GUSA sucks, right? Wrong. It seems like beyond going to Georgetown Men’s Basketball games, a new favorite past time of Georgetown students is criticizing their student government. I have run into two opinion articles in the past few weeks in THE HOYA, including one from its very own Editorial Board (“With GUSA, Everybody Loses,” www.thehoya.com, Feb. 19, 2008), trying to discredit the student association completely. I am tempted to write an opinion article completely discrediting THE HOYA, yet I have another motivation in mind for writing this: that criticism for GUSA is without reason and, moreover, not needed.

Amongst its many jabs at GUSA, in which the Editorial Board called it a “theatrically side-splitting joke,” the Board gave a laundry list of ideas that it thought GUSA should address: student racial segregation, Georgetown’s miserable financial status and the lack of the Jesuit-inspired spirit of service among students. I will be the first to concede that this list touches on several disheartening conditions of our campus. Since the Editorial Board took time to pretentiously sit back and bash the candidates and GUSA, perhaps it could also find time to offer some advice. How do we get black students and white students to sit together in O’Donovan Hall? How do we get the university to offer more financial aid instead of frivolously spending money on things that do not matter to students? How do we encourage fellow students to have a greater spirit of serving others? How would the Editorial Board suggest that GUSA go about tackling these issues more than just talking about it, which we know every GUSA member is quite capable of doing?

Having spent the last semester in Argentina, I share other students’ opinions that GUSA holds very little water in comparison to its counterparts in other parts of the world. When the University of Buenos Aires faculty and alumni made a decision that the students found unfair, I witnessed them completely block off the widest street in the world for several hours. Would the students of Georgetown University do this in order to let their voice saying that the university should offer more in the ways of financial aid be heard? No. But does this mean that GUSA is a completely ineffective tool? Certainly not. There is no greater evidence of student apathy at this school then the statistic that barely over a third of the student body votes for a president. Perhaps the Editorial Board should focus its criticism on general student sentiments, rather than pinning it on the brave few that are willing to push for even a degree of change.

One of the most miserable experiences I have had this semester at school was when my running-mate and I went in to interview with THE HOYA Editorial Board. In the student interviews, perhaps they should have asked the candidates’ stances on the issues they felt needed to be addressed, rather than asking broad, open-ended questions and ending the interview by inquiring whether or not the candidates were pro-HOYA independence (imagine The New York Times asking Obama before they made their endorsement if he was planning on investing in its newspaper and buying life-long subscriptions for all of his friends and family).

GUSA has had many successes in the past years and has made progress on issues that students care about. It just so happens that most students right now care more about being able to play beer pong at their next party than about racial segregation on campus. Please excuse GUSA for representing the wants of its constituency. People will want to further discredit GUSA due to the result of the elections. The elections are not the issue. The election commissioner, a very intelligent and dedicated person, and the GUSA Senate, a group of students who actually do care about this “side-splitting joke” of a student body, felt that a run-off election for the president would be the best way to approach the results of the first ballot. How this election has been handled does not make GUSA more pathetic, nor does it affect the functionality of the body.

I conclude by making a friendly reminder to the Editorial Board, and the rest of the student body, that due to the efforts of GUSA, no keg-ban was imposed, so maybe they should stop, get a drink and think whether their criticism is helpful or justified.

D. Arthur Sevin is a junior in the School of Foreign Service and ran for vice president in the 2008 GUSA elections.

Have a reaction to this article? Write a letter to the editor.

Comments are closed.