In a close vote, members of Georgetown’s Student Activities Commission approved funding for what may be an unprecedented of event at Georgetown University, if it takes place—a University-funded panel of three speakers, all pro-choice, holding a discussion of men’s roles in the pro-choice movement.
The event, which is being organized for the controversial “Plan A Hoyas” campaign, is the first event organized by “Plan A” that SAC has funded. It was subject to much debate about whether it violated the University’s mission and speech and expression policy before SAC approved it. Challenged on whether the event went against Georgetown’s mission, a representative of UF said that it did not, according to SAC meeting minutes.
“Our constitutional mission statement is to promote equality for women, and since women are the sole bearers of children, it is within our mission to advance the equality for health services for women,” she said. “Our mission is to promote dialogue about these issues, not limit ourselves to one point of view.”
During the discussion period of the meeting following the presentation, SAC Faculty Adviser Bill McCoy doubted that the event would encourage debate, since its panel was one-sided. Commissioner Scott Stirrett (SFS ’13) countered that the Cardinal O’Connor Conference on Life could be construed as similarly one-sided. Ultimately, the locus of their discussion became whether or not the panel constituted advocacy or dialogue, and whether it was in violation of the University’s policies or not.
“This is a forum for dialogue. By attending the event, you’re not stripped of your Catholic identity,” Junior Senyo Abotsi said.
Sophomore Andy Koenig disagreed.
“The event isn’t the roles men can take, but it will speak to why men should be pro-choice, which is activism,” he said, adding to doubts he had expressed earlier in the discussion: “Despite my personal allegiances to this cause, I don’t see how the University will allow this to go forward.”
Ruiyong Chen responded that she was optimistic that the event could “foster a dialogue” that doesn’t currently exist on campus.
SAC voted 4 to 4, with two commissioners abstaining, to give United Feminists $175 to bring three male speakers from the pro-choice movement to speak at Georgetown after a motion to table the request indefinitely narrowly failed. SAC Chair Ethel Amponsah (NHS ’11) broke the tie in favor of funding UF, which is cosponsoring the event with H*yas for Choice, the other main group that comprises “Plan A Hoyas.”
Stirrett suggested that UF request Department of Public Safety presence for the event due to its controversial nature.
“It’s not all that surprising to us that SAC approved it,” Marion Cory (COL ’10), a board member of United Feminists who is involved in the “Plan A Hoyas” campaign, said. “[The event will be] essentially an exchange of ideas.”
Voice News will have more on “Plan A Hoyas” in tomorrow’s issue.