GUSA’s Controversies Issue Challenge to All

By Owen Halloran And Adam Thompson

Three weeks ago, Adam Thompson (SFS ’01) and I dared to begin a campaign for the GUSA executive offices. In this process, we found that there is an inherent paradox: Attempting to unite students on this campus is very fragmenting. Boundaries are drawn between campaigns, between a candidate’s relationship with his or her friends and within a candidate’s own conscience. What doomed our campaign was the fact that we saw these boundaries and realized that such restrictions did nothing to promote the unity and positive spirit that this campus so desperately needs.

It was difficult for Adam and me to feign friendships with those we did not know and to be enemies with those who were already our friends. Playing the “political game” and the role of “hardened politicians” simply contradicts the purpose of this office, which is to rally and bring students together so that we may all work as one body to achieve a common ends. This was our goal, our vision. A political leader today must compromise his goals and visions in order to appeal to the masses. But Adam and I were incapable of sacrificing our hearts and our beliefs for an extra vote, and because of this, we learned that politics was not for us. Discouraged, tired and heart-broken, we decided to end our campaign and refocus our dreams and ambitions for this campus elsewhere.

We see the lack of a powerful and unified student organization as the most pressing problem for the students on this campus. GUSA is supposed to provide a medium through which students can voice their concerns to the administration and have these concerns addressed. This organization is supposed to be GUSA, but GUSA is not the association of students that it needs to be. It is not a strong lobbying organization but instead a point of departure for student’s future political careers. Subsequently, university administrators continue to make decisions and to take actions that are not in the interest of the students, and they get away with it.

We need leaders who are in GUSA for the sheer sake of its unrivaled power to affect change and become a voice of the students to the administration and the rest of the nation. In order for a student association to lobby on behalf of the students, it must get them inspiredand motivated to participate. GUSA members should seek to act as catalysts to promote as much student involvement as possible. This campus consists of over 6,000 students who are born-leaders. Let them get involved! Then how will the administration be able to ignore us when making decisions pertinent to the future of this campus?

A major problem with the current GUSA campaign is that candidates are judged too heavily on their specific platform issues when the true problem is that there is currently no legitimate institution in which a platform can come to fruition. The issues addressed on many platforms are merely symptoms of a fragmented and disturbingly disjointed campus. It is this problem that the candidates should first seek to cure. When this is done, it would not be difficult to brainstorm a list of pending issues and their potential solutions. Those in elected office should realize that more important than a platform is the need to form channels of open discourse with each and every student and to take these concerns as their primary focus.

As concerned students of this great university, we make the following requests. We ask that no matter which ticket wins the election, its members should seek to get the other candidates who ran for the position involved. Holding grudges does nothing but limit the availability of hard-working individuals who believe in Georgetown and want to work for the same cause. And we challenge those students who care that this university might be headed in the wrong direction to step up and participate actively and selflessly.

Owen J. Halloran is a junior in the McDonough School of Business and Adam Thompson is a junior in the School of Foreign Service.

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