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

Lack of Consensus Ends in Referendum

Members of the GUSA Constitutional Review Committee announced that they were unable to reach a consensus on the constitution for a new student government that would incorporate aspects of both GUSA and the proposed Yard by the March 15 deadline, which means that students will now vote on the Yard Constitution in a special referendum later this month.

In a special session of the GUSA Assembly on Wednesday, committee co-chairs Rob Bauer (COL ’03) and Jamal Epps (COL ’01) said they recommend that the GUSA Assembly take no action.

“We found that there were some issues that could not be compromised on both sides,” Epps said.

As a result, the university community will now have the opportunity to vote on a constitution created by the proposed Yard Student Association in a referendum March 29. Yard representative Jack Ternan (COL ’04) said the document, which is posted at, incorporates some of the work completed by the review committee. According to the proposed timeline, Wednesday was the last day changes to the Yard constitution would be accepted.

“The document as posted is the best document that we could propose,” Ternan said.

The aim of the review committee, which was formed in February following the recommendation of GUSA president Tawan Davis (COL ’01), was to review and revise the constitution of the present student government. According to Davis’ proposal, the committee’s revised constitution could pass by receiving the vote of the GUSA Constitution Committee and two-thirds of the Assembly on March 15.

After three weeks of brainstorming and collaboration by GUSA representatives, supporters of the proposed Yard and leaders from clubs, academic councils and InterHall, the committee presented its final constitution for the approval of the Yard Steering Committee Tuesday evening.

According to Epps, Yard members expressed several points of contention regarding the final constitution. “The Yard Steering Committee came to the [Constitutional Review Committee] with issues that the [review committee] had already discussed,” Epps said.

One major issue of disparity involved the university’s access to benefits policy. The present policy, as stated in the Student Organization Guide, grants student organizations and clubs certain benefits, including funding, office space and inclusion in the SAC Fair, based on such criteria as open membership, size and compliance with university policy.

Yard members said that they want to replace the current access to benefits policy with a “credentials committee” which would require the signatures of two tenured faculty members for organization recognition. The review committee said it could not agree to this proposal because it would violate university policy.

Bauer said that the stipulations under the present access to benefits policy provide students with a certain level of security and protection, while proposed Yard would not ensure the same level of safety.

Yard proponents also expressed several other concerns Tuesday to the limited time frame that they say ultimately prevented any resolution.

The committee dedicated a total of nine working meetings and two open forums to the formulation of a constitution that they felt would best represent the university community over the past month. The main issues addressed involved providing for greater accountability and wider student involvement in the new student government. “I’m frustrated that we could not reach a consensus within the committee because of some last minute issues,” Bauer said.

Anthony Marinello (COL ’04), GUSA representative and member of the committee, agreed. “It’s disappointing that we ran out of time in our discussion and it’s truly unfortunate because we were working for something good,” he said.

Like many involved in the process, Marinello said that he hopes that students understand the issues so that they can make an informed decision on March 29. “I hope that the student body knows what they’re going to vote on,” he said.

GUSA president-elect and Ryan DuBose (COL ’02) and vice president-elect Brian Walsh (COL ’02) said that regardless of the structure of next year’s student government they are ready to fulfill their aims, as stated in their platform.

Whether the university community chooses to keep GUSA as the student government or to adopt the proposed Yard Constitution is ultimately not the issue for DuBose and Walsh. “We want a student association that students can stand behind,” DuBose said.

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