GUSA presidential elections, notorious for their complex sets of campaign rules and their tendency to create controversy, reached a new low last week with the announcement that the full results of the upcoming GUSA election campaign would no longer be released to the public.

After a week of student and faculty pressure, however, GUSA Election Commission Chair Benita Sinnarajah (NHS ’06) announced late last night that the commission, which is separate from GUSA’s operations, would release the full percentage results of the election after all. While we applaud Sinnarajah’s decision to move the voting process back toward the transparency and accountability students deserve, we cannot help but question the thought process that led to the commission’s original decision.

When questioned about last week’s move toward secrecy, many GUSA Assembly members appeared baffled, and even mentioned the possibility of voting to overrule the Election Commission’s decision by passing a resolution that would force the results to be announced in all their glorious detail.

The decision to keep GUSA election results private was unsettling to many, because it threatened the integrity of GUSA elections and perpetuated the perception of GUSA as a bureaucratic jumble of committees prone to communication failures and internal discord.

GUSA needs to work to increase its contact with the student body, not to hide from it. It should try to increase its transparency and open more extensive lines of communication with Georgetown students – not treat them like outsiders who are only good for their vote one day a year. Only then can GUSA become a body truly representative of student voices.

It is also disappointing that the student body’s most accessible means of finding out about GUSA’s exploits is through the criticism contained in the pages of THE HOYA. As discrediting as the decision to make election results secret was, more damaging to GUSA’s credibility is its failure to tell students what it is doing for them. We are not calling for a resurrection of last year’s “Pawprint” e-mails, which lacked real content and only touted several non-achievements. Instead, GUSA should tackle issues students actually care about – if something newsworthy comes of it, the news coverage will be there (a good example has been GUSA’s outstanding work bringing name-brand fast food to Hoya Court).

Without exhausting the topic of our victory over Duke and the new meaning that 87-84 has taken for all of us, this past weekend we did become “One Georgetown.” To keep the voice of Georgetown students united and strong, GUSA needs to integrate itself into the student population and refrain from shrouding itself in darkness and feuding over minute procedural issues.

We can only hope that the decision by Sinnarajah to reverse her terrible election policy marks a turning point toward making GUSA an institution the entire student body can be proud of.

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