Plan A Hoyas to meet with University officials on Tuesday

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 daycr@georgetown.edu 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.

Sincerely,

Todd A. Olson, Ph.D.

Vice President for Student Affairs

Georgetown University

30 Comments on “Plan A Hoyas to meet with University officials on Tuesday

  1.  by  Fiore

    But where is the punishment for the people who chained themselves to the statue, yelled at guests of the university and violated the school’s speech and expression policy. They did so knowing that they were in the wrong and now they should be punished for it. Just like real activists! Goody!
    This can’t be swept away, not when everyone wanted to hang The Hoya last year. How much more offensive can you be than blaring ignorance at high schoolers looking to come to Georgetown and threatening more action unless demands are met by some deadline. And being serious about it! At least The Hoya’s April fools issue was labeled as a joke, these people really were being an affront to the school, and meant it.

  2.  by  Doug

    That seems a pretty well-reasoned response.

    In any case, I wouldn’t be surprised if the reason they’re keeping the letter tightly locked up is that it contained some version of “get out now and we won’t arrest you.”

  3.  by  Patrick

    @Fiore

    I agree. Nearly all of the ‘progressive’ protests I’ve seen at Georgetown this year seem to have been enacted by one group of friends. The protests (I’m thinking specifically of this one and the one against General Petraeus) have been rude and disrespectful. They do not asking for dialog, they do not appear to want to work with anyone, they simply want for to make their demands and for those demands to be followed as orders of justice.

    I agree with Plan A for the most part. I’m a liberal with a strong desire to see change happen on campus. Behaving like children is not the way to do it, and bartering respect for immediate action is just short sited, counter productive, and rude.

  4.  by  alanis morissette

    These protestors are their own best evidence for why we (Georgetown, the world, your mom) need more sex education/birth control. Not so happy accidents.

    IRONIC.

    Ugh I hate my life.

  5.  by  gc83

    @Fiore – Fallout from Dean Reardon-Anderson’s letter to The Hoya, perhaps?

    If any disciplinary action is taken, it probably will not be public, nor should it be (which is fully in line with university policy). Just because their actions were public does not mean that we have a right to know if the university will be punishing them for breaking the rules. It’s not a funded organization (unlike The Hoya), and I don’t think that you can compare what you all did last year in the April Fools issue to this stuff. Different animals entirely.

  6.  by  JS

    gc83 has it exactly right. Not comparable situations.

  7.  by  Tim

    Any meeting they have with University officials should focus 100% on whether they get to remain students of the school. They should be offered 0 minutes and 0 seconds to discuss their issues. They should be faced with the threat of expulsion and then expelled if they ever so much as look at the John Carroll statue again.

  8.  by  @gc83

    How are they not comparable? Please explain.

  9.  by  James

    You really think they should face expulsion? Like many folks, I agree with the bulk of their demands and I have some issues with the abrasiveness of the tactics. But, if it’s OK to express yourself by sitting in John Carroll’s lap, then how is it inadmissable to temporarily “chain yourself” to it? No property was damaged, from what I can surmise.

    As to the content of the letter? For as much as some commenters may dislike the students’ actions, they really don’t know how this administration operates. Much like the rest of the Catholic Church (although I ascribe to the faith, I absolutely detest the odious practices of its hierarchy), secrecy is the order of the day. Controversies must not be allowed to surface. Plan A students clearly understand and know how to leverage this to further their objectives. My guess is that they really were causing enough of a scene to force admins into a meeting. What comes of it is anybody’s guess.. and will likely depend on the truth depth of their support at GU.

  10.  by  Oh Fiore

    Will you ever wash the stain of the April Fool’s Issue from your soul? Or are you cursed to wander the earth, forever marked by your accidental racism but secure in the knowledge that whoever offends you will be punished seventimes over?

