Georgetown groups protest Hoya’s April Fool’s issue
About 40 students sat-in at The Hoya‘s office late Thursday night
Editor’s note: Okay, so we’ve covered The Hoya an awful lot lately, and you may be getting sick of it. However, we think would’ve been remiss not to cover these events.
Last night, at least 40 students who found themselves deeply offended by The Hoya’s April Fool’s issue staged a sit-in in The Hoya’s Leavey office. Several DPS officers monitored the scene. Hoya staff members did not have official comments about the sit-in, but two senior members of The Hoya said they did not have knowledge of any of their staff calling DPS and said the protest lasted from about 11:20 p.m. to midnight.
The sit-in followed an “emergency town hall” which over 100 students attended, including GUSA President Calen Angert (MSB `11) and VP Jason Kluger (MSB `11), a few faculty members, and at least one Jesuit. The event was publicized on Facebook under the group name “The Hoya: discrimination is not a laughing matter,” and the group currently has 271 members.
The individual comments from the town hall are confidential, but in general students said they were very offended by articles in The Hoya’s April Fool’s issue that they found racist, discriminatory, sexist, and dismissive of important campus issues. Many students expressed anger that The Hoya targeted individual students and said they felt The Hoya has a history of printing offensive content in its April Fool’s issues. Many also called for its Editor in Chief, Andrew Dwulet, to resign.
The Hoya responds, after the jump.
In The Hoya’s Friday issue, Dwulet issued an apology entitled “Foolish Decisions Deserve Reflection and Dialogue.” It reads, in part,
On Tuesday, THE HOYA published its annual April Fools’ humor issue. As usual, it was full of jokes that were crude, but in some cases, it crossed the line. The issue has spurned campus-wide opposition: in a Facebook group with over 200 members, in a town hall meeting, and in a sit-in at THE HOYA office late last night. Flawed as it may have been, we only intended parody. We only intended to indiscriminately “go overboard” and satirize all of the news that has happened this year.
However, intent does not change reality. To those whom this issue has offended and even to those it hasn’t, I deeply apologize. A campus newspaper should never be something that alienates part of the community.
An op-ed contribution from students Jheanelle Brown and Don Cartier, “Insenstivity Makes April Fools’ Issue a Bad Joke,” appeared in the same issue:
We are proud members of the black community at Georgetown. In the past, we appreciated The Hoya’s coverage of important issues ranging from campus security to the endowment. Even coverage of diversity-related issues has improved slowly since we matriculated. However, the March 31 joke issue of The Hoya was tasteless, disturbing and, above all, not funny.
It appears that The Hoya finds it much easier to target marginalized and minority groups as the butts of incredibly negative jokes, but has difficulty going as hard on itself and majority groups. There is no excuse for the stereotypes, discrimination and mockery that the distasteful humor was based on.
The Facebook groups contains scans of articles which its creators found particularly egregious. These include an article which parodies SCUnity leader Brian Kesten (COL `10) and the organization’s mission. The article, whose author-character is named Ryan Westen, read, in part, “We don’t have enough good old vanilla-chocolate swirl interracial fucking,” and concluded by suggesting that biracial children would “have a hell of an easier time getting into college.”
The students were undecided as to what sort of action they would take after the sit-in, but it was clear that they wanted to deviate from past years, in which they felt students did not take action in response to offensive events on campus after expressing their initial frustration. Members of The Hoya’s staff were discouraged from attending.
Photos by Helen Burton for the Voice.