The Georgetown University Student Association (GUSA) Senate unanimously approved three resolutions at its Feb. 19 meeting, which aim to address student concerns about the Georgetown University Police Department (GUPD), meal exchange options and finding roommates.
At the meeting, the senate passed an act to set up a student survey review of GUPD, an act to improve the campus Living Preference Questionnaire (LPQ) form and a resolution to clarify meal exchange options at Epicurean & Company, an on-campus restaurant. The senate also swore in new member Ana Martinez (SFS ’24) at the meeting, who will fill the class of 2024 senate seat, which was vacant following the Feb. 5 impeachment of former Senator Olivia Valante (CAS ’24).
Senators Megan Skinner (SFS ’24) and Rhea Iyer (CAS ’26) sponsored the act to encourage student feedback on GUPD. The act asks GUSA to distribute and publish an annual survey on students’ experiences with GUPD and to conduct a yearly review of GUPD’s efficacy after publishing survey results.
GUSA will set up a roundtable discussion with GUPD officials, students and GUSA members under this act with the aim of ensuring students feel truly protected on campus.
“Concerns about the conduct of GUPD have been heightened in the 2022-2023 school year,” the resolution reads. “Gathering data on student experiences with GUPD is in the interest of campus safety.”
GUPD has faced recent student backlash after conducting an investigation into a hate crime committed against LaHannah Giles (CAS ’23). GUPD lost footage related to the hate crime, and the university and GUPD have failed to take action against the perpetrator.
Skinner said that GUPD wants to hear from GUSA members and other students about how GUPD can better serve the community.
“We are hoping to actually institutionalize that feedback cycle to improve GUPD, especially because tensions between students and GUPD and the administration have been extremely high this semester,” Skinner said at the meeting. “GUSA can have a student experience survey that they distribute to the whole student population every year just to hear feedback, hear students’ experiences, hear what their concerns are, what they hope we can talk to GUPD about.”
Senators Meriam Ahmad (CAS ’26) and Jibril Syed (MSB ’24) also introduced a resolution urging Epicurean to better represent items on its meal exchange menu, which Senate Speaker Manahal Fazal (SFS ’24) co-sponsored. Currently, the ordering kiosks do not list certain meals that are available under the Meal Exchange plan, like the vegetarian Beyond burger, cheese quesadilla and vegetable quesadilla.
“There are limited vegetarian options covered under the Meal Exchange plan for students at Epicurean, and lack of visibility of the options prevents students with such dietary restrictions from using the meal exchanges,” the resolution reads. “To order Meal Exchange items that are not visible on the kiosk students have to order through an Epicurean employee at checkout which creates unnecessary barriers to ordering food.”
Ahmad said the act urges Epicurean to accurately advertise items available via Meal Exchange and make those meals available through its ordering kiosk.
“Epi is having inconsistencies with what’s on the Meal Exchange plan, what’s covered and what’s not,” Ahmad said at the meeting. “This resolution would encourage Epi’s to adopt the clarity on that so that people know what they can eat, what’s covered and to make sure that there isn’t any discrepancies in what’s on the kiosk and what’s actually covered.”
The final resolution, which Senators Rogan Zangari (SOH ’23) and Dylan Davis (CAS ’26) introduced and Senator Lucy Sonsalla (SFS, MSB ’23) co-sponsored, would modify the LPQ form, which the university uses to determine roommate compatibility in the Campus Housing Roommate Matching System (CHARMS).
The current LPQ form, which incoming first-years and some upperclassmen use to find roommates, consists of several multiple-choice questions, including whether students think it’s important for their rooms to be clean and whether students plan to get involved with extracurricular activities.
“It is understood that there are more components of a healthy roommate relationship than what is contained in the current questions,” the act reads. “The current LPQ form is lacking in open ended questions.”
Zangari said there are changes that can make the form better. The act proposes adding questions discussing political preferences, overnight guests and comfort sharing life experiences with potential roommates.
“The CHARMS form right now is complete garbage as understood,” Zangari said at the meeting. “It’s like five, six questions, and we think there’s a lot of improvements that can be made.”