GUSA Roundup: A very germane meeting of the GUSA Senate
After last week’s high-stakes and controversial Georgetown University Student Association meeting, where they passed comprehensive funding reform legislation, this week’s meeting hewed closer to classic GUSA style: longer than necessary, peppered with perfunctory legislation, and largely innocuous.
The 2010 GUSA Presidential Debate
The meeting began with a discussion about the much-anticipated GUSA Presidential Debate. Speaker Adam Talbot (COL ’12) said it will be “99 percent sure taking place on Wednesday, 89 percent sure taking place in Sellinger Lounge,” with the doubt over the location due to the fact that they have not yet reserved the Lounge. GUSA Parliamentarian Sam Ungar (COL ’12) said that the debate would include all four presidential candidates, and feature questions from representatives of the major campus media organizations.
Public Comment Legislation
The first bill passed by the GUSA Senate changed the GUSA bylaws to require the Finance and Appropriations Committee to convene a public hearing within seven days of drafting of a budget so that representatives of advisory boards can voice concerns they may have over the budget. The bill also requires the speaker to allow for a period of public comment during the general senate meeting at which the budget will be voted on.
The bill faced essentially no opposition, mostly because it wasn’t changing the current practices. As Speaker Talbot said when he voiced his support for the bill, “The seven day waiting period is already sort of institutionalized… and I think it was sort of connoted in the wording that that time was there for individual chairs of the advisory boards to come and voice their concerns.” The bill was approved unanimously.
The second bill passed by the Senate was a resolution calling for regularly scheduled meetings of the GUSA Executive to be open to the public, and have minutes of the meeting available on line. Curiously, in the debate over the bill, Talbot used the word ‘germane’ three times; he also used the word during the meeting of the Ways and Means Committee; it was used once by the Parlimentarian, and twice by Senator Nick Troiano (COL ’11). In fact, we’re pretty sure the debate marked the most concentrated use of the word ‘germane’ in recent GUSA history. (Although to be fair, it was germane to the conversation).
The bill faced some opposition from senators like Troiano, who felt that it violated the separation of the branches of GUSA, but also from senators who found the bill pointless, as there does not appear to be a problem with transparency in the GUSA executive. At one point, Senator George Roche (COL ’10) asked if the Senate could “just get rid of this resolution.” In the end though, Senator Adam Mortillaro (COL ’12) reminded senators that as a resolution, it was non-binding and thus “perfectly toothless, perfectly harmless,” and therefore had his support. The resolution passed 10-1-4.
The G’town Samaritans
During the period of public comment, junior Richie Frohlichstein, a member of the GUSA Executive, provided a brief review and update on the G’town Samaritans, a group Frohlichstein described as “a guerrilla band of random-acts-of-kindness people.” Frohlichstein said that neighbors were calling the police on Georgetown students less often, and that outreach efforts to neighbors would continue.
Frohlichstein floated the idea of knocking on a neighbor’s door and inviting the residents to a meeting of the GUSA Senate. The idea was met with widespread laughter from the Senators. Somehow, we don’t think that it’s necessarily a good idea for Georgetown residents to sit in on a GUSA meeting.