and unable to create change within their administrations.

In response to the pamphlet, Glennon also said, “Anyone can get people angry, but it takes a good leader to bring people together. the pamphlet claims that student apathy erodes GUSA’s effectiveness, but I can think of no better way to erode GUSA than this asinine debate and petty bickering.”

In an effort to end the bickering, Glennon voted to support the compromise, but he did voice his reservations, and described any constitutional changes as “purely cosmetic.”

Several other GUSA representatives also criticized the crowd of students who came to support the pamphlet. “Who the fuck are you people and where have you been when we’ve needed you at the committees?” asked Representative Nick Johnston (COL ’99), “Was `Dawson’s Creek’ cancelled tonight or something?”

This remark drew boos and hisses from the audience, but other students, while hopeful about the prospect of change, were also skeptical about the excitement that filled the room. Jacques Arsenault (COL ’01) pointed out that only 14 students attended Tuesday night’s meeting to help choose a new dean of the College, as current dean Robert Lawton will be leaving at the end of this academic year. “I’m glad we’re all excited,” Arsenault said, “But all this excitement could have made a real impact at the Dean’s Search Committee meeting. I think we need to ask ourselves what we’re so excited about.”

Despite criticism, the many students in support of the pamphlet remained spirited throughout the meeting, applauding often, and speaking out in defense of their cause. Prior to the meeting, they attended a rally held in the Dahlgren Quadrangle, complete with fire jugglers and unicycle riders. When it was time for the proceedings to begin, they marched into the Leavey Center shouting “Hoya Saxa” and clapping.

“These changes need to happen – that’s why everyone came out tonight and stayed for such a long time despite delay tactics,” Andrews said.

Few students stayed for the duration of the meeting, however, as it lasted past midnight. By the end, most students, representatives included, expressed frustration with the tedious debate, and the amount of time it has taken to reach a compromise.

“We’ve just wasted a perfectly good opportunity to get people involved – we had such a big crowd and all we did was talk about this pamphlet,” said GUSA Assembly Chair Chris Rull (NUR ’99).

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