Three referendums address Colonials nickname, internal SA changes

Students will vote on three referendums during the Student Association elections this week.

The referendums tackle topics that, if approved by a majority vote, would make changes to the SA’s internal structure and press officials to consider a controversial push to change the Colonials nickname.

Here’s what you need to know about each initiative:

Changing the longstanding Colonials nickname
The most highly anticipated referendum will ask students whether GW should consider a new nickname. More than 500 students signed a petition last spring calling on officials to switch the name to something less “offensive,” saying the moniker has negative connotations abroad. Officials have not yet stated whether they are open to a change.

Efforts to change the nickname slowed in the fall, but SA leaders revived the push this semester with a faculty panel discussion touching on the negative connotations of colonialism around the world.

Adding a nondiscrimination policy to the SA’s constitution
Students will also decide whether the SA should add a nondiscrimination policy to its constitution. The policy, if approved, would protect members of the SA from being discriminated against on the basis of race, sex, ethnicity, religion or disability.

The University mandated last March that all registered student organizations include nondiscrimination policies in their governing documents, but the mandate was issued too late to amend the SA constitution. The SA is the only student organization on campus that does not include a nondiscrimination policy.

Creating a vice president for government relations
Students will also weigh in on whether the SA should replace the vice president for community affairs position with a vice president for government relations. The updated post would expand the role of the vice president for community affairs to require that they attend local government meetings.

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