GUSA’s new look
This Sunday, the Georgetown University Student Association Senate had a heated debate about whether to condemn the protesters who interrupted General Petraeus’ speech in Gaston Hall. (They did, with lots of Senators stressing that they weren’t endorsing the war. Don’t worry, we got it.) One member presented a bill to strip the advisory board representatives who sit on the Funding Board of their votes, giving GUSA more oversight of the process.
THE NEW LOGO: From Windows to Vampire Weekend, everyone is rebranding themselves these days. President Calen Angert (MSB ’11) kicked off yesterday’s GUSA meeting with a presentation of the long-awaited GUSA logo. Angert promised the logo didn’t contain any “ripoffs of any networks,” a reference to the last logo, which Vox commenters pointed out looked a lot like this.
The logo was scrutinized by the Senate before coming to a vote at the end of the meeting, when they unanimously approved it.
THE PETRAEUS PROTESTERS: In a very contentious vote, the GUSA senate passed a bill that “condemns the disrespectful and improper actions of the Georgetown University students who disrupted the lecture of General David H. Petraeus.” But don’t worry, politicos—that’s not a GUSA endorsement of U.S. foreign policy. Colton Malkerson (COL ’13), the sponsor of the bill, stressed that the bill was steering clear of the wider debate over the war in Afghanistan.
“It’s not stating an opinion on the debate, it is not siding with the opinions that Petraeus had said … its just recognizing the breach of policy,” Malkerson said.
In the debate that followed Colton’s presentation of the bill several Senators denounced the protesters and voiced support for the bill, but others argued that GUSA was out of place issuing a such a condemnation. Senator Nick Troiano (COL ’11), however, said that he hoped the University brought consequences to the students who participated in the protest.
When Senator Nicholaus Nelson-Goedert (COL ’10) said that the Georgetown Solidarity Committee was the group that organized the protest, Speaker Adam Talbot (COL ’12) cautioned the Senate to avoid connecting any student groups to the protest solely on the fact that some of their members participated in the protest.
Robert Byrne (COL ’11), a member of the Georgetown Solidarity Committee, has said that while members of the Georgetown Solidarity Committee did participate in the protest, the group itself did not organize, sponsor, or discuss the protest at its meetings.
Some Senators voiced concern that voting to condemn the protesters would establish a dangerous precedent for GUSA, whereby it would be expected to weigh in every time a student or group violated Georgetown policy. Ultimately, the bill passed with 13 yes votes, 5 no votes, and with one Senator abstaining.
FUNDING BOARD REFORM: Just before the meeting adjourned, Malkerson also made a short presentation of the bill he’s been working on since last semester that would change the structure and power of the Funding Board, most dramatically by stripping the votes of the advisory board representatives that sit on the board.
The Ways and Means Committee passed the bill, but only after Speaker Talbot insisted that the Senate did not vote on the bill until two weeks had passed. Talbot said that he expects GUSA senators to use those two weeks to carefully consider the proposed bill and consult the opinions of constituents.
Malkerson said the bill would improve the Funding Board because the new budget would be created by representatives elected by the students, the process of creating and approving a budget would be more efficient, and oversight would be greater, given that if Malkerson’s bill is passed both the GUSA Senate and Executive would have to approve the funding budget the Funding Board drafts.
Malkerson’s bill will likely face a vote on Monday, February 8th.
CLUB SPORTS DODGEBALL: The Senate also voted to provide the Club Sports Advisory Board with $250 to fund the Club Sports dodgeball tournament. The bill was passed 17 votes to three, with several Senators arguing that the bill would be a way to mark GUSA’s entrance into the business of club funding, while also repairing ties with the Club Sports advisory board.