Slur written on the door of the LGBTQ Center

A campus-wide e-mail was just sent out regarding the recent bias-related assaults and announced that today there was another anti-gay hate crime: a slur was written on the door of the LGBTQ Center.

According to the e-mail:

As a Catholic and Jesuit university, we are committed to fostering a community that is welcoming to all and values understanding, tolerance, inclusion and respect.  Over the past week, we have seen several incidents take place on or near campus that are especially troubling because they have targeted members of our community with homophobic language and disrespect. Two incidents were off campus assaults and today a written slur was posted on the door of the LGBTQ Resource Center. These acts are unacceptable. We take these incidents and the safety of our campus community very seriously and are taking steps to address the needs of our students at this time.

The e-mail, sent from Vice President of Student Affairs Todd Olson, Vice President for Institutional Diversity and Equity Rosemary Kilkenny and Vice President for Mission and Ministry Philip L. Boroughs, strongly condemns the attacks and says that the University has been working with the Metropolitan Police Department on the cases.

Full e-mail after the jump…

November 2, 2009

Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff,

As a Catholic and Jesuit university, we are committed to fostering a community that is welcoming to all and values understanding, tolerance, inclusion and respect. Over the past week, we have seen several incidents take place on or near campus that are especially troubling because they have targeted members of our community with homophobic language and disrespect. Two incidents were off campus assaults and today a written slur was posted on the door of the LGBTQ Resource Center. These acts are unacceptable. We take these incidents and the safety of our campus community very seriously and are taking steps to address the needs of our students at this time.

The Department of Public Safety (DPS) has reported these recent incidents to the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD), and is working cooperatively in the ongoing investigations. We expect to meet in the coming days with representatives from MPD’s Lesbian, Gay Liaison Unit to determine if any additional steps may be warranted. DPS has notified members of the campus community of these incidents and increased patrols of campus and nearby neighborhoods. We are also providing support and resources to members of our community.

We do not know whether the person or persons responsible for these incidents are members of the campus community. If a member of the campus community is found to be responsible for these acts, the matter will be treated very seriously, including as a violation of the student code of conduct. We ask that everyone remain vigilant and report any suspicious activity to DPS at 202-687-4343 or through the anonymous tip form <https://www4.georgetown.edu/uis/keybridge/keyform/form.cfm?formID=1581>. We also encourage anyone to report information about these or any other incidents through the Bias Reporting System <https://www4.georgetown.edu/uis/keybridge/keyform/form.cfm?formID=2323> if appropriate.

Representatives from Student Affairs, the Office of Institutional Diversity, Equity & Affirmative Action, Campus Ministry and others are meeting with students to understand their concerns and provide support to individuals in need. Through our care for one another we can become a stronger community in which discourse and reconciliation displace violence and anger. We appreciate your cooperation in our ongoing efforts to work together to build a campus community of trust and respect.

Sincerely,

Todd A. Olson, Ph.D.
Vice President for Student Affairs

Rosemary Kilkenny,
Vice President for Institutional Diversity and Equity

Philip L. Boroughs, S.J.
Vice President for Mission and Ministry

23 Comments on “Slur written on the door of the LGBTQ Center

  1.  by  Jason

    Jesus Christ. I’m at the point where I’m actually kind of embarrassed to have gone to this school. If any gay, transgendered, or non-asshole prospective students decide not to come here on account of this crap, I can’t say I really blame them.

  2.  by  Onely

    Agree. I love Georgetown, but this is devastating.

  3.  by  Matt

    Something has gone wrong with the admittance procedure at Georgetown. Or perhaps something was wrong to begin with.

  4.  by  Marc

    Re Matt
    If there were a way to screen out applicants that would do such a thing. However, where in the application process can this be done? What questions can the application process ask that would ethically screen out those full of hate without screening out every stereotypical straight, christian, suburban white male who professes to never have come into contact with a minority through no fault of his own. It sucks, but how do you avoid the presence of people that hate on campus?

