A thorough read-through of the current GUSA reform reveals that it is essentially the same as the proposed 2001-02 Yard reform simply written in English and not legalese.

That this is the case should alarm any Georgetown student. The 2001-02 Yard revival was the brainchild of then-students Jack Ternan (COL ’04) and John Cook (SFS ’03), as well as several alumni including Nathan Willems (SFS ’01), Rob Coppedge (COL ’97), Robert Swope (COL ’01) and Manny iranda (SFS ’82), all of whom are members of the Second Stewards Society.

As “Yardies” that year can attest, the campaign was entirely run by said alumni and other Stewards. This society seeks to invoke the so-called glory days of Georgetown student government, during which the student body tightly rallied around the president of the Yard.

However, these “glory days” are long gone, and they will not return.

Today, Georgetown’s students primarily associate with student clubs and the interests to which these clubs cater – not the student body president. This arrangement mercifully leaves GUSA and Stewards out of students’ daily lives. The 2001-02 Yard and the current proposal would tip that balance.

The reform proposes, as did the 2001-02 Yard proposal, that the entire student body be at the student body president’s beck and call. Notwithstanding that the Student Union has no actual use or power, could you honestly imagine 1,500 people assembling for a serious discussion? When the House of Representatives debates an issue, the chamber is nearly empty; 435 Representatives can’t be in the same room at the same time, while getting paid for it. The Student Union, thus, is more rooted in idealism than in pragmatism.

Under the current system, student leaders deal with GUSA bureaucracy only when trying to secure funding. Otherwise, they are free to lead their organizations in what way they see fit. Club leaders are not looking to serve as legislators. The proposed reform, again much like The Yard proposal, compels club leaders to attend meetings of the Student Council. This is essentially recommending a shotgun marriage of student leaders and GUSA.

Noticeably absent this year are the Stewards. Having finally realized they are not adored by the masses of Georgetown, and knowing that their control of the 2001-02 Yard reform led to its defeat, they have chosen to let others do their work for them.

Who did Ternan and company find? None other than the person Ternan and the Stewards helped put into power: your GUSA President.

Christian Jerner (COL ’03) Alexander Sanjenis (COL ’03) Melissa Vergara (COL ’02)

Jan. 30, 2005

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