Students Vote to Keep Pre-Registration in GUSA Election Referendum

In conjunction with the annual Georgetown University Student Association Executive election on Feb. 18, students also casted votes in a campus-wide referendum on course registration.

The referendum, which was added to the election ballot with the goal of  quantifying students’ views on a potential switch in registration processes, asked students the following question: “Would you rather keep pre-registration or switch to live registration?” The response options were “keep pre-registration,” “switch to live registration” and “no preference.” 83 percent voted to keep the pre-registration system, 7 percent voted to switch to live registration, and 9 percent of votes indicated no preference.

After learning that the University will be changing its registration software by February 2017, Georgetown University Student Association (GUSA)’s Outreach Committee organized a town hall discussion this past December to examine the future of course selection at Georgetown. The University is deciding between two course registration software options.

Former-Georgetown University Registrar John Q. Pierce explaining the benefits of a live registration system at a town hall event in December. Courtesy of Karla Leyja, photographer to The Hoya.

One software is called  Workday, which offers a similar pre-registration process to the one currently in place, and as such, allows students more time to determine which courses would best suit their needs before schedules are finalized. By offering pre-registration, Workday allows them to rank their course preferences and provide alternative course options. The other software that the University is considering is called Banner 9, which is a direct update from the University’s current Banner 8 software, but uses a live registration process instead.

According to the Office of the Registrar, the Banner 9 software is slightly less expensive and potentially easier to use, while the Workday software is still under development by its creators. Regardless of which option the University chooses, the update will cost approximately $17 million.

Adopting a live registration process would stagger entry to courses by class year and leave courses open on a first-come, first-serve basis. Students would know their course results instantly and a number of seats would be reserved in specific classes for majors and underclassmen, to prevent potential instances of unfairness.

During the December town hall discussion, University Registrar John Q. Pierce, who has since retired from his post and been replaced by an interim registrar, spoke to students about the two software options.

“We think the [Banner 9] registration process might be actually better; it would facilitate the mobile app, and if we went to cloud computing where we didn’t have to invest so much money in it … it would cost less to maintain it and thus keep tuition dollars down,” Pierce said in an interview with The Hoya

Following the town hall, GUSA Senators immediately started advocating for a student referendum to be attached to the GUSA Executive election ballot as a way to quantify students’ registration preferences. GUSA Outreach Committee Chair Richie Mullaney was one of the first senators to promote a referendum on course registration, citing that students must be represented in the decision process. On Jan. 24, the referendum was approved to be added to the GUSA Executive election ballot.

After the referendum’s ballot approval, the GUSA Intellectual Life Committee launched a 2-week informational campaign leading up to election day. Members of the committee created a Facebook event page called “Pre vs Live,” which encouraged students to state their preferred registration process by voting. In a final effort to raise awareness of the referendum and encourage participation, members of the GUSA Intellectual Life Committee hosted a pancake breakfast in Red Square on the morning of the election.

Members of the GUSA Intellectual Life Committee at the “Pre vs Live” pancake event, encouraging students to vote in the referendum. Courtesy of the Pre vs Live Facebook page.

“Georgetown students have this perception of live registration as if it is the Hunger Games. I understand why it is scary because you don’t have the security of pre-registration, but it is really not that bad,” Sam Granville, the GUSA Senator of Village A, said.

The results aside, the purpose of the registration referendum was to simply collect student input that the University could use in their software selection process. “We provided objective information to the student body so that they could decide what they wanted. One of the biggest criticisms of GUSA is that we advocate for issues without knowing what students want, so we had this referendum to understand how students felt,” GUSA Senator Richie Mullaney said in an interview with The Hoya. The University is not obligated to act in accordance with student opinion in their software selection process.

“Now with the overwhelming mandate for pre-registration, I expect GUSA to have a full-fledged campaign to keep pre-registration.”


Dorm Construction Inconveniences Students

VIDEO: Dorm Construction Inconveniences Students (courtesy of Claire Schansinger) 

Photo courtesy of The Hoya

The construction of Georgetown’s newest residence hall is still underway, and it is negatively impacting the lives of many students on campus. The Northeast Triangle Residence Hall, tucked in between Henle Village and the Reiss Science and Math Building, is the product of Georgetown University’s 2010 Campus Plan, which increased the number of years students must live on-campus from two years to three.

Photo courtesy of The Hoya: 4E

The Northeast Triangle will help give the University the necessary space to house the additional students, but its construction has proved to be a major inconvenience, especially for individuals living or taking classes in the northern part of campus.

The construction has blocked-off a major pathway that leads to Red Square and the Intercultural Center, where many students congregate for class or to socialize. By cutting off the pathway that normally weaves just behind Reiss and feeds into the entryway of Red Square, pedestrians now must navigate through a maze of chain-link fencing alongside the Leavey Center, which adds at least five minutes to the original route from the north-side of campus.

“It’s so annoying. I have so many classes in the [Intercultural Center] and it just takes forever to get there. And then anytime I want to go to M Street, I have to walk all the way around instead of walking down the stairs and right through the pathway,” said Maggie Chauette, a current student.

Earlier this semester, the construction caused a malfunction in the heat exchanger that supplies hot water to Henle Village, resulting in a hot water shortage. The University advised students to shower at “off-peak times.”

“I didn’t take a hot shower for two whole weeks,” said Harshita Gaba, a resident of Henle Village.

Considering the grievances at hand, the conclusion of the construction process, scheduled for this summer, will perhaps bring just as much joy to campus as the new residence hall itself.

Super Bowl 50 Halftime Performance: Coldplay’s Stage, But Beyonce’s Show

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Although it was technically Coldplay’s stage at the Pepsi Super Bowl 50 Halftime Show, it was Beyonce who shined the brightest. Just yesterday, the unofficial queen of hip-hop released a surprise music video for her never-before-heard song Formation, which has sparked a craze on social media for the past day as a full-length album is expected to be released in the coming months.

Beyonce performed the new song, featuring the original female-only dance number from the music video, and proved once again that she, to quote her own lyrics, “slays.” As if the hype of her new song alone wasn’t enough, the halftime show concluded with an announcement for her upcoming Formation World Tour, whose tickets go on sale Feb. 16.

The rest of the show, which also featured Bruno Mars, was entertaining but not very memorable. Coldplay’s frontman Chris Martin tried too hard to put on a good show, leaving an impression that the performance was very forced, and the singer’s acoustics also sounded a bit weak. The band performed their popular songs Viva La Vida, Paradise, and Clocks.

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Bruno Mars came on stage with his own dance crew, dressed in nothing but black leather and gold chains. Mars sang his hit song Uptown Funk, and after Beyonce graced the field and gave her solo performance, the two dueled it out in a sing-off, which Chris Martin awkwardly tried to get in on towards the end.

The intense flower and rainbow themes of Coldplay’s stage seemed slightly random, especially in contrast to Beyonce and Mars’ all-black ensembles. The inclusion of a student marching band, as well as the colored placards held by the audience in the stands that spelled out “Believe In Love,” felt out of place.

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Considering Beyonce’s string of major releases and recent announcements, a solo performance would have generated just as much excitement, if not more. The lackluster of tonight’s three-artist mashup proved that perhaps a halftime show is best as a one-man, or in the case of Beyonce, a one-woman show.


*Disclaimer: All photos were taken with the screenshot laptop feature.*