  5.  by  Blair

    Hopefully all Georgetown students would experience personal and spiritual growth at Georgetown regardless of what is believed before one is admitted to this school. Georgetown should be a place where prior prejudices are broken down, rather than reinforced. I agree with Marc, I don’t know how you can prevent prejudiced people from entering the school, but at least you can broaden their horizons while here. Unfortunately, that doesn’t seem to be happening to some students. I still believe that Georgetown does in fact help students grow- but there are students that refuse to do so as well.

  6.  by  ...

    Yeah, this is all extremely sad and disturbing, but Marc is right: it’s unreasonable to think that you can tell if someone’s a homophobe based on their application. There will always be hatred among us, no matter what. We can do a lot to limit this sort of thing, but we can’t eliminate it completely. On the bright side, though, I think the vigil tomorrow night is a positive reaction. It sends the message that changing the culture of acceptance among Georgetown’s students is something that has to be done – in large part – by the students themselves.

    At the administrative level, options are limited, especially now they’ve taken care of the most obvious oversights (esp. the lack of a resource center). I just hope that the people responsible for these things are identified and expelled.

  7.  by  Jason

    I agree that much of the work of changing Georgetown’s culture has to come (and already is coming) from the student body itself. But I’ll add that, along with statements from the administration, it would be nice if somebody from the Jesuit community felt compelled to say something in public. I don’t want this sort of bigoted intolerance looking like it has the unspoken endorsement of the religious community, and I don’t think they do either.

  8.  by  Steve Thompson

    Fr Boroughs signed the email to the entire community. He represents the Jesuit Community. He and members of the Jesuit Community, including Frs Steck, Godfrey, O’Brien, and Rogers, have all been great supporters of LGBTQ in the past couple of years, despite any outside pressure they may experience for being so. Despite the past history of Georgetown University not being as supportive or open as some may have liked, the administration, faculty, and staff here are, for the most part, great. This issue is almost entirely one about some students having a problem with LGBTQ.

  9.  by  Jason

    I missed Fr Boroughs’ name on the letter, but of course you’re right: the Jesuit Community has, by and large, been absolutely outspoken and supportive on LGBTQ issues at Georgetown. And I don’t blame them, or the administration, for this latest outbreak of bigoted activity. I just think that everyone, students and administrators alike, needs to take a much more active hand in changing campus culture after what’s happened this week.

  10.  by  Jason

    Gone wrong with the admittance policies at Georgetown?

    You do realize that everyone outside Gtown views just about the whole student body as spoiled, rich, douchebag frat assholes and sorority bitches, right? There’s a reason that people from the rest of DC avoid going out in Gtown if they can at all avoid it, particularly on weekend nights when all the douchebags go out and get wasted. This is hardly the first incident of this type involving Gtown students – this has been going on for years.

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  13.  by  Neighbor

    Did the police arrest a student? I get that the slur was likely written on the door by someone on campus but how can we know that the assaults were perpetrated by a student? It may be likely given where the crimes occurred but I have not seen definitive proof. I would say that canal road is not only traveled by students and that the assault on 36th and N happened on a night with a large number of people traveling into the city to celebrate Halloween – including students from other school attending on and off campus parties with Georgetown students. I will admit that I have not followed every detail of these crimes nor do I have access to campus sentiment so please let us know if a student is being investigated or has been arrested?

  14.  by  Valerie

    Is it wrong that I find this very sudden rise in anti-gay activity to be a little bit suspicious?

  15.  by  Neighbor

    Not at all….It sounds like student groups and the university are rallying to bring attention to something that should never happen. It is good to reflect when these types of things happen and to come together as a community to demonstrate that these types of actions are wrong and will not be tolerated. The only thing I do not understand is the view that it must have been a student (when it might not have been) and that it must be a result of the types of people the school is admitting. Suspicious is fine but pointing fingers and dividing the community when clearly the community needs to come together to address these issues is an interesting approach.

  16.  by  UNembarrassed Hoya

    I agree with Neighbor. Even though it’s easy to automatically assume that a student was involved in any (or all) of the hate crimes, such a conclusion is based solely on speculation and probably does more to harm the atmosphere on campus than benefit it.

