Posts Tagged “United Feminists”
How many Public Service Announcement reports about sexual assaults do you think you’ve gotten in your e-mail inbox over the last year? If you actually check your Hoyamail account, that answer probably ranges somewhere from “Too many,” to “Way too many,” to “Oh my God, can this be for real?”
On Wednesday evening, GU Men Creating Change, United Feminists, and Sexual Assault Peer Educators held a vigil in Red Square in response to recent sexual assault incidents and in honor of Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Students including Jared Watkins (COL ’11), co-Chair of GU Men Creating Change, Marion Cory (COL ’10), a board member of United Feminists, and Amanda Kerrigan (SFS ’10) of Sexual Assault Peer Educators, conducted the vigil “for all sexual assaults that occur and remain unheard,” according to the event’s Facebook posting.
Although the Facebook posting confirmed 96 confirmed guests, a crowd of only about 15 people gathered in Red Square for the vigil last night. The crowd, which included a representative from Counseling and Psychiatric Services (CAPS), discussed plans to increase on-campus sexual assault awareness.
“It’s important that people are well informed about sexual assault even without all the PSAs,” Watkins said. “We’re here to provide resources on related organizations or to let anyone who’s interested to get involved.”
Some students, such as Kristin Mitchell (COL ’10), expressed concern about the lack of University action against sexual assault during the vigil.
“We get the emails, but they’re met with almost complete silence,” Mitchell said. “We don’t see anyone mobilizing, just people saying, ‘Look how scary! Don’t walk home alone!’ But what can we do to change?”
However, representatives from the coalition of groups did not seem discouraged by the small crowd that attended the vigil—they instead argued that it was a step in the right direction. Undeterred, the groups plan to hold similar events in Red Square in future months in order to provide information and raise awareness about sexual assault.
Watkins, who seemed particularly optimistic, added, “All great movements start with about this many people!”
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Updated 8:10 p.m.: After receiving a letter from Vice President of Student Affairs Todd Olson, the protesters unchained themselves from the statue. Plan A would not release the letter, but said they will be meeting with the administration “as soon as possible.”
Update 5:15 p.m.: The protesters are demanding that President John DeGioia respond to them by 8 p.m. tonight.
On Saturday afternoon, as hundreds of prospective students visiting Georgetown for GAAP weekend strolled by, three students from Plan A Hoyas taped their mouths shout and chained themselves to the statue of John Carroll in Healy Circle in their most high-profile protest yet of the University’s refusal to acquiesce to their demands.
About fifteen members of Plan A, the coalition movement started by H*yas for Choice and United Feminists to demand more dialogue about and access to sexual health care, participated in the demonstration at Healy Circle, stating the organization’s demands and singing chants. Plan A caught the attention of dozens of prospective students and their parents, despite the best efforts of GAAP tour leaders to avoid lingering near the protest.
“You need to know what’s up. Your sexual health is in danger!” a Plan A member shouted at a nearby tour group.
Local TV news channels filmed their activities, where members of Plan A were joined by representatives from two other on-campus organization, MEChA (Movimiento Estudiantil Chicana de Aztlán) and Georgetown’s chapter of the NAACP.
“Reproductive justice would benefit the female community of color because it’s usually women of color who can’t afford contraceptives and don’t have access to information. That’s the history of our community. Plan A really brings that to the forefront,” said Frances Davila (SFS’ 10), co-chair of MEChA.
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Posted by: Molly Redden in News, Vox Populi, tags: Choice USA, H*yas for Choice, Jared Watkins, Marion Cory, Mark Egerman, National Abortion Federation, Plan A Hoyas, Robin Wood, SAC, United Feminists
Speakers from organizations like the National Abortion Federation and Choice USA aren’t the kind of guests you’d expect to find at a Georgetown University-sponsored event—especially not if they’re the event’s main voices, and especially not if there isn’t anyone sitting on the panel to counter their input with pro-life opinions.
But that’s exactly who made up the panel that Plan A Hoyas held last night to kick off Choice Week, making it one of the very few events, possibly even the first that the University has ever funded where speakers only presented pro-choice arguments about the abortion debate.
