Women’s Club Volleyball apologizes for incident in Dahlgren Quad

In a letter sent to Vox, the Georgetown Women’s Club Volleyball team accepted responsibility for the condoms and trash left on the steps of Dahlgren Quad late Tuesday night. The incident was condemned by the student leaders and Jesuits as an extremely disrespectful act in what is a sacred space at Georgetown. The club sent a formal apology within 24 hours after being implicated in the incident.

Letter attached below:

I am writing this letter on behalf of a student group that would like to both make an apology, and provide an explanation for what transpired last night in the Dahlgren Quad. The first and most important fact to clarify is that what happened was not in any way, shape, or form an act of malicious vandalism, nor an act that was politically or religiously motivated.  We have an enormous respect for our Jesuit identity and the diversity of opinions and faiths on our campus. Our student group was participating in a time-honored tradition that many student groups on campus share: a scavenger hunt that incorporates a variety of tasks at a series of campus landmarks, the Fountain in Dahlgren Quadrangle being one of them.

Due to the confluence of unfortunate events—including our proximity to the Chapel, the recent attention Georgetown has drawn through Sandra Fluke and the contraception debate, and a significant lack of foresight and planning on our part—what has now occurred is that the remnants of what was an innocent activity, albeit immature and short-sighted, has been wrongfully misinterpreted as an act of intentional vandalism and disrespect.  The event was conducted in the spirit of celebration of our seniors’ contribution to our organization over the past four years.

As soon as it emerged that the remains from our scavenger hunt had had such unintended ramifications, my fellow teammates and I worked hard to immediately rectify the situation by reaching out to DPS and the administration.  As a senior and representative of my team, I gave a heartfelt apology to Father Kevin O’Brien, and we would like to extend that same apology to the DPS officer and to the student volunteers who were so kind as to clean up after us.  Likewise, we apologize for any negative association our actions may have brought to the Center for Student Programs.  We cannot convey how truly sorry we are that our actions have disappointed and offended members of our community, a Georgetown community that we are so proud to be a part of.  We hope that this letter has been a meaningful step in rectifying the damage that may have been caused.


The Upperclassmen of the GU Women’s Club Volleyball Team

29 Comments on “Women’s Club Volleyball apologizes for incident in Dahlgren Quad

  1. So the event was not politically motivated? But it was due to “the recent attention Georgetown has drawn through Sandra Fluke and the contraception debate”

    Just because you were drunk doesn’t mean it wasn’t intentional

  2. They should not be allowed to represent GU in any form

  3. Read it again. She didn’t say that the ‘event’ happened because of the recent political stuff. She said that it was MISINTERPRETED because of that stuff.

    “Due to the confluence of unfortunate events—including our proximity to the Chapel, the recent attention Georgetown has drawn through Sandra Fluke and the contraception debate, and a significant lack of foresight and planning on our part—what has now occurred is that the remnants of what was an innocent activity, albeit immature and short-sighted, has been wrongfully misinterpreted as an act of intentional vandalism and disrespect.”

    This whole thing reminds me of the ‘noose’ incident last year. People just freak out and jump to conclusions that then turn out to be completely baseless.

  4. I think it was admirable of them to take responsibility for their actions, and I think they deserve the forgiveness of the Georgetown community. Just because they made a series of poor choices doesn’t diminish their status as members of our community.

  5. Spotted: A rational Vox commenter. Take screenshots now; you’re not likely to witness anything like this again.
    I agree with apology accepted. Since we’ve brought in Jesuit teachings at every turn of this story, let us not forget the necessity of forgiveness that goes hand-in-hand with Catholic philosophy.

    But a word of caution: repentance is only true if it comes from the heart, etc, etc. Let’s not see this happen again.

  6. Politically motivated and intentional are two different things. The point the authors of the letter are making is that the motivations behind the scavenger hunt were unrelated to the recent controversy over contraception coverage at Georgetown but are being read through that lens given the current climate on campus.

    As to cutting funding, I don’t believe such drastic measures are appropriate. The volleyball upperclassmen were not operating as team. I am sure they did not receive funding from the university for this event. Members of the team were acting, but not the whole team itself. Given that the event was dominated by upperclassmen, several of whom are graduating, it would being unjust to prevent everyone from playing by cutting funding because of the actions of a few. As an underclassmen on the rugby team, I would be devastated if funding for the team was cut due to the actions of its individual members. Cutting funding would further exact punishment on any incoming freshman who had an interest in the team.

  7. I agree with the last few comments and admire the team’s choice to come forward and assume responsibility. Although the whole event was blown out of proportion with the accusations of a religious motivation, I think this letter is a step in the right direction. Now that rumors can be put to rest about what transpired, hopefully all will be forgiven and everyone can move on. I think we can all learn from this incident that it is extremely important to get the facts straight before passing judgement or making serious accusations.

  8. @@Another student, I stand corrected. That being said, it’s still completely their fault for drawing those parallels. They should have considered it. It’s not other people’s fault for “misconstruing” pretty clear symbolism. The conclusions aren’t baseless.

  9. i’m still waiting to hear what happened to the banana. It didn’t even look ripe yet. Just like a catholic school to cover up abuse of underage fruit.

  10. let’s not forget what the voice had to learn the hard way… the actions of a few have consequences for the entire group. i wouldn’t be surprised if the club was punished. this is a violation of the code of conduct by drinking in a public area.

  11. stop commenting on this thread. I’d think you have better things to do than contribute to petty squabbles during study days/finals week.

