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

Students Must Be Part of Creating Change at GU

Over the past few weeks, confusion about student commissions has been growing, culminating in charges that we, as elected representatives of the student body, are using student commissions as a means of shirking our responsibilities to work on behalf of students. This notion represents a fundamental misunderstanding of student commissions and their purposes.

We as senators are certainly accountable for student commissions. More importantly, the commissions are part of the larger mission of institutional reform we are trying to set in motion this year – designed not only to ensure that all senators are tackling student concerns, but also to allow unelected students who are passionate about particular issues to have a substantial role in working alongside us, as we seek to produce tangible change on campus.

There are numerous accountability measures that apply to every commission created, whether the commission is composed primarily of senators or a mix of senators and non-senators. When a commission is created, it is given specific goals that its members should seek to achieve, and its work should be limited to realizing these goals. The chairperson of a commission must submit a report to the speaker once every two months that details the activities of the commission and its members. Moreover, only the chairperson and other officers are authorized to speak on behalf of the student association with administrators, faculty, students or the media. Each commission must report all expenditures to the senate and notify us whenever it receives funds from any source other than the student association.

Furthermore, the senate retains the right to remove any student serving on a student commission or to prevent a student from serving, should a valid reason arise for doing so. There are more accountability measures in place, but to detail them all would belabor the point.

What is important to understand is how we hope to reform student government so the institution in place is one that consistently facilitates effective advocacy on behalf of students. We intend to have all senators who are not in administrative roles (and even most of those who are) doing substantial work for at least one of the student commissions we create. This way, everyone in the senate is focusing on specific student issues and concerns.

We know, however, there are many students who are not serving in the senate who care about particular campus issues and want to work to resolve them. Consequently, we have created commissions for any interested students to work alongside us in our efforts, even in the role of chairperson if they have the requisite dedication and passion. We hope this will allow us to harness the initiative and energy of the student body to advocate for and produce positive changes on campus.

We would like to take this opportunity to invite anyone who is interested to join us in working for a better Georgetown experience. If there is something you do not like about the way Georgetown works, if there is a particular issue you care about or are an expert on, or if you just want to get involved in student government, student commissions are an excellent way to effect change.

One of the most underutilized resources GUSA needs to harness is the energy and passion of the student body, and we hope the use of student commissions will remedy this problem. If you want to get involved with GUSA through working on one of our commissions, which this year are focusing on issues such as extending the add/drop period, expanding meal plan options, reforming the Code of Student Conduct, improving campus wireless access, and fostering a greater sense of community on campus, please do not hesitate to e-mail us. Your involvement may not only benefit us as an organization, but also could benefit the student body as a whole.

Reggie Greer is a senior in the College and speaker for the GUSA Senate. Brian Wood is a senior in the College and vice-speaker for the GUSA Senate.

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