  11.  by  Tim

    @ James,
    Yes, I think the THREAT of expulsion should be raised. I’m not saying expel them now, but I think that if they continue to badger tour groups, attempt to sneak into admissions information sessions, and engage in outlandish displays in inappropriate spaces (all of which they have already been warned for doing), then I think expulsion should be on the table. Georgetown needs the best students possible, and these clowns are hurting the University’s ability to attract those students. I am fine with their sharing their views in respectful, informative ways, but this childish BS needs to stop now or they need to stop attending GU.

  12.  by  gc83

    Purported racism is not the same as protesting the practices of the Catholic Church and Georgetown’s adherence to those practices and beliefs. What The HOYA did (and this is my opinion) demonstrated racial insensitivity regardless of the fact that some viewed it as a “joke.” Chaining oneself to university property and demonstrating is not the same thing, unless you had the Plan A folks making disrespectful remarks to those adhering to Catholicism (not just criticizing the Church itself).

    That’s my opinion on this. Do I think their tactics are perfect? Hell no. They are clearly turning people off but they are loving the attention. What needs to be addressed by the university is not necessarily the punishment, but – in general – how reform and change should be approached in free speech dialogue. Free speech is free speech, and the university would have more problems if it tried to fully silence these people. The problem is,this issue is so contentious for many and so long-running that I’m afraid more volatile protests are inevitable (particularly when you consider that the faculty plan includes coverage for what Plan A is asking for, so it’s not just purely a belief issue, if I’m not mistaken).

  13.  by  @Tim

    “They should be faced with the threat of expulsion and then expelled if they ever so much as look at the John Carroll statue again.”

    I’m pretty sure idol worship is against Roman Catholic tradition as well sir.

    There are so many people who go here who would clearly have a mental breakdown if they went somewhere like Berkeley, Wisconsin, or Brown where stuff like this happens every week.

  14.  by  Tim

    @ @Tim

    That’s why we chose to go to a school where students are expected to show some level of common sense and decorum. If these students wanted condoms on every corner and an abortion in every hospital, they could have gone to Berkeley, Wisconsin, or Brown.

  15.  by  Arria

    @@Tim – Well those people who would have a mental breakdown if they were at Berkeley etc are smart enough to not go to those institutions. Too bad these protesters aren’t as capable of picking institutions which would be better fits for them.

    @ alanis morissette – too funny.

    It’s funny that many of these protesters are fighting for abortion “rights” which is largely based on the right to privacy, yet they don’t respect that this is a PRIVATE university that can more or less do as it damn well pleases.

  16.  by  @Tim, Arria

    I think one of the larger issues you are both discussing, then, is: if you disagree with a part of something you are a part of, is the proper course of action: (a) accept it against your will, (b) do not accept it and leave the larger body you are a part of, or (c) do not accept it and actively attempt to achieve the change you want.

    I certainly think that the manner that Plan A has chosen to go about achieving this change has some issues. However, so many people boiling down this situation to “accept it or go somewhere else” are not in fact engaging the problem, but instead using a fallacy.

  17.  by  @Tim

    Expulsion? Seriously? For a non-violent protest which resulted in no defacement of Georgetown property?

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  18.  by  @Tim

    that did not work as I intended, the text became formatted.

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  19.  by  Really?

    So, I don’t think that Plan A’s tactics are effective in terms of gaining support, but I do think that they are effective at gaining attention (be it overwhelmingly negative). I don’t think that most students would be against some of the ideas supported by Plan A (HPV Vaccine, condoms). Most people I know are either pro-choice or apathetic on the matter, and I don’t think this is self-selection of the people with whom I surround myself. Plan A obviously wants attention from the administration more so than support from like-minded students. Think about it. DeGioia and Olson ignore or hold off on responding to their grievances, so what do they care about more? Alienating potential supporters while gaining attention, or remaining an unheard movement?

    I don’t think the demands are plausible because it is a Catholic university, but at the same time, I support the demands. It is, however, ridiculously stupid to expect people who are pro-choice or who do not support the Catholic Church to go to college elsewhere. If Catholicism was your main criterion for attending Georgetown, why didn’t you just attend a seminary or a cheaper Catholic institution? The draw of attending Georgetown is the excellent education. It angers me that birth control is not covered under insurance (and no, not because I’m a slutty hedonistic non-Catholic who does not agree with the Catholic Church) because it does cost me $600 a year.

