Academics

Breaking Barriers:

    Academics undoubtedly play a central role in the lives of Hoyas on campus. Unfortunately, students often face a lack of transparency or information by the administration due to different priorities. Lobbying for academic changes faces the barrier of intense hierarchies via existing institutions such as deans and departments. The administration has not lived up to the optimism of its goals set in 2010’s Diversity and Inclusiveness Initiative, drafted by by President DeGioia and the former Provost.

Due to the niche of academic interests, advocacy often stagnates due to the hurdle of building a critical mass of students necessary for the administration to act on the demands for change. Furthermore, students that do advocate for their fellow Hoyas are often still confined to silos of advocacy on their respective Academic Councils, dependent on specific people and projects within their purview.

Policies:

Academic Program Expansion:

  • While the Diversity Requirement passed last year, it is critical to engage students in the implementation and explain its purpose and clearly publishing the options incoming students have for these cross listed classes
  • Promote the expansion of academic programs such as:
  • Asian Studies minor/major with concentration in South Asian and East Asian Studies
  • African-American Studies major and department
  • Latino/Hispanic Studies program
  • Promote the expansion of language offerings, such as establishing a Hindi and expanding the Swahili program
  • Explore establishing programs in both statistics and film studies in the College
  • Establish programs for interdisciplinary engagement with nutrition or health classes in the NHS
  • Expand sophomore and junior options for liberal arts seminars
  • Expand credit programs for internships
  • Expand innovative classroom structures and test-class modules (e.g. experimental bioethics course)
  • Advocate for greater recognition of AP credit (particularly science credit)

Academic Experience:

  • Open up a conversation about credit-counting for labs for science majors, with the goal of ensuring fair representation of work hours
  • Clarify the rationale behind, and more consistently implement, the mean grades reporting policy on transcripts
  • Explore further options for establishing platforms for informal language practice (example: “Tandem” Facebook group at the University of Edinburgh)
  • Advocate for more cross-listing course opportunities across schools
  • Continue advocating for personalized academics:
  • Expand conversations about a potential 4 for 4 course plan –– CAC has begun the conversation by hosting a townhall
  • Explore alternative personalized credit offerings, including an option for online courses, while engaging students in the conversation
  • Explore the possibility of live pre-registration & engage students via the February referendum
  • Open up a dialogue with administrators about how make qualitative and quantitative evaluations more accessible
  • Advocate for greater transparency on departmental, adjunct, and faculty salaries
  • Explore creation of a faculty diversity fund

Academic Resources:

  • Better centralize informal academic support on campus through the Academic Resource Center (ARC)
  • Evaluate funding needs and uses of ARC for program expansion to meet diverse student needs
  • More tutoring services and/or tutoring referral service to department programs
  • Better marketing for ARC academic skills workshops, and engage students in tailoring workshops to specific student interests
  • Extend the hours of the Blommer Science Library to better reflect student study schedules
  • Support skills tagging in pre-registration (e.g. “I learned web design and empathetic education in this class)
  • Make the ICC more conducive to studying
  • Continuing transformation of the ICC Galleria
  • Adding tables and “study lounges” on each floor by the elevators
  • Work with Lau to expand course reserves for commonly requested textbooks
  • Push for the comprehensive inclusion of supplemental course materials (i.e. art supplies, online course packs, medical tools for nursing/healthcare students, etc.) in students’ financial aid packages.
  • Advocate for renovation of Lau for more accessible study space

Building Bridges:

We will strive to formulate an inclusive and holistic academics advocacy team that includes the Presidents and members of all four academic councils, creating a structure for institutional continuity so academic advocacy can continue to grow in strength. This team should informally partner with Designing the Future(s) and the Academic Councils to include a diversity of students across majors, years, experience, and backgrounds. We will push for increased access directly to the Deans, the Registrar, and the Provost’s office to cut through administrative bureaucracy and better advocate for student interests and foster direction communication with the student body.

Accessibility

Barriers:

A general lack of awareness shrouds issues related to accessibility on campus. There is a significant deficit in understanding amongst the student body about the full spectrum of disability. This deficit has been exacerbated by a lack of institutional knowledge and a perceived stigma experienced by students with disabilities. Many do not want to advocate for themselves so as to avoid being defined by their disability. As a campus community, we have an obligation to dismantle this stigma and to spread awareness about the serious issues facing students with disabilities.

