SCUnity breaks from GUSA, support, backlash follow
…Using the best breakup song ever
Last week, the board of the Student Commission for Unity voted to break away from GUSA. Their decision went into effect Sunday, and Brian Kesten (COL `10) promptly emailed SCUnity’s listserv with SCUnity’s press release, which read in part:
In order to effectively advocate for these recommendations, the Student Commission for Unity will cease to operate under GUSA, effective immediately. This decision was ultimately made to increase the durability … This model will also better serve the advocacy process, as working with various offices on campus will be necessary in order to realize the full potential of all recommendations. The Student Commission for Unity executive board has seen a once productive relationship with the Student Association turn into an inhibiting one.
So what do they mean by “inhibiting relationship”? In the Fall, GUSA and Kesten sparred over SCUnity’s leadership when they became incorporated with GUSA. Recently, GUSA accepted only 6 out of SCUnity’s 8 proposals based on their findings, which irked Kesten.
“GUSA voted down two of our proposals, which were formed by 15 months of research for the exec board, as well as a semester of research done by around 40 students,” he said yesterday. “We intend to fully pursue our recommendations as the result of our extensive research, meaning that we believe all of our recommendations are reasonable.”
SCUnity’s choice is already receiving criticism. Today, The Hoya published an op-ed by GUSA President Pat Dowd, who worried that now that it has lost GUSA’s involvement, SCUnity will not reflect student desires:
“Affirming my worst suspicions, the SCU has decided to cut ties with GUSA in order to unilaterally petition administrators for a number of controversial diversity-related policy changes. This development raises serious concerns about what is being advocated on the behalf of students without their informed consent.
“It is absolutely imperative that students and their elected representatives be given the opportunity to scrutinize, evaluate and ultimately choose to accept or reject the initiatives that Kesten hopes to implement.”
Six GUSA Senators (Chris Pigott, Stephanie Frenel, Jarvis Matthews, K’Sean Henderson, Irina Varela, and Johnny Solis) who “strongly supported SCUnity” gave their two cents in a statement as well:
We senators … who strongly supported the Student Commission for Unity are upset that the SCU chose to leave the GUSA Senate but we place our full support behind the Student Commission for Unity’s decision to continue to advocate for positive change on Georgetown’s campus. As senators, we are of the opinion that this issue is settled and the GUSA Senate should move forward with more pressing and prevalent student concerns on campus.
The severing of these two entities is something that we have to put behind us. Even though the SCU isn’t a part of GUSA anymore we still have complete faith that it will continue to complete the tasks for which it was initially created.
According to Kesten, there is no constitutional process SCUnity needs to go through in order to break from GUSA. In fact, he said, now that SCUnity’s research is done, it was time to end its relationship with GUSA anyway.
“To continue in GUSA, we would have to accept a non SCU, GUSA senator as a co chair, strip our recommendations and hold discourse with GUSA about what we can and can’t do …. It’s an unnecessary headache,” he said.
Look for more coverage in Thursday’s News section of the Voice.
Photo taken from Burnside Media Group‘s Flickr account under a Creative Commons license.