    Also, condoms are available for free because H*yas for Choice provides them. They otherwise would not be available for free. I don’t know about you, but I don’t like walking to CVS and spending $12 a box on condoms. For me, part of the issue is that it does disproportionately affect those who Georgetown already has a problem attracting (low-income people, minorities, and even people who don’t fit the “Jane Hoya”/”Joe Hoya” stereotype).

    Why should someone be faced with expulsion because they protest and you happen to disagree with them? Those are your religious beliefs, but there are people unlike you. No damage was done. The protest was stupid and alienated people, but they got the attention they wanted so it probably did work out. On a side note, I did find it helpful that Todd Olson clarified that transportation to Washington Hospital Center could be reimbursed, or be carried out by GERMS.

  20.  by  @Really?

    Your mention of the HPV vaccine is misleading, whether intentionally or not. It was prohibitively expensive for the Student Health Center to stock the vaccine, not some policy change that resulted in their cessation of them keeping it on hand. This point has been made over and over in the past month.

    I don’t think that anyone is saying that everyone who is pro-choice or non-Catholic should go to a different school. What many of us are saying is that if someone has such strong objections to Church teaching that that person is going to throw a tantrum every few months over various points of disagreement, it would be better for everyone if that person would either not matriculate, or be a responsible young adult and put some thought into what one can expect from a Catholic institution before applying to or even considering attending Georgetown. This sense of indignation from the Plan A crowd would make one think the Catholic Church’s opposition to abortion and artificial birth control had just been announced last month.

    All of that being said, I agree with you that the fools who chained themselves to John Carroll should not be expelled. Suspension would be perfectly adequate.

  21.  by  Jacob

    The University should explain its policy to them. Period.

    If they chain themselves to something again, leave them there. It’s clear the only way these people will consider themselves part of this campus is if they become part of the architecture.

  22.  by  Really?

    I only mentioned it because it is a demand that I think most people agree with, not because it is related to Catholicism.

    People are indeed saying that those who are adamantly pro-choice or who agree with Plan A should go to a different school. I just think that Georgetown is selective with which points it finds most important to enforce. Also, most people don’t expect some rules to be enforced. The cohabitation policy, for example, is not enforced. I think it’s dishonest of Georgetown to push that it is not *that* Catholic and that it wouldn’t adversely affect your experience as a Georgetown student if you are not Catholic if, in reality it can.

  23.  by  @really

    “Also, condoms are available for free because H*yas for Choice provides them. They otherwise would not be available for free. I don’t know about you, but I don’t like walking to CVS and spending $12 a box on condoms. For me, part of the issue is that it does disproportionately affect those who Georgetown already has a problem attracting (low-income people, minorities, and even people who don’t fit the “Jane Hoya”/”Joe Hoya” stereotype).”

    I’m not sure your exact point here – are you saying that a university should provide condoms for free sanctioned by the university? I have troubles imagining most colleges, secular or not doing that. Yes, condoms are kinda expensive, but they’re expensive pretty much EVERYWHERE. I almost guarantee you the prohibitive cost of protected sex is not why Georgetown has problems attracting low-income people, minorities, and those who don’t fit the Jane Hoya/Joe Hoya stereotype. Low-income students and minority students struggle with the prohibitive cost of a Georgetown education, not the condoms you can buy at the local CVS.

  24.  by  @ Really?

    “I just think that Georgetown is selective with which points it finds most important to enforce. Also, most people don’t expect some rules to be enforced. The cohabitation policy, for example, is not enforced. I think it’s dishonest of Georgetown to push that it is not *that* Catholic and that it wouldn’t adversely affect your experience as a Georgetown student if you are not Catholic if, in reality it can.”