Policies:

Creating a Welcoming and Inclusive Culture:

  • Continue providing funding for the annual Disability Studies Lecture Series.
  • Advocate for the expansion of the Disability Course Cluster and take steps towards creating a Disability Studies Minor and/or Certificate Program. Ensure that existing Disability Studies courses are cross-listed for the Diversity Requirement.
  • Encourage CAPS to design group therapy sessions for students with physical disabilities.
  • Engage Blue & Gray leadership in promoting Georgetown’s accessibility resources on campus tours.
  • Work with the CSE, ESCAPE, and Campus Ministry on thoughtfully engaging issues of accessibility in retreats and identity discussions.
  • Compile a clear list of the best language for students to use while discussing accessibility, and distribute it amongst GUSA, Blue & Gray tour guides, SAC groups, and other relevant student organizations.

Offering Academic, Extracurricular, and Professional Support:

  • Campaign to integrate Georgetown 365, the initiative of the new Access Coordinator in the Academic Resource Center (ARC). Work with the ARC to increase advertisement for existing free ASL interpretation.
  • Explore options for developing recreational sports opportunities for students with disabilities.
  • Raise awareness about the necessity of placing disclaimers on student group advertising that highlights their ability and willingness to make accommodations by request.
  • Call for the improvement of the captioning process when professors post lectures online during instructional continuity to make it easier for students who are hard of hearing to access lectures.
  • Work with NSO to ensure that students with disabilities have an easy way to let NSO staff know about necessary accommodations and to make sure that OAs are inclusive towards students with all types of disabilities in all types of programming.
  • Continue to fight for the establishment of a Disability Cultural Center (DCC) to handle disability accommodation requests and foster an inclusive atmosphere. Push for the administration to commit space for the DCC in the Leavey Center renovation.

Ensuring a Physically Accessible Campus:

  • Advocate for a way to designate facilities requests that present accessibility problems as high-priority.
  • Work with facilities staff to ensure that all automatic door openers around campus are fully functional.
  • Consider options for relocating the Student Health Center to a more accessible location in the center of campus.
  • Prioritize universal accessibility during the construction of new buildings in the master planning process and commit to full ADA accessibility in all future construction.
  • Publish a new campus accessibility map and work with the Georgetown administration to more effectively publish it on their official website.

Bridges:

To realize this agenda, we will establish a diverse team that represents students with different types of disabilities and of different age groups to reflect the unique needs of the Georgetown community in addressing these issues. We will build a system that emphasizes proactive outreach to students with disabilities to offer support rather than waiting for them to reach out on their own. Through all of this, we will continue to review responses from the Fall 2015 GUSA Accessibility Survey to better understand which issues matter to students most.

 

Arts

Barriers:

The arts community at Georgetown, representing the four main art forms –– visual arts, music, theater, and dance –– is composed of a driven student body of dedicated performers, creators, and builders. Including department classes, student groups under PAAC, and individual, non-group-affiliated artists, the fabric of the arts at Georgetown is sewn together by a common drive for creating art and need for adequate space, finance, and advocacy. With inadequate space and funding, arts groups lack an advocacy group engaged in the Master Planning process.

Policies:

Space:

  • Work with the student representatives to the Board of Directors to present at a Board meeting on recommendations for necessary arts space, including:
    • Adequate temperature controlled storage space, which includes additional lockers that would be a priority for the music department, but can also be rented for general use by student musicians not affiliated with PAAC or DPAC.  
    • Adequate structurally and acoustically sound performance space, which can accommodate a large audience size.  
    • Adequate access to performance and practice space for student performers not associated with existing academic or extracurricular arts programs, such as bands or individual instrumentalists in need of amplifier equipment.
    • General purpose visual arts space in addition to existing academic space in Walsh, for student artists not formally enrolled in an arts class.
    • Greater display of student visual arts around campus.
    • The relocation of the Music Department to a permanent location.

Advocacy:

  • Work with Ron Lignelli from PAAC to make his space reservations calendar public to the performing arts community, so that groups know what spaces are reserved and when.
  • Continue coordinating Arts Week, which aims to put a spotlight on different arts groups and programming on campus.
  • Host a monthly Arts Forum where groups/community members can communicate information and opportunities for arts involvement, publicize upcoming events, meet other community members interested in the arts and present pressing advocacy issues pertaining to the arts.
  • Coordinate social events for arts community members.
  • Institutionalize management of the “Georgetown Arts and Creativity” Facebook group under the GUSA arts team.

Funding:

  • Work closely with PAAC and alumni networks to secure funding and potentially coordinate a Kickstarter campaign for projects that are flagged as a critical need, such as renovations and structural updates for Mask and Bauble’s performance space in Poulton Hall.
  • Work with the Office of Financial Aid to secure financial support for non-textbook supplemental arts class materials, such as paint, canvases, and paint brushes.

