The Georgetown University Student Association (GUSA) Senate passed a resolution endorsing student opposition to legacy admissions at Georgetown University at its Sept. 10 meeting.
Over 700 members of the Georgetown community have signed a petition released Aug. 27 calling for Georgetown to end preferential treatment in admissions for children of alumni, faculty or staff. The GUSA Senate will join 21 other student organizations in advocating for an end to legacy admissions.
Legacy admission has come under attack after the Supreme Court ruled in Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard that colleges could not use race-based affirmative action policies. Georgetown’s administration has not yet announced any changes to its admissions policy since the case was decided.
Senators Rhea Iyer (CAS ’26), Ethan Henshaw (CAS ’26), Dylan Davis (CAS ’26) and Meriam Ahmad (SFS ’26) sponsored the legislation, while Senator Saatvik Sunkavalli (SFS ’25) co-sponsored it.
While introducing the resolution, Henshaw said that legacy preference correlates with lower racial, cultural and economic diversity in universities.
“A report came out over the summer that said in light of the recent Supreme Court decision to end affirmative action, racial and economic diversity will fall in future admissions cycles,” Henshaw said at the meeting. “The best way to increase this, according to the report, is to end legacy preference in admissions.”
Sunkavalli, who co-sponsored the resolution, said he supports the legislation because it fits with GUSA’s mission to advocate on behalf of students’ interests.
“I think it is important that the Georgetown University Student Association supports the interests of the student body and promotes the kind of vision that we want to see on campus,” Sunkavalli said. “And in that regard, I think it’s a very good message to send on, and show we have the students’ best interests at heart.”
Senator George Currie (CAS ’26) said he opposed the resolution because he thought it would be fruitless in the face of the university’s administration.
“This seems to be something that no matter what we say, it won’t actually change,” Currie said at the meeting. “If we’re trying to improve the reputation of GUSA, it might not be worth putting our stamp on something that won’t go through.”
Senators John DiPierri (SFS ’25) and Max Massick (CAS ’24) argued that the resolution’s call for senators to “demand” an end to legacy admissions was too broad and vague to adequately address the issue of changes to the admissions process.
“The resolution supports this petition and says that we demand that we do this. It’s a very strong thing. It’s a very broad thing for all legacy people,” Massick said at the meeting. “There are a lot of shades of gray.”
DiPierri motioned to table the resolution and give the sponsors a chance to come back with a more nuanced proposal using different wording.
“I think there’s a lot of nuance that the resolution is missing. I think everyone in this room wants to see a fair admissions process for everybody. I don’t think anybody disagrees with that,” DiPierri said at the meeting. “I just think that we shouldn’t be so haphazard as to have the ‘demanding’ language and not recognize the nuances of legacy admissions.”
DiPierri’s motion to table failed; after a 30-minute debate surrounding the resolution, it passed with twelve votes in favor and six against.
Davis said that passing the resolution would give GUSA a chance to be part of a nationwide movement.
“We need to serve as a catalyst for a much larger push for equity in the admissions process,” Davis said at the meeting. “I think it’s very important that we protect diversity, and we ought to share our voice.”