From 3:00 to 3:30 p.m. today, a group of six students held firm ground in Red Square. “Georgetown is Institutionally Racist,” one of their signs read. Another sign listed the percentages of students on campus of different races, followed by the phrase “≠ Diversity.”
These students are part of a new independent group on campus, GLUE, or Georgetown Leaders for Unity and Equity. With six board members and about 15 to 20 students in attendance at weekly meetings, GLUE plans to hold discussions every Thursday on race, diversity, and gender at Georgetown. The group will congregate in Red Square tomorrow and Thursday between 2:30 and 3:30 p.m. to inform people on this Thursday’s dialogue over the question: Is Georgetown institutionally racist?
A GLUE member in Red Square, Caroline Rosenfield (COL, ’14), said the group was founded last year by seniors. The group participated in a campaign in Red Square to protest the killing of Trayvon Martin and attended a rally in D.C. with GU Occupy and Georgetown’s chapter of the NAACP. “The discussion this week is whether or not [Georgetown] promotes segregation through the systems and institutions that it lays out for students coming to Georgetown,” Rosenfield said. ”Even within our group, there is back and forth about it.”
Rosenfield cited “Hoya Saxa Weekend” as a primary debate among members of GLUE. Hoya Saxa Weekend is an event hosted by the Center for Multicultural Equity and Access, run parallel to GAAP weekend and exclusively for students of color. “I’m not sure how many students they take each year but it’s not all students of color,” she said. “It’s not clear how they make these decisions but there are groups of students of color who are excluded from it…there are people who identify as black or are members of the black community who weren’t invited to the Hoya Saxa experience.”
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This morning, an informal gathering of about 10-15 pro-life protesters set up shop on Georgetown’s campus. Kathleen Sebelius, Health and Human Services Secretary, spoke to the Georgetown Public Policy Institute earlier today. According to the Washington Post, an anti-abortion protester interrupted her speech and shouted “You’re a murderer!” and was escorted out. Attendants at the event said the graduates booed the individual out of the hall.
Albert Stecklein III, one of the protesters on Georgetown’s campus today, said that the demonstration was organized informally. He urged that Georgetown’s decision was not a reflection of free speech and open dialogue. “To say that, ‘well you have to support diverse opinions,’ well anyone who supports slavery would not have the same reception,” he said.
Last February, Michael Oren, the Israeli ambassador to the United States was repeatedly shouted down as he attempted to give a speech at the University of California-Irvine.
Prior to accepting his position as ambassador, Oren was a faculty member of the School of Foreign Service faculty as a part of the Program on Jewish Civilization.
The eleven students—eight current students at Irvine and three UC-Riverside alums—were charged with two misdemeanor counts of conspiracy to disturb a meeting and disturbance of a meeting. The university’s Muslim Student Union was also suspended following the incident due to its role in the disturbance.
If found guilty, the students could face up to six months in jail, fines, or community service for their actions.
A similar incident occurred last January when General David Petraeus was interrupted multiple times as he attempted to give a speech at Georgetown University.
Around noon on Saturday several hundred people gathered at the Egyptian embassy to show solidarity with the anti-government protesters in Egypt.
The organizer, Mohammad Abdeljaber, is a third-year graduate student in the Department of Arab and Islamic Studies. Much like the students that coordinated the first demonstrations in Cairo, Abdeljaber used Facebook to get the word out about his event, which he posted on Wednesday after seeing no Washington solidarity rally had yet been organized.
“This whole thing has been a grassroots effort from the start. I did it on the spot…it wasn’t anything that was related to any organization,” Abdeljaber told Vox, “My involvement with this project has been a matter of seconds. I just created the event on Facebook and it took a life of its own. I cannot take credit for it.”
By Saturday morning, over 900 people had signed up to attend the event. Abdeljaber estimated that around 600 people showed up.
The rally was organized by Carter Lavin (SFS ’10), a supporter of LGBTQ rights but not a member of GU Pride. Lavin said he was so upset upon hearing about the most recent incident, the assault that occurred at 36th and N Streets early this morning, that he couldn’t focus on his work and decided to organize a protest.
Lavin spread the word by texting 40 to 50 of his friends, many of whom spread the word on Twitter.
“I hope people start caring, start noticing,” Lavin says. “[I think the protest is important] so we can say students reacted.”
Joseph Graumann (SFS ’11), Co-Chair of GU Pride said he was “dismayed” by the recent hate crimes but was glad that the LGBTQ community at Georgetown has such strong allies and was “amazed that someone took it upon themselves” to plan the protest.
Graumann said that the campus climate has improved significantly since the 2007 hate crimes that prompted the creation of the LGBTQ Center, but work still needs to be done to “raise awareness that hate is a problem on campus.”
“When LGBTQ students are targeted it’s scary,” Graumann said.
According to Graumann, GU Pride is planning to hold a community event later this week.
During the rally, students made a circle around Red Square and shouted chants “Hate crimes are ridiculous / My Georgetown is better than this!” and “Georgetown students are under attack / What do we do? Stand up, fight back!”
Update 9:30 p.m. There will be a vigil tomorrow night in Red Square at 8:30 p.m. For more information, check out the Facebook event.
You may have heard a little something about the Iranian election and how some people are slightly upset about it. Well, the protests in D.C. have largely been based outside the Iranian embassy Interests Section at 2209 Wisconsin Ave. We posted some pictures of the protests in this week’s “The Week in Photos,” but a reader, Ben Theilen, recently sent us some more.
According to Theilen, protests the last couple days have drawn crowds of about 200 and there will be another one tomorrow at 11 a.m.