Bridges:

In order to address these barriers, we will bring together students from across the arts community in an inclusive GUSA arts team, which will serve as both a unified advocacy body for the arts and a forum for communication and collaboration between student representatives from different arts communities and organizations. The arts team will host monthly public fora to more broadly engage the membership of different arts organizations. The goal of such guided conversations, open to all students involved in the arts in any capacity, is to discuss common issues among and across art forms - such as meaningful renovations of and additions to existing arts spaces on campus in order to spatially and symbolically foster the continued growth and vitality of the arts on campus.

Athletics

Breaking Barriers, Building Bridges:

A perpetual lack of adequate funding and space, indirect communication between the many athletic institutions on campus, and opaque athletic priorities are all barriers to effective advocacy. We plan to address these barriers by forming an inclusive GUSA team to work on athletics advocacy that will include student representatives from SAAC, ABCS, intramural sports, and other student athletes who have a stake in the conversation. By bringing everyone to the same table, we hope to facilitate more direct communication to enable more effective advocacy. We will additionally seek clarity in appointing two GUSA liaisons to the Student Athlete Advisory (D1) Committee in order to formally extend GUSA as a resource to D1 athletes.

Policies:

Intramural Sports:

  • Preserve intramural access to field space during construction on Cooper Field.
  • Push for intramural access to the Duke Ellington track and field just north of Reservoir Road.

Club Sports:

  • Preserve club sports access to field space during construction on Cooper Field.
  • Engage student input in determining the best use of new space in Yates after the opening of the Thompson Athletic Center.
  • Ensure that the club sports athletic trainer for high impact teams receives adequate space and resources in the area that is being vacated by the varsity weight room.
  • Prioritize the timely renovation or replacement of Kehoe Field and ensure student input in the process on issues of access and usage. Support ABCS in finding a new high-quality field as an alternative to Kehoe until the completion of a necessary renovation.
  • Work with ABCS to redesign the club sports financial management structure to allow teams to save money from year to year.
  • Push for clarity around the alumni donation process to club and varsity sports teams, including cheerleading.

Varsity Sports:

  • Work with the University to designate locker room and equipment space for the varsity tennis team in the Thompson Athletic Center.
  • Advocate for varsity tennis access to Visitation School tennis courts.
  • Push the University to hire an additional academic advisor for non-basketball varsity athletes.

All Athletics:

  • Educate students about long-term plans for Yates and Kehoe Field and work with administrators to design a process meaningful process for student engagement in the planning process.
  • Lend formal GUSA support to the Nike labor practices campaign and offer GUSA as a vehicle for amplifying the campaign’s message on campus.

Cultural & Racial Inclusivity

Barriers:

While the University’s administration has begun to make movements towards a racially, socio-economically diverse incoming class with each new admission cohort, institutional norms and the “culture” of Georgetown as a whole are not reflective of the student body it serves. In their 2010 update on the Diversity and Inclusion Initiative, President DeGioia and the former Provost proposed optimistic goals in the realm of student life, academics, faculty, and admissions: the majority have not been achieved. In years past there has been a disconnect between efforts on Georgetown’s administration behalf, the Georgetown University Student Association (GUSA), the organizational governing bodies of existing cultural organizations and offices on campus, and the student populace as a whole.

Policy:

ACADEMIC:

  • Continue work towards an African American Studies Major & Department
  • Explore the potential to establish a U.S. Hispanic/Latino Studies program based on existing courses
  • Work with the Faculty of Language and Linguistics (FLL) to expand the offering of language studies and push for:
  • The introduction of South Asian languages, such as Hindi and Urdu, and other languages high in demand.
  • A commitment to host on-campus language proficiency tests for students proficient in a language not offered at Georgetown, so that students do not have to pay the travel expense to go to embassies in order to take language proficiency tests.
  • Explore the potential to establish a South Asian Studies program
  • Support the initiative of BLF, other concerned students of color, and allies to push the administration to commit the present-day monetary value received from the sale of the 272 enslaved persons by Father Mulledy to recruit more African American professors.
  • Explore the potential to introduce a Native American Studies program or concentration within the American Studies major.
  • Push for diversity training for faculty and administrators.

