RATE MY LANDLORD?: During the Executive Briefing, GUSA Vice President Jason Kluger (MSB ’11) announced that the executive wants to tackle the “lack of readily available information” about off-campus student housing. He said there is no official name yet, but the executive wants to create a “Rate my Landlord”-type website to help students with housing.
“It’s miserable, and it’s hard to get a house, and you always feel like you’re getting gypped, and you always feel like there’s so much pressure … Georgetown students are going to get screwed,” Kluger said. “So it’s just another initiative to get more information on it… for kids to know their options so they don’t have to pay as much as they think they might.”
In the rest of his briefing, Kluger mentioned that the executive should be part of an upcoming discussion with the administration about the main campus plan. He also updated the Senate on the free newspaper program.
HATE CRIMES AND THE STUDENT CODE OF CONDUCT: Senator Josh Mogil (SFS ‘11—Off Campus) introduced a resolution to start a discussion about updating the Student Code of Conduct.
Mogil wants to make hate crimes—“crimes motivated by race, disability, gender, gender identified, ethnicity, and/or sexual orientation”—a separate offense under category C.
Currently, bias-related incidents are only treated as parameters of other category C violations, but Mogil seeks to make them their own category of offense, and include in the definition of “bias-related incidents” those that are motivated by disability or physical handicap.
“It sends a message because I was a victim [of a hate crime,] and I couldn’t do certain things within the School Code of Conduct,” Mogil said. “I couldn’t face my attacker because it wasn’t its own thing. It was only a parameter. So it still isn’t treated as seriously. I was a victim of assault.”
Additionally, the bill asks that the administration re-evaluate the “standards of burden of proof, the legality of trying multiple students together for the same incident, and the current alcohol policy.”
Mogil gave the example of students who get written up for an alcohol violation for being at a party even though they weren’t drinking.
Mogil also told a personal anecdote about his experience with the Student Code of Conduct.
“My apartment got a trash violation, and they sent us a picture of our house and our trash, and it clearly wasn’t our house and it clearly wasn’t our trash, and we said, ‘Well this isn’t us,’ and they said, ‘Well, there’s no appeals process, so here’s the $150 fine.’ Where was the discussion there?” Mogil said.
However, Nick Troiano (COL ’11—Village A, A-D) expressed doubts about the section on hate crimes, asking, “why someone who suffered the same offense should be treated differently.” He suggested that the senate would need to research and come up with more comprehensive suggestions before “endorsing” the plan.
Mogil said the resolution was meant to be more of an “invitation to discussion.”
It was a close vote. The senate voted 8-7-1 to pass the resolution with the amendment: “[The senate] recommends that the Senate Student Life Committee consider any and all improvements to the Student Code of Conduct and student life generally, beginning with the parameters of this bill.”
We’ll see what happens to the bill once it goes through the Student Life Committee.
RATS UPDATE: In the “Good of the Order” segment, Senator Arman Ismail (COL ‘11—Reynolds) updated the Senate on his work exploring the rat problem.
He got in touch with Director of Facilities Management Richard Payant, who said Facilities is aware of the problem and taking steps to fix it. Georgetown has hired a company to solve the problem.
Payant also said part of the problem is students leaving food and waste. Ismail and Eric Cusimano (SFS ’10—At Large) recommended GUSA’s new role should be to continue their research and talk to students about better practices for keeping the campus clean.
SAC: Troiano spoke in the “Good of the Order” segment about the SAC meeting he attended. He was not impressed.
He said the meeting was advertised only a day before, and the spread consisted of jolly ranchers and liters of soda without cups.
“I’m not sure that’s the best way to hold an event, and that raises concerns for me that this body thinks they can inject themselves and micromanage clubs and tell them how to run their events,” Troiano said. “That should reaffirm our commitment to see reform in that organization.”
TRANSPARENCY: Senate minutes, bills, and agendas from this year and 2007-2008 are now available online. Visitors can comment on postings
and download each bill in its final form. Additionally, the livestream of Senate meetings is back up and running, thanks to OpenGUSA.
“We now have a comprehensive and getting comprehensive-er archive of Senate business,” Speaker Adam Talbot (COL ‘12—LXR) said. “It’s a very good service, and hopefully it will allow people to have a better understanding of how student government works.”
ELECTIONS AND COMMITTEES: There are candidates for all four districts with Senate vacancies, and writs of election have been issued.
The remaining committee chairs were also announced:
- Academic Affairs: Yasmin Serrato (At-Large)
- Housing, Facilities and Technology: Chetan Panda (New South)
- Outreach and Fundraising: Arman Ismail (Reynolds)
- Student Life: Ben Bold (Village C West)