  12. The fact is that these individuals still took shots of alcohol on at a religious site at Georgetown and didn’t consider the effect that their actions could have on some members of the community

    “Our student group was participating in a time-honored tradition that many student groups on campus share”… I’m a member of a bunch of student groups on campus and searching for condoms in bushes in Dahlgren Quad, taking shots of cheap booze at a church, and abusing bananas isn’t one of our traditions.


  13. Also, no one has “wrongfully misinterpreted [it] as an act of intentional vandalism and disrespect.”

    Everyone is just in awe that you can be so oblivious to the sacred space that you didn’t think twice about holding the event there

  14. I appreciate the thought put into this letter and think it shows maturity. Sure, it was a bad choice of location for the event, but so many clubs/groups do initiation-type activities that I hardly think that lack of foresight for the ways it could be misinterpreted is grounds for punishing the team. I believe this apology is sincere and agree that Georgetown as a community needs to forgive and support our own- everybody makes mistakes and that’s how we learn. So, lesson learned and let’s move on.

    Also, as for “ridiculous” – the club WAS accused at first of malicious actions and even hate crimes, so let’s not speculate about that if you do not know your facts. The club took responsibility in this letter, end of story.

  15. Apology accepted, Christ forgives you.

    Don’t touch their funding. They weren’t using SAF dollars to finance the activity.

  16. How do you know that? A lot of clubs use their funds to fund things they shouldn’t.

  17. The team definitely deserves some sort of punishment. What if some student group participating in the same “time-honored tradition” (which is a complete BS phrase) at the steps of the basilica of the national shrine at CUA? Hendricks Chapel at Syracuse? Another university’s synagogue? Mosque? ANY religious building? I guarantee you most of these girls are religious or claim to be. I hope not Christian because it is common sense not to trash your OWN religious worship space. How would these girls feel if they walked to their church/chapel/synagogue/mosque/other place of worship at home with their parents/family/friends to see cups and bottles of alcohol, condoms scattered and wrapped around bananas?????? I’m sure some would be furious, others embarrassed, and most wondering “Why?” just like our student and alumni body is wondering now. Its like these girls never grew up. It is disrespectful and obvious that alcohol should not be consumed anywhere near these areas, let alone birth control be scattered around it. They need discipline for their actions.

    Regardless of the area, drinking underage and in public spaces on campus is illegal. They need to be punished. If they had been caught drinking (by drinking, I mean leaving clear evidence that alcohol was consumed — such as open bottles, used cups) on Copley lawn, they would have been punished. Just because they apologized for the disrespectful aspect doesn’t mean that they haven’t broken the rules. Let’s not cover up standard disciplinary procedure with “Jesuit forgiveness.”

    In addition, where is the freshman apology letter? I don’t care if the upperclassmen planned it. Although they should assume most of the responsibility, the freshman obviously drank as well and participated (seeing as it was an initiation and the text from the screenshot is from a freshman girl).

    Also, these girls seemed pretty proud when this action was publicized on Facebook, with ten likes on the iPhone screenshot and a comment where one of the two girls whose idea it was exclaimed it was a “brulliant idea!” (brilliant). I do not believe this apology is heartfelt. If they hadn’t been caught, they never would have apologized or felt any sort of guilt, and they would have continued to brag.

    Its definitely ridiculous and I am ashamed as a Georgetown student to be associated with these kind of people on campus.

  18. You are ashamed to be associated with “these kind of people.?” I am the squarest of “squares”, and I give two big thumbs down to doing stupid drunk inconsiderate stuff. but to say you are “ashamed as a Georgetown student to be associated with these kind of people”… I don’t want to slam you for that. But IMO, that war of thinking deserves almost equally emphatic downward pointing thumbs.

    In sum, boo them for being stupid, like big boo, hooray for coming forward. Boo self righteousness.

    you will notice, I have found a way to feel superior to everyone, even those who feel superior. Thats what really matters here. BOOM. great victory, high five self.

  19. They acted foolishly Your Grace. Perhaps you ought to employ them as fools.

  20. “We have an enormous respect for our Jesuit identity…”

    No you don’t.

  21. This is so blown out of proportion. They were just goofing off. People are way too touchy about religion. Believe what you want and calm down.

  22. Wait til you see what the Varsity Women’s Volleyball is going to do!

  23. I agree that this is blown out of proportion on religious grounds. HOWEVER–it is still very very disrespectful that a campus group put condoms on bananas and left them on a campus location. I don’t mind too much if it’s the Chapel or the Library–the latter would’ve been equally shocking–it’s the mere fact that a group of students really bothered doing something as meaningless and stupid as this was.

  24. Also… they didn’t venture to put their names on the letter. Remaining anonymous isn’t really apologizing.

    Still, what is this “blown out of proportion because of religion” crap? You can’t just make clear symbolism, then say that’s not what you meant and blame other people for jumping to conclusions.

  25. I’ll add my voice to the chorus of those supporting “apology accepted” and “GFK.” To refuse someone forgiveness who recognizes the damage they’ve done, takes responsibility, and offers a sincere apology does more damage to Jesuit values than inappropriately placed condoms ever could.

    (Also @another student: it’s not like “The Upperclassmen of the GU Women’s Club Volleyball Team” is ambiguous; it’s an easily identifiable group. It’s not anonymous.)

  26. Where do we begin, fellow Hoyas? We are vile seniors, we confess it. Our crimes and sins are beyond counting. We have drank and vandalized, strewn condoms and abused fruit. We’re not particularly good at drunken scavenger hunts, but we’re good at convincing drunk freshmen to scavenge for us.

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