INSTITUTIONAL:

  • Collaborate with NSO Coordinators to improve the Pluralism in Action experience by having LEAD peer educators provide training input for the dialogue portion of the program. GUSA’s Race and Cultural Inclusion Team can work with LEAD peer educators and resources from the Office of Residential Living to coordinate training for the dialogue. RA Diversity Training materials could serve as a resource from the Office of Residential Living.
  • Work with towards ensuring that incoming freshmen, the first to be affected by the Diversity Requirement, should be educated on the history and semantics of the Diversity Requirement--what it means, what classes will fulfill this requirement, and why this requirement is vital to our community.
  • Collaborate with deans to include a separate sheet detailing the Diversity Requirement along with other course registration materials sent to incoming freshmen over the summer.
  • Educate current and incoming students on the requirement by hosting a town hall
  • Institute mandatory diversity training for all members of GUSA, to be coordinated by LEAD and the GUSA Race and Cultural Team

COLLABORATION WITH THE CMEA:

  • Appoint two GUSA liaisons from the Race and Cultural Inclusion Team to SOCA-- one representative to attend SOCA board meetings, and one representative to attend general SOCA meetings. These representatives will be present at all meetings to take questions, comments and suggestions from students. These representatives, along with the rest of Race and Cultural Team, will continue to advertise all cultural events on campus-- a current role of the Multicultural Council-- and help the CMEA with programming and logistics.

STUDENT LIFE:

  • Work with SOCA to provide guidelines for how clubs can create a more inclusive club culture and application process.
  • Commit to reading and helping with the club applications of minority students who wish to seek guidance on their applications.
  • Collaborate with SOCA, Black House, and cultural groups on campus to expand and continue the “A GUSA that Looks Like Georgetown” initiative, which is a workshop that aims to empower and encourage minority students to run for the GUSA Senate. The workshop also provides potential candidates with election preparation.

Bridges:

The creation of a GUSA Race and Cultural Inclusion team could help GUSA take measures to be more inclusive as an organization, and can also strive to push for overall diversity inclusion on campus across communities and groups, while keeping in line and acting as a supportive ally of current initiatives in place.

Dining & Auxiliary Services

Barriers:

The dining program on campus does not reflect the wants and needs of students, as students are not adequately represented in the decision-making process. Currently, Dining & Auxiliary Services does not provide adequate forums for engagement, and their existing forums are not well-publicized. Administrators shaping dining policy also struggle to take feedback without getting offended, making it difficult for students to engage and clearly communicate their grievances. Students don’t understand how and why dining policies are made.  

Policies:

Expanding meal plan flexibility:

  • Expand off-campus options, either in the form of student discounts or the increased acceptance of Flex Dollars.
  • Expand the availability of block plans.
  • Expand meal exchange options-- allow for more dining locations to accept meal swipes.
  • Introduce the option to add-on flex dollars.
  • Make permanent the Hoya Court meal exchange program.

Social justice, sustainability, and equal access to dining:

  • Create stipends or alternate meal options for students who stay on campus. during breaks and still need access to food.
  • Continue supporting food composting at Leo’s.
  • Continue advocacy for workers at Leo’s, Epicurean, Einstein’s, and Hoya Court.
  • Be more public about sanitary standards in the Leo’s kitchen.

Planning for the future of dining:

  • Work closely with Dining & Auxiliary Services to include student input throughout the dining contract re-negotiation process.
  • Work with Auxiliary Services to host an ‘open house’ for potential contractors.
  • Engage students in the process to rethink the structure and style of Leo’s.
  • Push for the construction of a second dining hall or equivalent meal-plan-accessible dining location.
  • Advocate for the inclusion of fast-casual dining options in the Student Life Corridor.

Improving the dining experience in the short term:

  • Expanding weekend and off-hour options by pushing for:
  • Opening Grab-N-Go on weekends.
  • Expanding weekend options at Leo’s, including, but not limited to, opening of the wok and pasta lines.
  • Opening the top floor of Leo’s during non-meal periods.
  • Improving customer service at Bulldog Tavern by working with Bon Appetit management to:
    • Establish consistent and longer open hours.
    • Post Bulldog Tavern job openings on the student employment website.
    • Host better and more types of late-night programming.
    • Make the Bulldog Tavern Advisory Committee more accessible to the public.
    • Work with management to offer cheap beer pitchers.
    • Revamp the aesthetic appeal of the area around the takeout window and offer an easier way for takeout customers to get quick attention.
  • Rethink Grab-N-Go experience to include reusable to-go boxes at Leo’s.

Improving the bookstore experience:

  • Better publicize price-matching system and expand the price-matching cash-back period.
  • Lengthen the loosened book return policy that’s during the add/drop period.
  • Engage students in the bookstore structure re-envisioning process, including student input for the upcoming bookstore dining option.

Addressing mail consolidation:

  • Ensure equivalent jobs for students who lose their current jobs in the mail consolidation process. Check out our full student worker platform here.
  • Create focus groups to engage students in determining the best use of freed up RHO space.
  • Explore options for preserving easy access for key loss & lockouts in dorms.
  • Make sure there’s no decrease in the quality of service and length of lines at the new consolidated mail location.
  • Ensure easy access to new consolidated mail location for students with demonstrated disabilities & explore the possibility of a delivery service.