    Again, you’re comparing apples to oranges. You’re right: the cohabitation policy is not enforced; however, that is a policy that addresses student actions, not university actions, i.e., the university is not actively cohabiting with students. More simply: living up to Catholic cohabitation standards requires action, whereas living up to Catholic contraception standards requires the university to sit on its hands and not provide condoms. They are two very different things to “enforce.” Also, when was the last time you heard someone on behalf of the university say, “Oh, we’re not *that* Catholic”?

    Furthermore, if you would like to bring up “selectivity” and inconsistency, why don’t we take a look at the people who were at the protest on Saturday. Many (dare I say most?) of them participated quite actively in the protest against General Petraeus a few months ago, but the first line of their first letter to President DeGioia reads, “As a Catholic, Jesuit institution Georgetown University is committed to the principles of social justice and open dialogue.” If you yell, “this is a Jesuit university,” at a war protest, and, “this is a Jesuit university,” at a condom protest, too, how is anyone supposed to take you seriously? The point is that this is not a group with a single cause they’re willing to die for; rather, it has begun to appear to many, myself included, that they simply just like to protest. And while protesting is a very healthy form of activism, abusing it is just as empty as not believing in the power of protesting at all.

  25.  by  Julie

    The general feeling I get from a lot of pro-choice, rabidly feminist students is that while they may desire the same ends as Plan A, very few think highly of their tactics. The unfortunate fact is that the same core group of students find the need to protest weekly; it is really hard to take them seriously when their passion and anger is leveraged for offensive cause. I personally would love to see the reforms Plan A advocates put into place; I realize it’s incredibly unlikely, but I don’t think protesters shouldn’t bother because of it. I just find it annoying that the same people who NEVER SHUT UP in Saxbys also claim the role of advocacy for every pro-choice student on campus.

  26.  by  Kelly

    Yeah I’m not sure what the real issue with some of these students is. I’m sure some of them are really passionate about their reproductive goals, and are involved for that reason alone, but I have a feeling that some of them are just angry, woefully unhappy people with really deep-seated insecurities. Maybe some delusions. Particularly those career protesters who you see at every. single. protest. Feeling unsatisfied with the world and wanting to change it is a pretty universal emotion for people in their early twenties (vs. late twenties, when you realize the world is what it is and you start figuring out how to live in it). But it sounds like some of these students don’t have more constructive outlets for those emotions (and can we cut the bull here, this isn’t normal behavior… no really, it’s not). I wonder what they could accomplish if they focuses their energy on something less destructive/hopeless.

  27.  by  Professional psychologist

    I second the attempts to psychoanalyze these clearly deviant individuals and their actions. Indeed, they clearly show signs of a god complex. Further observation would of course be necessary but there are obvious signs: wild beliefs in what one can do, subordination of other opinions to one’s own, and a thirst for the limelight. I would recommend immediate sequestration to ensure their issues don’t spread to other impressionable students. Upon sequestration, rehabilitation can begin, to educate these wayward youths in the real way society functions and their utter unimportance to the entire system. Treatment methods can include having trained actors walk by the patient, completely ignoring him or her, or forcing factory workers to work 50 hours a week for five dollars per hour, despite shrieks to the contrary. Upon release back into the community, weekly sessions with sanctioned therapists should be mandated for at least one year, two if the therapist deems it prudent. Ultimately our actions are in the interest of the deviant, to assimilate them into society, and make them a functioning part of it, and to suppress dangerous counter-cultural ideas.

  28.  by  Plan A, the closest thing Georgetown has to a terrorist organization.

    embarrassingly shameless.

    They should have been removed and charged with disorderly conduct. I think many Georgetown students were mortified by this childish behavior.

    Grow up Plan A.

  29.  by  Nom

    whoa, someone’s brandishing the T-word now! but seeing as they don’t commit or condone violence, the hyperbole doesn’t really fit. the closest we come to the big T are probably the gay bashers.. that’s more or less politically-motivated violence, which is the general definition of that word. i’m sure the NSA is reading this blog post now, thanks.

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