Registration Referendum

This year’s Georgetown University Student Association executive presidential and vice presidential election, to be held Feb. 18, will also include a referendum on changes to the course registration system, as the university considers switching from a preregistration to a live registration model. Students should make their voices heard by voting in favor of the current preregistration model.

As the registrar’s office changes digital systems, it will also consider several technical changes to the registration process, including a live registration system that would stagger entry to courses by class year and leave courses open in a first-come, first-serve manner within the time given to register. Seats would be reserved in specific classes for majors and underclassmen, but on the whole, the system would largely resemble the current completion process that occurs after initial preregistration.

When the GUSA senate held a town hall on the future of registration in December, the recently retired registrar, John Q. Pierce, enumerated a number of benefits that could arise from switching systems: decreased financial costs, technical benefits and quicker feedback. However, student responses at the town hall were strongly against live registration and in favor of keeping the current system, given that it allows students to prioritize and complete schedules in advance. While both routes offer benefits and drawbacks, a decisive vote in the referendum will allow GUSA to craft a comprehensive position based on popular support through discussions with the administration.

This editorial board urges students to educate themselves about the benefits of both live and preregistration systems, including the use of both by peer institutions. But above all, it is imperative to come out and vote so that a sizable student opinion may be clearly articulated. This is the only way to make sure the registrar’s office does not proceed with huge changes to an important part of academic organization without widely consulting student experiences and viewpoints.

Ultimately, the current preregistration model offers a form of class organization that most benefits the Georgetown lifestyle. For students who need to plan internships and employment timelines months in advance, the live model would stymie the ability to prioritize a thought-out and organized schedule. It will prioritize class-based seniority and classes within an academic major far above the ability to take a wide variety of classes in diverse subjects. And perhaps most pertinently, it would introduce a dangerous level of uncertainty and instability into the current registration model that is already sufficiently stressful for students, given the already-existing competition to get in to classes.

Based on existing student opinion that has supported the current system for all reasons previously stated, we exhort the entire student body to participate in the upcoming election to have their voices be heard and to vote in favor of preregistration. Unless and until the registrar’s office can articulate a clear plan for how to mitigate the concerns associated with a live registration system, the school should stick with the current model and GUSA should advocate forcefully for that position. What we say to the entire student body is this: Read up, come out and above all, vote!

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