GUSA Roundup: The Senate takes on the Student Activities Fee endowment, campus rodents
GUSA debates rats and the perennial publicity problem
STUDENT ACTIVITIES FEES: The Senate waded further into the morass of club funding, passing a bill about the Student Activities Fee. Students currently pay a $100 Student Activities Fee, half of which goes into the student activities budget, and the other half of which goes into a student activities portion of the endowment.
Students cannot use the student activities portion of the endowment until the total sum reaches $10 million, and the interest accrued on the account is rolled over into the university endowment.
Many Senators weren’t too happy about that arrangement.
“They’ve been robbing us,” Josh Mogil (SFS ’11—Off Campus) said. “It’s completely unacceptable.”
GUSA wants the interest to be put into the student activity fee account, and they want to consider a way to recoup the interest that has already been rolled over into the University’s endowment. Some Senators voiced concern that it would be difficult to get the administration to implement such a policy, though.
RATS: Senator Arman Ismail (COL ’11—Reynolds) has found his issue: Rats. He wants GUSA to step in and address the rodent menace plaguing campus.
However, Mogil voiced concerns that such a project would harm “the spirit of the new GUSA.”
“I’d like to remind everyone that if we tackle a problem we can’t solve, it’s not going to help our image,” Mogil noted. He said GUSA is not the right body to eradicate the rats, and expressed concern that “The Hoya will cover it in their front article: ‘GUSA tries to kill rats, complete failure.’ Everyone will be laughing at us, it will be embarrassing.”
Ismail interrupted him with a spirited “Yes we can!” and stressed the importance of connecting with the “common man on the street.”
Some Senators suggested setting the traps themselves instead of hiring an exterminator, but Mogil is concerned about animal rights and the liability issue of people stepping on the traps. Ismail will be seeking a preliminary meeting with Special Assistant to Vice President and University Architect Margo Gottesman this week.
SENATE VACANCIES: More woes for the underpopulated GUSA Senate: it turns out there are four Senate seats open now instead of three since Kelly Rohrbach (COL ’12—Copley) had to resign over tennis conflicts. Luckily, one of the bills amended the vacancy election bylaws. The bylaw is now as follows:
Upon a seat in the Senate becoming vacant, the President of the Student association shall issue writs of election, with a special election to take place within thirty days of the vacancy, University holidays and final examination periods excepted. Such elected successor shall hold that Senatorial seat until the termination of the remaining Legislative Term of Office, as mandated by the Constitution of the Georgetown University Student Association.
CONSTITUTIONAL COUNCIL: GUSA also appointed three students to the Constitutional Council, the judicial body of the student organization that deals with election issues and advises Senators on the constitutionality of their bylaws.
GUSA President Calen Angert (MSB ’11) said last year the members of the constitutional council weren’t appointed soon enough to effectively deal with the problems in the election.
This year’s appointees are Carlos Delatorre (COL ’13), Jagmeet Singh (SFS ’12) and Paige Lovejoy (SFS ’12). The senators were mostly concerned first about the council members serving their full terms (their entire undergraduate career), and second about the Constitutional Council defending the constitution against administrative pressure.
Apparently, the administration has some “extra-constitutional documents” which conflict with the Senate’s constitution and bylaws. All the candidates said they would feel comfortable proactively communicating with the administration if the council felt it was necessary. However, Lovejoy was unable to give a specific example of a contradiction between the constitution and the administration’s extra-constitutional documents, and Singh admitted, “I’m not currently familiar with the constitution. I’ll be completely honest with you.”
MIDNIGHT MADNESS: There was some discussion about how GUSA should react to the incident of the stolen gun at Midnight Madness. They discussed the possibility of an awareness campaign about public safety and decided to continue looking into the facts of the incident.
LOOSE ENDS: Additionally, GUSA allocated $400 for food for town hall meetings to attract students. There was disagreement about whether money has been allocated in the past or not. Mogil said adding food would help attract constituents and hear their concerns, saying last year when he held a meeting only three people showed up.
GUSA also edited its bylaws to get rid of “inconsistencies, misspellings, and hanging participles.”
Photo by Flickr user caruba, used under a Creative Commons license.