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 Seeks Student Seat On Board

Committee Formed To Draft Final Proposal By Dave Heaton Hoya Staff Writer

In accordance with a GUSA resolution passed late last semester, an official ad hoc committee has been formed within the student association to lobby the board of directors of Georgetown University to allow a student to sit and vote with the group.

That resolution, passed unanimously by the GUSA Assembly on Nov. 8, 1999, also called for a letter to be sent to Chairman John R. Kennedy (CAS ’52). It was delivered later that week

The group, which is being led by the Sophomore Class Representative Aaron Polkey (COL ’02), is working “to further explore, draft, submit and present the proposal,” in accordance with the wording of the resolution. According to Freshman Class Representative and committee member Missy Foy (COL ’03), “[the committee] is presenting a proposal directly to the board of directors saying that we would like a seat on the already established committee.”

According to Polkey, who authored the original resolution adopted by GUSA, the ultimate proposal will be finalized before spring break and will be presented to the board itself at upcoming next meeting. “It is the highest representative body on campus, and it should not just be a board of visitors. It should include those most affected by their decisions.” However, “we expect to present this in a purely professional manner, and we are not seeking controversy,” he added.

Students interested in forming the committee gathered on Sunday afternoon to develop a plan of action. Four of those members have also declared themselves as candidates in the upcoming executive elections for GUSA. Joe Morrow (SFS ’01), Catie Sheehan (COL ’01), Keavney Klein (NUR ’02) and Ryan Erlich (SFS ’01) have all announced an intention to run for either the GUSA presidency or vice presidency.

The group has identified five areas of focus (students, administration, faculty, parents and alumni) in order to gain support and momentum for their proposal going into the next board meeting. Klein, a sophomore class representative in GUSA, is heading up the campaign to gauge student interest. In order to determine student response, the committee is planning to work with Saxa Server President Pablo Liska (MSB ’00) to design an online survey.

The survey, of which students will be notified in an e-mail in the coming weeks, will ask students if they felt that their interests would be better represented if a student were allowed to sit on the board and if they would be more willing to donate to the university as alumni knowing that students had a voice on the board.

Ory Abramowicz (SFS ’02), a student member of the Alumni Board of Governors, is working to gain the support of the faculty for the proposal. In the coming weeks, “we will contact the Faculty Senate and we will be talking with professors that have helped students in the past during talks with the administration,” he said.

Already, university administrators have expressed doubts about allowing student input on the board. In response to the resolution passed by the student association in November, Dean of Students James Donahue said, “I think it would require a radical change in the way we think about university governance.”

Hans P. Zeigler (F ’63), a board member and Georgetown alumnus, said in a letter addressed to The Hoya in November, “I believe that this current arrangement [of an external board] for ensuring student contributions works well, just as I believe that the current structure of the board works and serves the university well.”

Nevertheless, students remain optimistic. “This has been an idea within GUSA for years, and I think that the goal is finally in sight,” said Klein. “If we can demonstrate to the board the overwhelming support of the students we may finally achieve a student representative on the highest university board.”

NOTES: Also at the meeting, Freshman Class Representative Sean Hawks was commended for getting University Information Systems to agree to re-allow students to access the Napster Music Community, a Web site where users can exchange MP3s . . . Brian Walsh (COL ’02), sophomore class representative, said that he is meeting with various administrators, including the athletic department, about getting funding for club sports … Junior Class Representative and presidential candidate Catie Sheehan said that she is working with the administration to start a student activities fee that will ultimately increase funding for student groups on campus, possibly including club sports.

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