GUSA Roundup: GU-SPAN and a diversity debate

At this week’s Georgetown University Student Association Senate meeting, the Senate voted down the only legislation that came up for a vote—institutionalizing GU-SPAN—but not before they had debated the measure extensively. After rejecting the legislation, the Senate turned to voicing their opinions on recent area crimes and the suggestions of the diversity initiative, which they seem generally opposed to.

Institutionalizing GU-SPAN: It’s unclear what motivated Speaker Adam Talbot (COL ’12) to introduce the “Act to Amend the By-Laws to Institutionalize the Georgetown University Student Public Affairs Network.” The network, better know as GU-SPAN, live-streams meetings of the GUSA Senate, and has approximately 5 regular viewers. Talbot’s bill would have created an administrator for GU-SPAN in charge of live-streaming the GUSA meetings.

Talbot suggested that the position, which would take four to five hours a week, include a stipend of around $300. Senator Colton Malkerson (COL ’13) exhibiting the shrewdness that comes with serving on the Finance and Appropriations Committee, suggested accepting applications for the position without offering a stipend, and only offering the stipend if no one offered to volunteer. Ultimately, however, the Senate voted the bill down even after the Senate had amended the bill to simply make it the responsibility of the vice-speaker to make sure meetings were live-streamed.

Diversity and rising crime: During the Good of the Order Period, Malkerson brought up the suggestions presented last week by the Academic Working Group to create a diversity requirement at Georgetown. Under the requirement, Georgetown students would have to take at least two classes that dealt with diversity issues. Malkerson suggested the Senate pass a resolution on the suggestion next week, and offered his own view.

“I personally have real concerns about this. I think it would just add another layer of burden on students who are trying to figure out their schedules,” Malkerson said.

Talbot noted that the Senate had passed a resolution last year in support of a number of suggestions made by the Student Commission for Unity but that it had voted against passing a resolution in favor of a similarly structured diversity requirement.

Senator Nick Troiano (COL ’11) said that he supported voting next week to reaffirm last year’s vote.

“Diversity can be fostered, it can’t be mandated,” said Troiano.

Still, Talbot noted that GUSA could view the issue differently this year, with a new Senate and with the recommendations coming from a new organization composed of faculty and students.

On crime, Troiano brought up the sexual assault in Copley this past Friday and suggested that the university reconsider its policy on surveillance cameras.

“There is a current policy that there can’t be cameras in residence hall …. Well, I think that policy should be revisited,” he said. “Maybe the ‘Cuddler’ could have been found a really long time ago if there was just a camera there.”

10 Comments on “GUSA Roundup: GU-SPAN and a diversity debate

  1. You mean I can observe GUSA being useless in real time!? This is a great victory for democracy inaction.

  2. I think you meant to put a space in “inaction…”

    Or not.

  3. If GUSA believes that not supporting this recommendation is something that they should vote on…go ahead. Just be prepared to be out of touch with the campus community yet again. GUSA not only has appointed a student to the committee that they are now not in support of..but has decided to take up this vote without even reading the document or its rationale. Good representation.

  4. Ryan, I’d encourage you to take a closer look at what the post says. The Senate took no action on the diversity requirement, we simply discussed a vote of last year’s Senate regarding a very similar issue.

  5. Nick Troiano, word to the wise – secret wiretaps are way more effective at preventing bad things than cameras are. They’d work even better at Georgetown because there is no court system to tell you that you have to stop. You seem to be looking for this cuddler, who indeed seems like an evildoer, so in the words of my good friend Donnie your problem is a known unknown. You know that you do not know who the cuddler is. If you have cameras, you might accidentally stumble across unknown unknowns. The unknown unknowns will then become known unknowns, because now you know them. These now known unknowns may even become known knowns, if you later find out what was originally unknown. However, the effort wasted to turn this new known unknown into a known known will waste precious time and resources. It’s also confusing when unknown unknowns become known unknowns, because you may run out of room on your known vs unknown grid to keep track of them, which is always a bad thing.

    The first step you need to take is to stop with all this accountability and openness nonsense. The wiretaps and hidden cameras don’t work if the people you’re spying on know that they need to hide things. Everything needs to be secret, especially your known vs unknown chart. I keep mine hidden in my hunting jacket and shoot anything that gets too close to it.

  6. Adam, I believe that I read the post correctly and stand by my comments. GUSA did talk about last years vote…but also discussed voting again next week. As I understand it more plans have since been created to indeed have this vote. My comments reflect such a scenario.

  7. There’s a policy against cameras in the residence halls? I think that’s true if you mean there’s a policy against spending money on cameras. There can easily be cameras in residence halls without invading privacy. They can be in lobbies, entryways, exits, and stairwells. As long as they are not viewing the living space (and the space that surrounds it), I would think most people would be comfortable that their privacy is being respected.

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  9. @Ryan, an individual Senator discussed introducing a resolution at next week’s meeting, as it is the prerogative of any individual Senator to do. It is equally the prerogative of any Senator to oppose the consideration or passage of such a motion.

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