Letters to the Editor

Transparency a god
I fear that the student body may be misled by Student Association Senator Asher Corson’s recent letter to the editor (“Bring transparency to SA,” Aug. 25, p. 7). Corson’s letter would have students believe that our student government proceedings are cloaked in secrecy, that decisions on major student issues are decided in cigar smoke and behind closed doors.

This is simply not the case. We all remain very much committed to keeping the Senate open and accessible to all students. We comply with commonly accepted and proscribed open meeting guidelines recognized by other university student governments.

All Senate votes – save our internal leadership elections and a few internal organizational matters – are voted on at public meetings by voice vote (which every student is welcome to witness) or by recorded vote (in which each member’s vote is recorded for public record). Indeed, the use of the secret ballot is restricted to only three forms of voting involving personnel decisions internal to the Student Association. In fact, the secret ballot can never be used in the allocation of student body funds or in setting Student Association policy.

The Student Association maintains detailed minutes that record the actions of our body and that are always available for public inspection. In my first term as Executive Vice President, we launched http://senate.gwu.edu, which provides students with 24-7 access to legislation, agendas, our calendar, recorded votes and member information. We continue to take every possible step to increase student access to their government.

While I do not necessarily disagree with the legislation proposed by Corson, it is important for students to know that the Student Association Senate’s employment of a secret ballot system in deciding internal matters is not unfounded. The majority party’s candidate for Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives is elected by secret ballot as are the leadership of most state legislatures.

Ultimately, the Senate’s membership will decide whether or not certain internal matters should be formally recorded. Regardless of that vote’s outcome (which will be publicly recorded), I am convinced that our proceedings are transparent and that senator’s actions are accountable. I encourage students to come to one of our meetings and decide for themselves.

-Eric R. Daleo, senior, SA Executive Vice President

Amusing name
As a fairly proud alumnus, I find the situation amusing and GW a bit too earnest in naming its new residence hall “Ivory Towers.” It is a name that immediately invokes the imagery of an aloof and distant university community too arrogant to mingle with the surrounding community. This reminds me all too much of GW’s rather unfortunate relationship with its neighbors, especially given the fact that I learned of the name in regards to yet another lawsuit between a local resident and GW.

-James Meiers, class of 2002

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