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 Fulfills Duties to Students

I take issue with the article “GUSA Ignores Student Interests in Darnall” (The Hoya, Oct. 4, 2005, A3) by C. ichael Joiner and Jonathan Aires. Together they strike out against GUSA President Pravin Rajan and Facilities Secretary Eamonn Carr for not adequately consulting students on the future of the Darnall space, but they forget their own responsibility in the matter.

According to the article, students’ opinions appear “not to matter” to officials like Carr and Rajan. What doesn’t matter is criticism in hindsight. Constructive criticism and suggestions during the process matter big time. There is a process here. Our GUSA representatives operate in a representative democratic manner, which by definition means not consulting students on every issue. Direct democracy and constant referendums have been avoided historically because, as Carr suggests, they do make the process inefficient and unnecessarily slow. Thus, we have a choice: We can either fill our inboxes with surveys and sit idly as the spaces remain unused, or we can pass on our concerns to those whose job it is to weigh the options for us and find real benefits in real time. Furthermore, of all people, Carr and Rajan make the effort every day to engage students on their concerns and perspectives, so the personal attack on them is an unwarranted low-blow at best.

For example, let’s not forget that unless you cook every meal inside of your residence, Carr and Rajan’s choices are in students’ interest. More options on campus give students choice, and give Marriott competition. As we all know, competition will improve our options in both arenas and, as passing by the new food court tells, the throngs of students crowding Leavey at lunch these days show that the new options must be pleasing someone.

The article claims that GUSA never asked anyone’s opinion about the future of the space. Welcome to the real world! If you want your opinion to count, you best not be waiting until someone asks for it. Do you like the new Subway and Pizza Hut? If so, thank Carr and Rajan, because without their ideas, without their strong opinions, and most importantly without their perseverance on the matter, those establishments would not be here. The administration didn’t seek these folks out and poll them for their opinions; instead Carr and Rajan went to the administration with their hopes for the student population and fought.

The article later rejects Eamonn’s claim that the 2002 and 2003 student surveys were sufficient. Humor us and explain what fundamental change in student opinion since then has occurred to invalidate these results. Furthermore, in a time of budgetary restraint, students should not rely on the administration to spend money to seek out their opinions. If those opinions are so important, why must they be forced out of students? Moreover, many people don’t care about GUSA and would loathe the experience of completing another survey and receiving countless emails reminding them when they forget.

Finally, it is argued that “we [the students] are being shut out of a process.” Students have a plethora of opportunities to be part of the process including: running for a GUSA position, seeking one of the over 100 political appointments, contacting their representative, sending an e-mail to Carr or attending one of the countless meetings these dedicated supporters of student concerns go to that are almost always open to the public. Democracy is not about forcing participation, it is about facilitating it.

At the end of the day, the Joiner-Aires article is frustrating. It provides us with a completely biased survey that is, therefore, of little value, and sharp criticisms of individuals who literally spend hours every day working on issues to help benefit you. Aires and Joiner had a challenge, and I respond with a complementary challenge: Get out of your dorm or apartment, attend a meeting, and speak your voice when it matters, not after the fact.

Adam Judelson is a senior in the School of Foreign Service and former SAC commissioner.

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