On Dec. 1, students will vote in a referendum on whether the Georgetown University Student Association senate should remain in its current form, or be abolished and revised as an assembly that focuses on allocating funding for clubs. Such an overhaul is as significant as the introduction of the very same GUSA senate in 2006.
The second of a two referendums, with the first being a vote on whether Georgetown should be a smoke-free campus, the senate restructuring proposal seeks to establish an assembly that is made up of 16 student representatives – four from each class – and 8 delegates, each chosen by respective advisory board, the GU Lecture Fund and the Georgetown Programming Board.
In order to improve the involvement of clubs in the allocation process and make student government more efficient, this editorial board encourages the student body to vote in favor of restructuring in the referendum. While the proposed amendment would not solve every problem faced by GUSA, it is a step toward making GUSA more inclusive of the concerns of student groups and will lend Club Advisory Boards a much-needed voice in the allocation of funds in addition to spreading out representation by class year.
There are certainly concerns with any major restructuring of a large organization. The current senate comprises 29 representatives elected by the student body, while the proposed assembly would hold only 16 elected representatives and eight additional delegates from advisory boards.
While the lack of students elected into the assembly would be apparent, there are certainly benefits with having student representatives elected by class rather than residence hall, as organized in the current system. Electing by class allows for representatives to be more connected with the constituencies to which they belong, which allows them in turn better represent their interests on a class and organizational level.
The assembly system would also give a larger platform for advisory boards to voice their funding concerns during the allocation process. Currently, an advisory board has no say in the funding process decided by the GUSA Financial Appropriations Committee, which grants yearly funding for student groups.
With the assembly, advisory boards have an actual seat at the table when it comes to the allocation of resources for each academic year. They would no longer be excluded from the budgeting process. In fact, the delegates are responsible for the second draft of the budget and, after it is passed to be reviewed by the student representatives, all parties are able to vote on a middle ground. The process is collaborative, cohesive, transparent and grants a voice to the parties who are most affected by the negotiations: the advisory boards themselves.
Ultimately, students should vote in favor of the restructuring. While it would be a mistake to call the senate inherently broken, the proposed amendment is a step toward including more distinct voices regarding the needs of clubs , and creating a GUSA that can better serve its constituents one issue at a time.
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