The past year saw everything from a new mascot to a multitude of snow days. Take a look at some of the biggest headlines on campus:
Georgetown University Student Association
While this year’s Georgetown University Student Association pushed through policy changes and programming overhauls, it also had its tense moments, with a contentious veto and battle for the senate speaker spot, in addition to the annual executive election.
In October, GUSA President Nate Tisa (SFS ’14) vetoed a bill designed to confirm the Social Innovation and Public Fund’s ability to issue grants and loans through the Green Revolving Loan Fund. The presidential veto had not been exercised in three years, drawing accusations of high-handedness from senators. However, Tisa maintained that the bill’s wording rendered it weak. The senate revised the bill, which Tisa signed Nov. 4.
In January, GUSA Election Commissioner Ethan Chess (COL ’14) filed a petition with the Constitutional Council after then-senate Vice Speaker Sam Greco (SFS ’15) was defeated by Senator Emilie Siegler (SFS ’14) in an election to fill a vacancy in the senate speaker position. The council supported Chess’ argument that Greco should have automatically assumed the speaker’s chair, according to GUSA bylaws, and invalidated the election, thus clearing the way for Greco.
In February, Trevor Tezel (SFS ’15) and Omika Jikaria (SFS ’15) won the GUSA executive election, replacing Tisa and Vice President Adam Ramadan (SFS ’14), respectively. The pair beat three other tickets in an election that hinged on issues of free speech and advocacy. With candid admission of membership in secret societies, the election remained largely free of the contention that defined last year’s race.
Jack, J.J. and John B. Carroll
In late July, the future of Georgetown’s live mascot tradition hung in question after university officials announced that mascot-in-training Jack Jr. would be removed from campus and placed in private care. It was later revealed that the dog’s abrupt departure came after a settlement with the parents of a child that had been bitten by J.J. last fall.
Two weeks later, the Bulldog Advisory Committee, composed of students and faculty, announced that it had chosen a new bulldog to replace the popular puppy. Christened John Carroll III, the puppy was given to the university by breeders Janice and Marcus Hochstedler, the same breeders who had given J.J. the year before. Along with the new dog would come changes in conservatorship after Fr. Christopher Steck, S.J., who has cared for the university’s live mascot for the past 10 years, decided he would not care for the new addition. McKenzie Stough (COL ’13), a specialist in the Office of Communications, lives with the dog in a university-owned townhouse on 36th Street. Steck still retains care of the former mascot Jack, who lives out a quiet retirement in New South Hall.
Code of Conduct
The Code of Student Conduct was modified twice this year, with the removal of category-based violations in the revision released Aug. 29 and the addition of a more comprehensive medical amnesty policy Feb. 4. An external review prompted the shift away from heavy bureaucracy, while the Medical Amnesty and Good Samaritan Policy were included to formalize the practice of protecting anyone in need of medical attention from facing disciplinary action because of the consumption of alcohol or drugs, as well as the person who calls for assistance.
GU Fossil Free began its campaign last year to divest the university endowment from fossil fuels with a presentation of a proposal to President John J. DeGioia. This year, the student group initially sought a student-body referendum on the investment in fossil fuels but decided to instead work with the GUSA senate to develop a resolution on the matter. Since then, the organization has met with administrators and the university’s Committee on Investments and Social Responsibility to advance its plan. The university has yet to issue a decisive verdict on the matter.
The university announced in January that Latin honors would be calculated by percentages rather than GPA cutoffs, reducing the number of students who graduate with that status. Currently, graduating summa cum laude requires a GPA of 3.9, while graduating magna cum laude or cum laude requires a GPA of 3.7 and 3.5, respectively. Beginning with the Class of 2017, summa cum laude will be the top 5 percent, magna cum laude will be the next 10 percent and cum laude will be the next 10 percent of students in each undergraduate school.
Justice and Peace
Georgetown College approved a major in justice and peace studies on Feb. 25 after students had campaigned for over a year to see the program expanded.
In expanding the Program on Justice and Peace from a six-course minor, the interdisciplinary major will consist of 11 courses, three of which must be concentrated in subjects such as conflict transformation, social movements and humanitarian aid.
The interdisciplinary program is designed to focus on social justice principles and actions.
The Year in Gaston Hall
“Ethics, Power and Politics: A Night With Kevin Spacey and Ron Klain”
Nov. 4, 2013
“I watch what’s going on in Washington and I think to myself, ‘our scripts aren’t that f – – – – ing crazy,’” actor Kevin Spacey said of his show “House of Cards.” Full Event Recap
“Advancing Afghan Women”
Nov. 15, 2013
“We all know that creating opportunities for women isn’t just the right thing to do — it’s a strategic necessity,” Secretary of State John Kerry said, featured along with Hillary Clinton and Laura Bush. Full Event Recap
“A Conversation with Nas and Michael Eric Dyson”
March 27, 2014
“Just as we study a Homer, we study a Nas,” said “Sociology of Hip-Hop: Jay-Z” professor Michael Eric Dyson on stage with the “Illmatic” rapper. Full Event Recap
“A Life in the Law”
April 2, 2014
“You have to believe that this group of nine is passionate about finding the right answer. No matter what we all think the right answer is, we’re all filled with the same passion,” said Supreme Court Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor, left, with law professor Eloise Pasachoff. Full Event Recap