The campus-wide referendum on course registration closed this morning with 83 percent of students voting to “keep pre-registration,” 7 percent voting to “switch to live registration” and 9 percent of votes indicating “no preference.”
Thirty-three percent of students participated in the referendum, which was attached to the election ballot for the Georgetown University Student Association executive office.
GUSA senators approved the resolution to hold the referendum Jan. 24 after a December announcement by former Registrar John Q. Pierce (CAS ’72) at a town hall that the university was considering upgrading its registration software, a process that requires the university to decide between software that offers live registration or a more expensive option that will keep pre-registration.
Chair of GUSA Senate Outreach Committee Richie Mullaney (COL ’18), who led student outreach for the referendum, said the goal of the referendum was for GUSA to be able to better represent its student constituency.
“We provided objective information to the student body so that they could decide what they wanted. One of the biggest criticisms of GUSA is that we advocate for issues without knowing what students want, so we had this referendum to understand how students felt,” Mullaney said. “Now with the overwhelming mandate for pre-registration, I expect GUSA to have a full-fledged campaign to keep pre-registration.”
The Intellectual Life Committee of the GUSA senate is now expected to further advocate updating to Banner 9, the new pre-registration software option.
According to GUSA Senator for Alumni Square & Nevils Roopa Mulpuri (SFS ’18), who co-sponsored the referendum resolution, the change in registrar may complicate GUSA’s advocacy efforts.
“At this point, we’re just hoping to start the dialogue with the interim registrar, sit down, talk to him about the results and let him know that this is where student opinion is now,” Mulpuri said. “We’re hoping to continue that conversation over the summer with the replacement for the registrar which they said should be named by July.”
GUSA Senator for the Village A District Samantha Granville (COL ’17), who supported live registration, said there is still a chance the university could opt to adopt live registration, though it is unlikely.
“I think they’re definitely going to consider [live registration] just because it was the senate that first put it up for a vote, more in the interests of what students want,” Granville said. “Eighty-three percent definitely says something, but then again they are considering [live registration] for a reason, but as I said before, it was a huge, huge majority of people who want to keep it.”
This year’s referendum participation, estimated at around 2,500 votes, fell lower than the 2,996 votes reached in the last referendum in 2013 over the potential expansion of a satellite campus.
According to GUSA Election Commissioner Grady Willard (SFS ’18), this could be due to the lack of interest in the single-ticket executive race as well as the issue itself.
“I think it’s obvious that the GUSA election is dominated not by the referendum, but by the candidates, and this race only had one candidate, so that influenced the fact that turnout was a whole lot lower,” Willard said. “I wasn’t here, but I’m sure a lot of people did not like the idea of having a satellite campus somewhere in Virginia … more than the idea of live registration.”