    Frankly, I find all this talk about the Georgetown admittance process failing to weed out homophobes (and accepting “assholes,” classy Jason) seriously misplaced. If anything, these hate crimes have reflected positively on the campus community, as both the student population and administration have universally condemned the acts.

  17.  by  Will Sommer

    Hey, Neighbor. No one has been apprehended for committing the hate crimes, to the best of our knowledge. Additionally, last night an MPD lieutenant said the cases weren’t being investigated by the police because the victims won’t talk to police.

    I’m trying to confirm that with DC’s Gay and Lesbian Liaison unit, so if anything develops with that we’ll put it up here.

  18.  by  Roger

    Will, just one word of caution. The MPD is not exactly known for being as truthful and as strong allies as they make themselves out to be. The MPD didn’t get involved in a similar case where a friend was targeted, even though we had clear (e.g., videorecording) evidence of the case for several days. Then, all of a sudden after we went to the press, the GLLU suddenly called us. Remember that we might be dealing with an assailant who is very well connected and capable of strong arming the system.. and I’m not drawing any parallels with previous incidents at GU here.

    Some people claiming to represent victims’ friends said they actually are trying to talk… is there any way to get through to these victims and see if they can comment (even anonymously) on what’s up?

  19.  by  Meghan

    Has anyone considered the possibility that the slur was written by someone from the LGBTQ community as a way to bring more attention and publicity to the issue? It’s a possibility that deserves consideration.

  20.  by  Tim

    My biggest problem is not who the school admits. There are jerks everywhere, and you can’t tell from an application. And I don’t care whether it’s a student committing these acts or not. My problem is that the University has done NOTHING to increase campus security in years. Things have gotten worse and worse, and closer and closer to campus. And I’ve seen nothing changed to address any of it, whether it be the “Cuddler,” the McCarthy thefts, the slurs painted, the defacing of the Mary statue, the anti-gay beatings, etc., etc., etc.

  21.  by  Dave

    Has anyone considered the possibility that these crimes were perpetrated by someone OUTSIDE the Georgetown community. Remember 2007. A great guy from Georgetown was crucified by his classmates before trial or fair hearing. In the end he was completely exonerated before trial. Let’s be careful and not jump to conclusions. Homophobia is rampant and a problem in this city and this country and to a certain extent this campus. But let’s be careful before we use this as an opportunity to shift power away from the strawman “bro” elite towards other groups on campus.

  22.  by  Anon.

    Hey guys,

    In response to Roger’s comment, I’ve decided to post one of my own. I was the victim of the first in this series of hate crimes (the attack on Canal Road), and I want to make it clear that I DO NOT think that my assailants were Georgetown students. As I told DoPS, the two men appeared to be in their mid-to-late twenties and were apparently stumbling home from a bar on M Street. Because they fled the scene heading in the direction of MacArthur Blvd, I assume that they are residents of the Georgetown/Palisades area. While the Canal Rd sidewalk is usually pretty heavily populated with runners, bikers, students, and others walking at night, I did not see anyone else around at the time of the incident (around 9 pm), so I have no idea whether or not there were any witnesses.

    I have given MPD all of the information I have about what happened. An officer personally came to the door of my apartment and wrote down my account of the incident. I am furious that the police have said that the victims “aren’t talking,” because it really took a lot for me to recount the details again and again to DoPS and the MPD officer. Is MPD looking for the criminals involved in this attack? I have no idea. Are they trying to find people who were driving by the scene of the crime? There were definitely cars passing us as the guys shoved me to the ground. I think MPD should STOP blaming the victims and START doing their jobs. Period.

  23.  by  Roger

    Thank you for speaking up! I admire your courage. While the incident involving me and a friend was different, I know that even having to recount the story is often painful and just plain exhausting. I still can’t get out of my head the image of the assailant attacking my friend.

    I also want to second her point that MPD is often more interested in covering their a–es than serving justice. As I said before, even in a case where we had incontrovertible proof, and where we actually managed to detain the attacker on-scene while waiting for MPD, it was still like pulling teeth to get them to do anything.

    I challenge MPD to tell the truth and bring real justice to these crimes. Instead of handing out criminal records for “noise,” let’s try throwing some violent individuals in jail?

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