The Final Word
Published: Friday, April 27, 2012
Updated: Sunday, April 29, 2012 23:04
This year’s GUSA campaigns may have redefined what we come to expect from our student government.
The candidates in this year’s election were numerous and diverse: a record-high seven tickets, which included not only active members of GUSA, but also a variety of student leaders and a men’s varsity basketball player, all vying for the executive office.
The campaigns also featured an emphasis on meticulously detailed and extensive platforms that became almost a point of parody. This came as an appreciated shift from the personality-driven campaigns of the past.
What most set this year’s election apart, however, was a record-high voter turnout.
While the increased number of voters was due in part to the tickets’ abilities to get their core supporters to the polls, this is not necessarily a negative. The strong turnout signifies greater student engagement, which in turn legitimizes GUSA.
In all, this year demonstrated that the students of Georgetown are genuinely interested in who serves as their representatives. This, of course, places more pressure on the new executives, President Clara Gustafson (SFS ’13) and Vice President Vail Kohnert-Yount (SFS ’13), to follow through on their campaign promises.
GUSA has always wanted greater student engagement. Now it is up to them to perform.
Campus Plan Hits Stalemate
Sixteen months, six zoning hearings and countless debates after the 2010 Campus Plan was first submitted, extended delays are preventing the university from moving on a path toward growth and development.
While much of the plan relates to on-campus improvements, the entire process has been delayed due to neighborhood resistance. Locals insist that the university house every student on campus — a demand totally devoid of compromise — and their antagonism has led to a frustrating stalemate in the approval process.
Georgetown is the District’s largest private employer, and the university’s expansion should be welcomed, not fought. Neighbors’ calls for the D.C. Zoning Commission to reject the plan have put the commission in an uncomfortable position: It must either order Georgetown to stop its growth or fly in the face of local opinion. Based on the number of times the commission’s decision has been delayed, it appears that they are content with doing neither.
In the meantime, despite a series of significant compromises made by the university, Georgetown is in limbo as it waits through postponement after postponement of a final decision.
Just as our 2000 Campus Plan was rejected and later appealed before passing, we’d like to see the process move forward, one way or another, rather than continue down this road of inaction.