UPDATE: Pride co-President Scott Chessare (COL ’10) has sent out a letter to administrators and media outlets; it is posted below the jump.
The two co-Presidents of GU Pride, along with Bill McCoy, the part-time coordinator of LGBTQ resources on campus, are in Chicago at DePaul University tonight, attending a conference on LGBTQ issues on Catholic campuses. I just received an e-mail from Olivia Chitayat (COL ‘10), one of the co-Presidents. Though obviously dismayed by the incident, she’s happy that the University got the news out faster this time (“Five days is better than three weeks”); interestingly, she says McCoy hadn’t heard about the incident yet. You’d think the University would want to tell him. More from Chitayat:
The University can’t just say that we do not tolerate homophobia on this campus and expect the culture to change. … These incidents are going to keep occurring, they already occur every day, [until] we step in and start talking about the issue, start providing safe spaces for members of the community, start listening to the needs of people that live and breathe on this campus and MAKE A CHANGE. We have to keep talking and keep pushing people out of their boundaries until everyone realizes that homophobia will not and cannot be tolerated, until everyone understands why treating a member of the community in such a disrespectful, hateful, and violent manner is unacceptable.
We’ll be reporting as much as we can on this issue tomorrow, so keep an eye on the blog.
- Tim Fernholz, Editor in Chief
Dear LGBTQ and Ally Hoyas,
Once more, I find myself struggling to find words to express my
emotions. Currently, I am at a conference at DePaul University in
Chicago on LGBTQ issues on catholic campuses with Olivia and Bill.
We had looked forward to a great weekend discussing these important
issues here and were hoping to bring back what we learned to the
Hilltop to try to make Georgetown a better place for LGBTQ and ally
students, as well as the entire University community.
Tonight, however, we returned to our hotel and checked our e-mails,
like many of you, to learn to our arrant disgust, that hate, in the
form of homophobia, has once again violently struck our campus. I
say we, because, like the rest of us, Bill McCoy, who is Coordinator
of LGBTQ Community Resources, had to wait nearly five days in the
dark and in complete silence to find out that another hate crime had
The administration’s delay, even if five days, is inexcusable. Its
failure to notify Bill is an utter disgrace. After all our meetings
with administrators, our rally, our two marches to the President’s
office, and all the media attention, we would have thought that the
University would have learned by now how to better handle hate and
bias incidents. That’s what we were told by Dr. Olson and President
DeGioia. They learned their lessons. They were making changes.
What happened September 9 would not and could not happen again we
were told, because they were going to sort out the issues.
They didn’t. We all know that within 24 hours of attacks, robberies
or mere sightings of “suspicious persons,” whether on or off campus,
that DPS sends out a campus-wide safety alert. Why did it take them
five days, then, to send out this e-mail? In those five days, the
two suspects have still been at large, putting other Georgetown
students in danger. In those five days, LGBTQ students were not able
to make fully-informed decisions about their own safety. In those
five days, the LGBTQ and allied community has experienced further
marginalization from silence. If it was not already, the
administration should be ashamed of itself.
Georgetown must come together–students, staff, and faculty alike–
NOW to stop the hate. Homophobia is, and has been for years, a
terrible issue lurking under the surface and in the shadows of our
campus. Students are getting hurt–hurt by assault, hurt by verbal
abuse, and hurt by the silence of the University administration. To
begin solving these problems, we need commitment now to an LGBTQ
Resource Center and more staff, faculty and student educational
programs, trainings and resources for the University community, and
we need that commitment now.
How many more attacks will it take until the administration acts? In
the words of Prof. Mark Lance, “don’t just sit there, damnit!” I am
incensed, and I hope you are too.
Public Safety Announcement: http://publicsafety.georgetown.edu/
University President, Dr. John J. DeGioia
VP for Student Affairs, Dr. Todd Olson
Provost, Dr. James J. O’Donnell
The Washington Blade