Members of Plan A Hoyas will meet with University officials on Tuesday to discuss the school’s sexual health policies following their high-profile GAAP weekend protests on Friday and Saturday, WTOP is reporting. Marion Cory (COL ’10), a Plan A Hoyas leader and a board member of United Feminists confirmed that they will talk with University officials, but did not specify who they would meet.
Vox has not yet obtained the letter that the University sent to Plan A protesters on Saturday afternoon, but the letter was enough to convince members of Plan A and the students protesting in solidarity to end the rally in Healy Circle, where three protesters had chained themselves to the statue of John Carroll.
The Voice‘s Will Sommer has, however, obtained a letter that Vice President for Student Affair Todd Olson sent the protesters on Friday which explains why the University cannot recognize a group like H*yas for Choice, which advocates for, among other things, the sale of contraceptives on campus.
March 26, 2010
Dear Student Leaders of Plan A: Hoyas for Reproductive Justice President DeGioia has asked me to follow up with you in response to your letter of March 4, 2010. In this letter, as in your previous one, you raise once again questions about the intersections between the University’s Speech and Expression Policy and the Access to Benefits Policy.
It is important to distinguish between the two policies – the Speech and Expression Policy guides the expression of ideas and viewpoints for members of our student community, while the Access to Benefits Policy guides our relationship with student organizations. The Catholic and Jesuit identity of the University informs its policies and practices, including the organization and governance of student organizations.
The rest of the letter after the jump.
For this reason, the University has established the Access to Benefits Policy, which identifies the benefits granted to student organizations as well as the criteria that those organizations must meet in order to be granted these benefits. This policy strives to respect the multiple expectaions of our community, balancing an interest in exploration of ideas with respect for the Catholic and Jesuit traditions and mission of the University.
Student organizations are not eligible for access to benefits if they directly and substantially advocate positions inconsistent with Roman Catholic moral tradition. Therefore, H*yas for Choice, whose constitution states that “HFC is established for the purpose (of) advocating for reproductive choice on the Georgetown campus” (March 31, 2003), has been determined not to be open to access to benefits.
I will also note that, in keeping with the philosophy and purpose of our University and our Speech and Expression Policy, there are certain resources available to students who wish to advance the exchange of ideas. These resources, which are granted to individual students, include the ability to reserve a classroom for the purpose of discussing an idea or and issue, and the ability to use Red Square (or the Leavey Lobby in inclement weather) to express viewpoints publicly on an issue or topic.
On the issue of education, I want to note that the University, through Health Education Services and other offices and programs, works actively to share information and provide opportunities for learning about a wide array of health issues. In addition to interactions with professional staff and programs focused on health topics, the be.georgetown.edu website provides a wide range of information and resources for students.
On the issue of services for victims/survivors of sexual assault, we take this issue very seriously. I want to provide the information below to clarify our approach to supporting these students, and inform you of upcoming action steps. Students seeking medical care following a sexual assault should proceed to Washington Hospital Center by taxi. Costs of transportation will be fully covered by Health Education Services. If a student wishes to go to Washington Hospital Center by GERMS ambulance instead of by taxi, GERMS is authorized to confidentially transport students free of charge in an ambulance (non-lights and siren mode). If a student wishes to be accompanied by a friend, the friend can also be transported with the student. The Confidential Contact for reimbursement is Carol Day at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 202-687-8942. In terms of upcoming action steps, I also want to note that a group of university administrators is meeting in the coming weeks with staff from Georgetown University Hospital and the D.C. SANE Nurse Program to explore potential changes or improvements to this structure.
Thank you for your interest in exploring these issues. I want to restate the point that, as a Catholic and Jesuit university, our policies must reflect our identity and our values. I hope that this has provided helpful context and information. Please let me know if you have further questions.
Todd A. Olson, Ph.D.
Vice President for Student Affairs