GUSA Roundup: Budget for some, nothing for others

The agenda of this Sunday’s meeting of the Georgetown University Student Association was dominated by the vote on the budget passed out of the Financial Appropriations Committee for fiscal year 2011 on Thursday.

But Senators still found time to remark on the most recent controversy at Georgetown, the Plan A protest held over GAAP weekend, and dream about convening the GUSA Senate in the chamber of the US House of Representatives.

GUSA Budget FY ’11: The GUSA Senate voted to approve the fiscal year 2011 GUSA budget, which allocated $0 to both the Student Activities Commission and the Performing Arts Advisory Council. The budget will increase the level of funding received by Club Sports, Georgetown Program Board, the Center for Social Justice, and the GUSA Executive, while funding for the Media Board will remain unchanged.

Members of the Financial and Appropriations Committee who presented the budget said they had brought the budget without funding for either SAC or PAAC before the Senate because they didn’t want to delay funding for the other advisory boards. They are working to reach agreements with SAC and PAAC on compromises so the two groups could meet GUSA’s six suggested reforms and receive money from the student activities fee.

The senators said they were confident that both PAAC and SAC would receive student activities fee from supplemental funding after they had complied with the reforms. Senators have said that the agreement with PAAC is only awaiting a review by its members. Meanwhile, Senators will meet with SAC soon to try to negotiate an agreement.

Speaker Adam Talbot (COL ’12) voiced his support for the FinApp Committee and the budget.

“Finance and Appropriations has handled this really diligently … I have the utmost confidence in Senator Malkerson and Senator Laverierre to bring this in for a landing,” said Talbot, referencing Senators Colton Malkerson (COL ’13) and Greg Laverierre (COL’12) who are responsible for negotiating compromises with SAC and PAAC.  Senator Laverierre said he would be meeting with SAC and administrators after Easter to try and negotiate a compromise. The vote to approve the budget was unanimous.

GUSA Retreat and Plan A: The GUSA meeting closed with a short discussion about the potential GUSA retreat. Senator Eric Cusimano (SFS ’10) jokingly suggested convening of the Senate in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives, a suggestion shot down by Speaker Talbot, who said, “I think we already have something of a hubris problem.”

The topic then changed to the controversial Plan A protest during GAAP weekend. (As Senator Nick Troiano (COL ’11) pointed out, they “haven’t let a controversy go by this year without discussing it.”) Several senators questioned the protesters’ tactics, including Senator Cusimano, while others, including Speaker Talbot, lamented the fact that the protesters hadn’t considered GUSA an important enough institution to contact with their concerns and requests.

Executive Briefing: GUSA Vice-President Jason Kluger (MSB ’11) announced during his briefing that the executive was working to open the GUSA Office to other clubs as soon as possible. He also said the executive would seek to make renovations on the room over the summer.

Talbot questioned the vice-president over the placement of the newspaper distribution bins for the free newspapers of the Collegiate Readership Program, jokingly saying that he had seen one of the bins outside of the business school building and had no choice but to “conclude that you are in the pocket of big business school.” Kluger said the executive was examining and evaluating the readership program and that the location outside the business school had been chosen for the high level of student traffic in that area.

The GUSA Senate will not meet next week.

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