Yesterday’s meeting of the Georgetown University Student Association senate was… peculiar. About 40% of the people in the room were running for GUSA Executive, so it was fun to project subtext onto the bickering of the obviously sleep-deprived senators. On the menu yesterday was the confirmation of some familiar faces to the SIPS steering committee and some debate about how the MSB should fund their own students.
Running a tight SIPS
As part of the implementation of the SIPS fund, the working group (the ones who pitched the fund to the SAFE commission and FinApp) is passing the torch to the steering committee, who will then create a framework for SIPS governance. Yesterday, the senate confirmed three additional appointees to the steering committee: GUSA Senator Bridget Power (COL ’12), GUSA VP Greg Laverriere (COL ’12), and Corp Philanthropist Scott Munro (COL ’12), who were all chosen by the Ways and Means committee.
According to Clara Gustafson (SFS ’13), GUSA exec candidate and member of the original SIPS working group, ”We wanted people who have been involved in different area around campus, so that by the end of the spring semester, we can have by-laws and an executive committee.” Gustafson added that the steering committee will build the constitution and recruit students and alumni to be on the board or the executive committee. “The SIPS steering committee will not be spending any of the money,” Gustafson added.
There were two concerns expressed at this point–which may or may not have been related to the issue at hand.
First Colton Malkerson (COL ’13), also a GUSA exec candidate, expressed concerns about the timeline. He wanted to make sure the constitution wasn’t rushed. All three appointees agreed with him, so that wasn’t an issue.
Second, GUSA exec candidate, Dan LaMagna (COL ’13) asked if there might be a conflict of interest since the steering committee appointees were so invested in the project.
“Some of my constituents have wondered if it is a conflict of interest if they vote to hand over money to a project they’ve been working on,” LaMagna said. LaMagna continued by asking, how can you not be biased if you stand to gain something, like a resume boost, from the project? He called on the US Senate as an example: senators will recuse themselves from voting if they or their spouses stand to gain anything by a piece of legislation.
In response, Gustafson said that everyone on the steering committee disclosed all of their potential conflicts of interest when they agreed to be on the steering committee. Also one senator pointed out that conflicts of interests would only have mattered during the vote on the SAFE proposals, so this is a moot point.
And this brings us to our Talbotism of the Week: to dispel any of LaMagna’s concerns, Speaker Adam Talbot (COL ’12) asked the confirmees, “Do any of you or your spouses stand to have anything to gain?” Seeing none, he moved to confirm the appointees.
Let’s hate on the MSB
On the GUSA fund package this week, Vice Speaker Nate Tisa (SFS ’14)–also an exec candidate, moved to removed a trip to New York for 16 MSB from the funding package.
As part of a class, the 16 marketing majors in the MSB were working on an advertising campaign for Nissan. The original intent was to enter their campaign into a competition in New York in which they could win a spot on a $100 million campaign. However, the MSB cut the funding for the project, and the students went to the GUSA fund for money for their trip.
The GUSA Fund board, chaired by another exec candidate Murphy Kate Delaney (COL ’13), voted to fund the request. However the Ways and Means committee, chaired by Tisa, caught that the request went against the GUSA Fund’s requirement that the projects must benefit the entire student body in some way. After consulting with Delaney, he suggested GUSA not fund the trip.
A number of other senators also had concerns about funding curricular or co-curricular activities from student activities money, and they thought this could have been a bad precedent to set.
So after some MSB is Slytherin jokes, the senate voted to not fund this project.