It took fifteen months to compile, during which time it suffered royal controversy and headline wordplay, but the tome-of-a SCUnity report is finally here. Flanked by his SCUnity commission and his co-investigator Brian Cook (COL `10), project mastermind Brian Kesten (COL `10) presented the commission’s finding yesterday in Gaston Hall.
A full cover story by our own Kate Mays will appear in the Georgetown Voice tomorrow about SCUnity’s findings about discrimination and segregation at Georgetown, but to hold you over, here are some of the most interesting facts the commission found:
- NHS students (16% aware), MSB students (23%), and freshman (24%) are highly unaware of Georgetown’s bias reporting system
- Almost 80% of student have witnessed student discrimination at Georgetown and almost half have ignored it
- Students’ educational (implied, socioeconomic) backgrounds were not necessarily indicators for experience of prejudice or self segregation. Student experience was more likely to vary based on socioeconomic background, but educational background did not prove an effective lens through which to studying socioeconomic background.*
- Students who identify as LGBTQ are highly likely (82%) to feel self-segregated or the target of discrimination (54%)
- “Black students and white students stnad as polar opposites” when it comes to their experience of discrimination, racism, and alienation at Georgetown, with black students reporting having experienced each in far greater numbers than white students
- “Catholic students across nearly all questions exhibited the lowest percentage of discomfort and discrimination”
The presentation, which a five-piece local-highschooler jazz band opened with swinging aplomb, also included the SCUnity commission’s documentary. Georgetown students and faculty who talked about their experiences with discrimination and segregation faded on and off screen, including Kesten’s old running mate Kyle Williams (SFS `09).
Williams pointedly asked, “How do you do diversity?”
SCU’s Vice Chairman Brian Cook followed the documentary as the emotional high point of the presentation. Cook recalled experiencing stereotyping on his first move-in day at Georgetown.
“What team d’you play for, son?” his neighbor’s father asked him when he went to introduce himself. At the time, Cook said, he was, “Five foot ten, a bit chubby, and currently pre-med. There was no reason to ask me why I was an athlete except of course for the all-too-salient fact that I was black.”
Kesten’s remarks followed the report presentation, and I drank the koolaid at that point. His emotional committment to the project, his love-of-Georgetown motivation, and his earnestness in remedying what he sees as a disconcerting situation were all poignantly clear.
This fall, Kesten grew irate when some members of GUSA tried to deprive him of SCUnity leadership on the grounds that he was not an elected Senator. The Voice took their side. However, the breadth of the SCUnity report makes it clear just how much effort Kesten and his commission have put into this project. They’re the rightful glory-getters and he’s the rightful posterboy.
*Corrected Wednesday, January 27 at 1:12 p.m.