Tonight, recent issues of the student satire magazine Georgetown Heckler will be the subject of a student forum planned by students who have found some of its content offensive. Jack Stuef (COL ’10), the Heckler‘s editor, told the Voice last night that he planned to attend, too.
“I haven’t really planned this out yet, but obviously I’ll try to explain who we are and where we’re coming from because I think there’s a lot of confusion as to who the Heckler is and what our point is,” he said.
“I stand behind everything I’ve ever printed and everything I’ve ever written at the Heckler and I’ll continue to do that at the meeting. And I’ll try to explain where I’m coming from and hopefully there will be some understanding.”
The forum will take place in White Gravenor 201A at 8:30 p.m.
Chair of the Working Group on Admissions Ryan Wilson, who is the incoming Chair of the Student Commission for Unity, said the latest Heckler warranted discussion because it had gone too far.
“I think the Heckler missed the mark,” Wilson said. “While the paper strives to give insightful and intelligent commentary on different campus articles, the articles they’ve written over the last couple of months haven’t really done that.”
“Why is the only context for discussing race found in humor or satire at Georgetown? Why does so much satire at Georgetown target victims of hate crimes, discrimination, sexual assault or injustice?”
Those questions will be the subject of a forum to be held tomorrow night in the ICC at 8:30 p.m., which Student Commission on Unity Founder Brian Kesten (COL ’10) has organized in response to the latest issue of the satirical student-run Georgetown Heckler—which lampooned The Hoya in light of its controversial 2009 April Fools’ Issue, the Black Student Alliance—and other campus satire. Here’s the Facebook event.
“Possible topics may include: articulating the problem, discussing what should change, deciding what we should do now and next semester,” the event description said.
Kesten and many SCU members were involved in the overwhelming student response to the 2009 HoyaApril Fools’ Issue, which many students charged contained stereotypes and content offensive to minorities and made light of sexual assault.
Last week, the board of the Student Commission for Unity voted to break away from GUSA. Their decision went into effect Sunday, and Brian Kesten (COL `10) promptly emailed SCUnity’s listserv with SCUnity’s press release, which read in part:
In order to effectively advocate for these recommendations, the Student Commission for Unity will cease to operate under GUSA, effective immediately. This decision was ultimately made to increase the durability … This model will also better serve the advocacy process, as working with various offices on campus will be necessary in order to realize the full potential of all recommendations. The Student Commission for Unity executive board has seen a once productive relationship with the Student Association turn into an inhibiting one.
So what do they mean by “inhibiting relationship”? In the Fall, GUSA and Kesten sparred over SCUnity’s leadership when they became incorporated with GUSA. Recently, GUSA accepted only 6 out of SCUnity’s 8 proposals based on their findings, which irked Kesten.
“GUSA voted down two of our proposals, which were formed by 15 months of research for the exec board, as well as a semester of research done by around 40 students,” he said yesterday. “We intend to fully pursue our recommendations as the result of our extensive research, meaning that we believe all of our recommendations are reasonable.”
SCUnity’s choice is already receiving criticism. Today, The Hoya published an op-ed by GUSA President Pat Dowd, who worried that now that it has lost GUSA’s involvement, SCUnity will not reflect student desires:
“Affirming my worst suspicions, the SCU has decided to cut ties with GUSA in order to unilaterally petition administrators for a number of controversial diversity-related policy changes. This development raises serious concerns about what is being advocated on the behalf of students without their informed consent.
“It is absolutely imperative that students and their elected representatives be given the opportunity to scrutinize, evaluate and ultimately choose to accept or reject the initiatives that Kesten hopes to implement.”
It took fifteen months to compile, during which time it suffered royalcontroversy and headline wordplay, but the tome-of-a SCUnity report is finally here. Flanked by his SCUnity commission and his co-investigator Brian Cook (COL `10), project mastermind Brian Kesten (COL `10) presented the commission’s finding yesterday in Gaston Hall.
A full cover story by our own Kate Mays will appear in the Georgetown Voice tomorrow about SCUnity’s findings about discrimination and segregation at Georgetown, but to hold you over, here are some of the most interesting facts the commission found:
NHS students (16% aware), MSB students (23%), and freshman (24%) are highly unaware of Georgetown’s bias reporting system
Almost 80% of student have witnessed student discrimination at Georgetown and almost half have ignored it
Students’ educational (implied, socioeconomic) backgrounds were not necessarily indicators for experience of prejudice or self segregation. Student experience was more likely to vary based on socioeconomic background, but educational background did not prove an effective lens through which to studying socioeconomic background.*
Students who identify as LGBTQ are highly likely (82%) to feel self-segregated or the target of discrimination (54%)
Below is the second edition of Vox Populi’s weekly GUSA round-ups, a sass-meets-C-SPAN summary of Georgetown student government’s goings-on. In sum, we’ll go to GUSA meetings so you won’t have to. We think Tipp O’Neill would be proud.