Bridges:

With the upcoming expiry of the Aramark dining contract, students must be included in the new dining contract selection process. Dining and Auxiliary Services’ current Dining Committee needs to be re-purposed so that its agenda reflects topics that matter to students. We aim to organize frequent student-run administration-supported dining town halls in order to create a direct channel of communication between students and administrators. The creation of an anonymous online feedback forum monitored by both GUSA and Dining and Auxiliary services will ensure a clear continuous communication method. Furthermore, we plan on working with the Leo’s marketing team to better focus and target how Leo’s communicates dining updates.

Entrepreneurship

Barriers:

Most of the problems humanity has faced, from energy to communication, have been solved by entrepreneurs. Despite the big wins generated by entrepreneurship, Georgetown does not seem to acknowledge the positive returns that could generate for the campus community. Successful entrepreneurs can be big donors, and some even sit on the Board of Directors of the University. Therefore, if not for the benefit of its students, then for its own benefit, the University must support entrepreneurship on campus. The most pressing issues right now are a lack of workspace and lack of concerted university support.

Policies:

  • Work with the MSB and Lau to designate an existing conference room as an entrepreneurship space accessible 24/7 to students with startups.
  • Extend access to the GUSA unrecognized student group storage cage to student startups.
  • Engage top University administrators in a conversation about long-term institutional support for entrepreneurship on campus.
  • Explore long-term options for a permanent and vibrant entrepreneurship space in a renovated Reiss, in the Student Life Corridor, or a in a University-owned townhouse.
  • Explore policy changes to better support student entrepreneurs.  
  • Actively engage interested faculty in student advocacy efforts.
  • Work with Gelardin to publicize student access to 3D Printers, VR helmets, A/V studios & equipment, and more
  • Work with the Office of Alumni Relations to connect student entrepreneurs with successful alumni entrepreneurs.
  • Partner with other universities for entrepreneurship programming and information sharing.

Bridges:

A dedicated entrepreneurship advocacy team will bring together student entrepreneurs and other interested students and community members to create a better climate for entrepreneurship on campus. Our campaign will focus on connecting entrepreneurship advocates directly with Todd Olson, Randy Bass, and other high-level administrators. We will also encourage the university to dedicate space to student startups.

Free Speech

Barriers:

In the past year and a half, a number of events have brought student speech rights to the forefront of campus discussion. After well-known and publicized controversies with a number of student groups and gatherings both on campus and across the country, many Hoyas are concerned about their rights to freely speak and express themselves becoming stifled both by the University and through the actions of some of their peers. While the Georgetown’s policies are generally good, the University’s track record on enforcement has a lot of room for improvement. The Center for Student Engagement does not adequately engage students to address free speech issues at times. The Office of the Free Speech Advocate has too narrow a mission to effectively deal with speech complains. Elements of a censorship culture and hostile climate for ideological debate also hinder student dialogue on campus. Activist efforts on campus also sometimes come into conflict or are hindered by free speech policy.

Policies:

  • Assert tabling as a form of protected free speech and advocate for the expansion of tabling areas on campus, particularly around Healy Circle.
  • Explore transparency and accountability reforms to ensure that the University’s free speech policy is properly enforced, including:
    • Increasing student access to GUPD reports in cases where the policy is invoked.
    • More effectively training GUPD officers on students’ speech rights.
    • Establishing a point person in the Center for Student Engagement for free speech.
  • Ensure that student groups are allowed to bring speakers to campus regardless of their beliefs, and that protest areas be designated and security provided for controversial events when requested.
  • Clearly publicize rules pertaining to tabling, protesting, and other free speech and expression concerns by creating dedicated page on GUSA’s website and launching a campus-wide information campaign.
  • Communicate and engage directly with students and student groups by hosting focused free speech workshops and creating a clearly accessible free speech email account for time-sensitive questions.
  • Support the rights of campus media to report on on-campus events or gatherings.
  • Work to support the free exchange of ideas on campus by promoting engagement between different students, student groups, and campus media, and by affirming the necessity of intellectual diversity to a successful university environment.

Bridges:

In order to strengthen free speech advocacy work on campus, we will transition the Office of the Free Speech Advocate’s case work responsibilities to the direct jurisdiction of the SAO and consolidate free speech advocacy efforts under a broad and inclusive GUSA free speech team. This team will promote respectful dialogue, support the rights of student groups to bring speakers of diverse ideological beliefs to campus, and push to better communicate and publicize student free speech rights through the policies described above.