The Georgetown University Student Association senate amended the bylaws for the Ethics and Oversight Committee, which launched last month, to require more training in student health and misconduct topics after executive resignations earlier this semester.
The GUSA senate established the Ethics and Oversight Committee last month after the resignation of former GUSA President Sahil Nair (SFS ’19), Vice President Naba Rahman (SFS ’19), Chief of Staff Aaron Bennett (COL ’19) and 10 other executive members. The committee’s original responsibilities included monitoring senators’ attendance at meetings, investigating conflicts of interest and tracking the senate’s finances. The committee retains the power to begin impeachment processes.
The amendment requires voting members of the Ethics and Oversight Committee to receive training from student groups in topics such as the mental and physical health of students, sexual misconduct and general student safety within a month of joining the committee. The committee is also responsible for providing resources to students in cases concerning student health and safety.
Under the new amendment, committee members are now also ineligible to actively participate in, endorse or associate themselves with any GUSA executive campaign.
The bylaw changes were a joint endeavor between the GUSA executive and legislative branches, according to GUSA press secretary Jonathon Marek.
“The Executive worked closely with the Senate to ensure that this legislation will provide an improvement in GUSA transparency, which is a priority for this administration given the events of earlier this year,” Marek wrote in a message to The Hoya.
The committee is chaired by GUSA senator Dylan Hughes (COL ’19), who has said previously that the committee was created independently of Nair’s resignation.
The new prohibition on committee members’ active engagement in GUSA Executive campaigns will increase the accountability of GUSA’s leadership and improve the Senate’s overall transparency, according to Hughes.
“These are all pretty good changes, they were brought up somewhat unorthodoxly, but that doesn’t change the substance themselves,” Hughes said at Sunday’s senate meeting, when the bylaws. “After having worked through it over the past couple of weeks as a whole body, as a whole working group, I’m confident in always looking to improve this particular committee as well as the whole senate.”
The GUSA senate also passed two resolutions during the Sunday meeting.
The first resolution expressed solidarity for the Jewish community at Georgetown after the Oct. 27 Tree of Life Synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh.
“This has been something that has been really tough for a lot of Jews on campus to go through, it hits close to home for a lot of people. There’s been a lot of conversation on how to move forward, how to support the community,” Senator Lexie Gutierrez (COL ’20) said at the meeting. “We’re showing people that we’re here, we care and we’re listening, and we’re supportive.”
The second resolution supports a petition to extend the university’s faculty parental leave policy to full time nontenure-line faculty. The petition, put forth by the Joint Main Campus Committee on Full-Time Nontenure-Line Issues, garnered 282 signatures in early October. The chair of the committee and two signatories delivered the petition to the Office of the President. The proposition is being “seriously considered” by the university, according to Provost Robert Groves.
The full senate will meet again Sunday, Nov. 11 in Healy 104 at 5 p.m.