Well, it’s over. After months of appeals, arguments, hearsay and rumors, Kelley and Luis were sworn into office on Tuesday evening as your GUSA President and Vice President. No longer will anybody have “President-elect” following his or her name, no longer will people stop us in the hallway (this much we can only hope) to ask, “How’s all that election stuff going?” We have closure.
We do not, however, have resolution.
We wish Kelley and Luis all the best over the coming nine months and hope that they are able to accomplish some great things for the student body, but the GUSA name (which previously had been about as respected as that of Martha Stewart) may never recover.
As THE HOYA quoted Adam last week, we’re pretty glad that GUSA will no longer be associated with anything we try to accomplish. To the rest of the student body, we’re sure that the entire process has merely proven the suspicions: the so-called GUSA “insiders”, are a self-important, exclusive, and generally petty group of students. The shame is that it could have been different. GUSA is a framework, a framework that can help achieve greatness or can sit dormant, as it has done for the last ten weeks.
What happened, then? The bylaws, it has been said, failed. While we think that the bylaws certainly do need improving, they are clear and enumerative, and we feel that the Constitutional Council stripped rights of the Election Commission and created new rights for themselves. It was not the bylaws themselves that harmed the process – it was the abuse of these bylaws. The violations that occurred during the campaign are behind us and can be debated in a different venue (here we are speaking only of things that have occurred since Feb. 9). It is our opinion that one member of the Constitutional Council decided the outcome of this election. A three-person body simply cannot be supposed to be neutral in a situation such as this – the Council needs to either be expanded or disbanded.
For two months following the election and its ensuing controversy, there were too few words spoken between the two sides. The conflict became personal and heated, so we closed up. It was not until two weeks ago that we all sat down together with Erika Cohen-Derr (the GUSA Advisor) to talk face to face. It was an immensely difficult and emotional meeting, but it was necessary. Coming out of that meeting, we felt good, like we might all be able to work together for the betterment of the student body.
Over the next days, we expressed a desire to contact the Constitutional Council and attempted to retroactively withdraw our appeal. In effect, we wanted to pull out, but only if we were all able to work together. To us, this would show solidarity and unity for progress, since we would go into a partnership without knowing who the ultimate winner would be.
This chance for partnership collapsed when Kelley and Luis declined our offer to withdraw, desiring instead a “final conclusion.” We are now told that this conclusion has been reached, but the student body hardly seems to care. We wish that we could have been innovative and worked together to reform a broken system. Instead, we have a President and Vice President lacking legitimacy inside a system that has no legitimacy. This is not entirely the fault of Kelley and Luis. They will certainly try to “fix” the system, but now that that system has named them the victors, we are sure the temptation will be strong to work toward their agenda instead of internal reform.
So where to from here? We are not done with GUSA, but we are done with internal GUSA politicking. A group of five students (including the two of us) have formed Georgetown Students United for Progress (G-SUP), an attempt to establish a non-hierarchal dialogue about our university and the goals we can accomplish. We hope that students looking to advocate for student rights in a non-political and non-electoral sphere will seek us out to come talk with us. There is no President, no Chief of Staff, and certainly no Constitutional Council (or even a Constitution!), just a group of students working together to help Georgetown.
Georgetown is ultimately what the students make of it. We hope that in the rest of our time here we can work with as many of you as possible to make it the greatest home we’ll ever have. Hoya Saxa.
Adam Giblin is a sophomore in the School of Foreign Service. Eric Lashner is a junior in the College.