GUSA Roundup: The Senate is anti-hate crime, anti-snake
GUSA FUND: The big news from this week’s meeting was that the Senate passed the long-debated GUSA Fund, which will allow them to fund clubs directly. For more information, check out Vox‘s post from earlier this morning.
HATE CRIMES: GUSA passed a revised version of Senator Josh Mogil‘s (SFS ’11—Off Campus) changes to the Student Code of Conduct regarding hate crimes on a vote of 16 to two, with one abstention.
The new version of the resolution adds Hate-Crimes as a Category C violation, but keeps bias as a “parameter” for other violations that are not “criminal acts of hate,” but are motivated by the aggravating factor of bias.
Mogil said he decided to leave in the section on “bias-related incidents” after speaking with Vice President of Student Affairs Todd Olson about the resolution.
Senator Nick Troiano (COL ’11—Village A, A-D) still had doubts about the necessity of the resolution.
“There’s no practical difference between someone who’s adjudicated based on a criminal act that would otherwise fall under Category C violations and those that would now fall under the sub-category,” Troiano said.
“Again I doubt the efficacy of creating a sub-category that only judges people based on what their thoughts were at the time when they committed this crime,” Troiano continue. “Shouldn’t we be judging people based on the outcomes of the crime, what they inflicted instead of trying to get inside their head? … Or is it only people who were audibly saying stuff at the time they were committing the crime that we’re going to place in the sub-category?”
Mogil said that in his experience, someone had drawn a swastika on him freshman year based on his perceived religious affiliation, which he said, “Everyone would consider a hate crime.” But under the current Student Code of Conduct, he was not allowed to charge his attacker with a Category C violation because he had not physically been harmed.
Troiano also asked what would happen if someone was assaulted because of a political belief.
“If we’re granting special exceptions for certain people, what happens to the people who aren’t granted these special exceptions?” he asked. “If this isn’t exhaustive and it isn’t going to change practically how crimes are adjudicated, we shouldn’t go down this path.”
Mogil replied that the resolution is based on D.C. and Federal law, which does not cover political affiliation as a motive for a hate crime, but said he was willing to change the definition.
Senator Jon-Matthew Hopkins (COL ’13—Darnall) said part of the reason “hate crimes” were made a separate Category C violation was that Category C violations must go to the Judicial Hearing Board, whereas other incidents do not.
Speaker of the Senate Adam Talbot (COL ‘12, LXR) said he would support the resolution because it represents a starting point to open a debate with the Office of Student Code of Conduct.
RATS! PT. 3: Senator Arman Ismail‘s (COL ‘11—Reynolds) efforts to learn more about the eradication of the rats has finally culminated in a bill allocating $200 to initiate a public awareness campaign. The campaign will “promote effective trash and waste removal and storage practices” through fliers, door-to-door campaigning and tabling. Ismail called it the “next step in an ongoing process” to work with Facilities and educate students about the rodent issue on campus.
In a more lighthearted moment, Troiano sought assurance that the $200 will not be used to introduce snake species to prey on the rats, as some have suggested. Ismail assured the Senate he finds snakes the “most foul creature imaginable” and he would not use the money to buy animals of any kind.
TAKE YOUR PROFESSOR TO LUNCH: As part of an initiative to improve “intellectual life” on campus, the executive is hoping to launch a program called “Take Your Professor to Lunch,” where neighborhood restaurants such as Clyde’s, Saxby’s and Tombs would offer students a 20 to 30 percent discount if they go to lunch with their professors. According to GUSA Vice President Jason Kluger (MSB ’11), Saxby’s is already on board.
RATE MY LANDLORD/DORMITORY?: The executive has done more research into the idea of a “rate my landlord”-type website and found a Georgetown senior who already runs a “good website” on the subject. Instead of starting from scratch, the executive hopes to expand on the already existing site to include more direct student feedback about their experiences.
Senator Chetan Panda (COL ’13—New South) asked if the website might also include a section on “rate my dormitory.”
“The student housing website is a joke,” Panda said. “It has no pictures, no testimonies.”
Kluger liked the idea and said he would get Panda in contact with the senior who runs the website.
61-D CITATIONS AND 2010 CAMPUS PLAN: The executive says they have been having a lot of meetings about 61-D citations, neighbor relations and the new campus plan. About the 2010 Campus Plan, Kluger briefly mentioned, “It’s not the greatest situation.”
Additionally, the executive hopes to assemble a lawyer panel of Georgetown graduates to give students advice about what to do if they get a 61-D citations so students are not “in the dark” about the charges they face.