Joseph Smith, DPS’ Crime and Prevention Coordinator, brought the night’s first significant issue before the Senate. Smith wants to jumpstart the RAD program at Georgetown—which DPS got us excited for at the beginning of the school year but has yet to come through on—in response to the “problem” (I’ll say) of sexual assaults on Georgetown students.
Smith says the holdup is money for equipment. His sales pitch appealed to the senate’s legacy, or their egos: if they funded RAD, he said, they could say, “’We voted on it, we did the right thing here.’” Make good choices!
The meeting’s other highlight was a ten-minute show-and-tell by an impatient Brian Kesten (COL `10). He’s proposing some initiatives based on the long-awaited SCUnity report that is slated to be unveiled on Jan 27.
When senators questioned Kesten’s decision to go ahead with the presentation before obtaining GUSA approval, he responded, “As far as publicity, there’s no way to stop this from moving forward at this point.” Tempers flared, but as angry senators vied for the floor, Kesten took a moment to answer his cell phone, prompting an angry scolding by senator Tyler Stone (COL ’09), who told the always-controversial Kesten he would “like to see greater respect for GUSA in the future.”
Any senators who wish to pre-view the report may do so, as long as they sign a nondisclosure form, a measure that raised a few eyebrows.
Lastly, Matt Wagner (SFS ’11) gave the senate an update on the Student Funding Board meeting scheduled for Feb 11. Wagner reminded us that that “SAC is going to change this year in terms of the way they elect their leadership.” The new process will include an election committee containing two GUSA members.
It’s time for another appearance of the Dowdometer, where we gauge how GUSA President Pat Dowd is living up to expectations. He’s a pumpkin today in honor of his fall giveaway. Despite being a happy pumpkin, Pat is still floating under the red expectations bar, just like last time!
First of all, the much-vaunted pumpkin party fell apart. While it was sweet seeing him cut a monster pumpkin in John Carroll’s lap, GUSA Grassroots members soon left their posts and a swarm of students made off with the pumpkins.
Now is the time to join together and let Leo’s know how we feel, especially with the food poisoning! Send us your comments!
If nothing else, a bunch of students will spice up the meeting, scheduled for 11:30 on October 16th, in the “Team Room”. The minutes from the last meeting include complaints about soggy Grab n Go sandwiches and wax paper at the Diner.
The GUSA Senate formed the Student Commission for Unity last spring in response to last year’s bias-related incidents and The Hoya’s“Jena 6″ snafu last fall. In April, the SCU conducted a survey on race, discrimination, and segregation at Georgetown which gleaned over 1,500 student responses. While they’re not publishing the numbers just yet, a sneak peak on Tuesday night revealed:
Only 4% of bias incidents that occur on or near campus get reported to DPS
Black and Hispanic students often feel uncomfortable here because of their race in face greater numbers that white students
Catholics and Protestants find religious discrimination to be less of a problem than Muslim, Buddhist, and Hindu students
New students find the bias reporting system far more adequate than veteran Hoyas do
SFS kids are pretty convinced that self-segregation is a problem (frustrating for their vigorous networking efforts)
For some reason, when they break down their survey based on religion, responses from Muslim, Buddhist, and Hindi students get grouped together. Kesten said it’s because they’re fewer in numbers. Unfortunately, if they respond in radically different ways to specific questions, we may never know.
R. Kelly’s endorsement would probably carry more weight if his singing was more consistent in this video. I’m mainly just impressed with how many people they got to do that undulating dance in semi-slow motion. Overall not badly done, though a little boring at times. (Plus, I couldn’t stop thinking about a certain Dave Chapelle video as I was watching it.)
On a side note, I’m starting tire of all these GUSA videos. They don’t do much to differentiate the candidates and more than one per ticket is a bit much. That’s why you should come out to the GUSA Presidential Debate tonight from 9:00-10:30 in Reiss 112, where editors from the Voice and the Hoya will ask the candidates hard-hitting questions about things that matter.
Here’s the second in our series of short video interviews with GUSA candidates. Kyle Williams (SFS ’09) and Brian Kesten (COL ’10) (whom the Voice endorsed) sat down with me in Copley Hall’s Williams Chapel to discuss their priorities, Ben Shaw and how to speed up by slowing down. Look for more interviews as we head into voting on Thursday…