Bring back the Yard. Please. It would be so funny.

Last week GUSA announced plans to put the Yard on the ballot for the third time in five years. This time, the strategy is to not call the proposed government “The Yard.” And this is where the comedy begins.

After John Huyette (COL ’05) approached GUSA President Kelley Hampton, she claimed she worked with Vice President Luis Torres (COL ’05) to revise the constitution. They also consulted with, among others, Happy Johnson (COL ’07) and Vikram Agarwal (SFS ’07). This group of five people, working together came up with “not a new constitution but a compilation of constitutions,” in the words of Hampton.

Want to have a little fun? Get a copy of the Word document named GUSA_referendum_doc.doc and go to the properties of the document. The document is actually called The Yard. Our new constitution is not just based on the Yard Constitution, it is the same word document.

So what did the advice and consent of Agarwal, Hampton, Huyette, Johnson and Torres create? Apparently only one thing: everywhere the word Yard appeared in the old constitution, it has been changed to GUSA. All the hard work of five people went into changing the word Yard.

Could this be the future of GUSA? Five people working together all year to agree on a name change, unable to come up with a single new idea. This is not exactly synergy. Or a good start to a new system of government.

The Yard has been criticized because it hails back to the Georgetown that was white, male, Catholic and conservative. And it suffers because everyone knows it was created by an unusually hilarious “secret” society. Of course, the main reason it suffers is because The Yard was such a horrendous idea in the first place.

The centerpiece of the government is a system of three rings: the Yard Council, Yard Commons and Yard Assembly. The Yard Commons (now innocuously renamed the Student Union) is the largest ring. The Yard Commons requires that one quarter of the student body assemble once a year. The meeting would have to be held in cDonough Gymnasium, or maybe the MCI Center, to accommodate the 1,600 students required for the meeting to be official.

Some people think GUSA is an organization composed of ego-driven, resume-padding, megalomaniacs. The supporters of The Yard imagine themselves giving a speech to a crowd of 1,600 cheering students. Now, I am not calling anyone an egomaniac, but . the truth is that 1,600 students would never assemble anywhere for the student government. In the last GUSA election, Hampton and Torres received little over 800 votes – with students only required to spend less than two minutes voting on their computers.

Do the creators of The Yard actually imagine that 1,600 students will assemble to revel in their glory? Well, our GUSA executives announced an idea for a little incentive. Free pizza. Maybe if we buy 3,200 pieces of pizza then everyone will come to McDonough for a GUSA meeting. One year of brainstorming and our student government comes up with thousands and thousands of pieces of pizza.

So there will be 1,600 students eating pizza and cheering in cDonough for the student president. There is also a Yard Council (now renamed the Student Council). The Yard Council consists of 23 students. These students are representatives of constituencies or, in other words, club leaders and academic council presidents. This would be great for me. I am chair of THE HOYA’s Board of Directors, and this way I could become a member of the Student Council as well. Imagine the glory of my resume. White House, here I come!

The Yard Council has a lot of responsibility. As a member, I get to allocate the budget and office space to all student groups. This would be great for me – I would make sure THE HOYA gets an enormous office, maybe an entire floor in Leavey. Oh yeah, and one time, this guy who was a member of some a cappella group ticked me off – no budget for a cappella this year! The D.C. A Cappella Fest will have to be in Red Square’s free speech zone.

The Yard Council was not designed to create a crony system (although that’s exactly what it will do). It was designed to allow a small group of students to take over the student government.

The primary check on the Yard Council is the Yard Assembly (renamed the Student Assembly). The catch, however, is that all members of the Council are automatically members of the Assembly. This would be like giving U.S. senators a vote in the House of Representatives.

The Yard Constitution is long – 3,400 words of unbelievably bad ideas. It will be accompanied by a set of bylaws, sure to be even more convoluted and even longer. Nevermind that GUSA can’t abolish SAC and give itself the authority to allocate university space and university money. Nevermind that the Yard is impossible.

GUSA is not great. Changing our student government into a three-ring circus (with free pizza!) is not the answer. But, it could be very funny.

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