Before a room of about fifty students, Mark Egerman, from NAF, Robin Wood, from Choice USA, and Jared Watkins (COL ’11), a founder of GU Men Creating Change, spoke about the importance of male involvement in the pro-choice movement, why male involvement is especially important to the pro-choice movement now, and how Georgetown students can lobby the school to fund more similar events.
“Unfortunately, men’s voices are often heard louder than women’s even when the same message is being heard,” Egerman said. Later, he spoke to the difficulty of getting men to advocate for abortion rights, as it’s not a right that men exercise. “The power to be able to force someone to give birth against their will is fundamentally terrifying. But that’s not something men necessarily think about because they’re not physically threatened by that.”
Watkins, the student, does a lot of work on and off campus concerning violence against women and said that Georgetown policies that “silence women’s voices of control women’s choices” are a very basic form of controlling women’s bodies. “And that control is very basic violence against women,” he said.
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In a close vote, members of Georgetown’s Student Activities Commission approved funding for what may be an unprecedented of event at Georgetown University, if it takes place—a University-funded panel of three speakers, all pro-choice, holding a discussion of men’s roles in the pro-choice movement.
The event, which is being organized for the controversial “Plan A Hoyas” campaign, is the first event organized by “Plan A” that SAC has funded. It was subject to much debate about whether it violated the University’s mission and speech and expression policy before SAC approved it. Challenged on whether the event went against Georgetown’s mission, a representative of UF said that it did not, according to SAC meeting minutes.
“Our constitutional mission statement is to promote equality for women, and since women are the sole bearers of children, it is within our mission to advance the equality for health services for women,” she said. “Our mission is to promote dialogue about these issues, not limit ourselves to one point of view.”
During the discussion period of the meeting following the presentation, SAC Faculty Adviser Bill McCoy doubted that the event would encourage debate, since its panel was one-sided. Commissioner Scott Stirrett (SFS ’13) countered that the Cardinal O’Connor Conference on Life could be construed as similarly one-sided. Ultimately, the locus of their discussion became whether or not the panel constituted advocacy or dialogue, and whether it was in violation of the University’s policies or not.
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H*yas for Choice and United Feminists’ announcement that they were undertaking a joint campaign to pressure Georgetown into changing its reproductive rights policies has upset or confounded a number of students.
Now, members of several Catholic groups on campus have responded with a letter to President John DeGioia in support of the University’s current policies, in which they aim to refute the arguments made by HFC and UF that a Jesuit University can and should provide contraceptives, comprehensive sexual education in its medical facilities, and allow for greater dialogue about related topics.
“The students who are currently advocating this ‘Plan A’ campaign fail to understand our identity; they use terms such as ‘Catholic,’ ‘Jesuit,’ and ‘cura personalis’ without a basic understanding of their significance. Although perhaps not grounded in a willful ignorance, their argument nonetheless demonstrates a thorough and pervasive hostility for Georgetown as a Catholic institution rooted in the rich tradition of the Society of Jesus,” the letter states.
Here’s the full letter, which was sent to Vox by Georgetown Academy Editor David Gregory (COL ’10):
Dear President DeGioia,
It has come to our attention that United Feminists and H*yas for Choice have recently submitted an open letter to your office and the University community at large. We are writing in response in order to point out the errors within their campaign and thought process. We do this not to over-dramatize this issue – which has resurfaced on a regular basis over the past two decades – or to belittle the University’s competency with regards to handling this campaign. We simply write to support our beloved University’s ideals and identity, which inhere within every facet of Georgetown’s operations and campus life.
The students who are currently advocating this “Plan A” campaign fail to understand our identity; they use terms such as “Catholic,” “Jesuit,” and “cura personalis” without a basic understanding of their significance. Although perhaps not grounded in a willful ignorance, their argument nonetheless demonstrates a thorough and pervasive hostility for Georgetown as a Catholic institution rooted in the rich tradition of the Society of Jesus. They advocate for “dialogue,” yet fail to engage in true dialogue given their ignorance of Catholic Social Teaching; there can be no dialogue without preliminary understanding, only empty accusations.
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Posted by: Molly Redden in News, Vox Populi, tags: Condoms, Contraception, Feminism, Georgetown, H*yas for Choice, Heather Brock, John DeGioia, Marion Cory, Pro-Life, United Feminists
H*yas for Choice and United Feminists have partnered up in a new campaign that’s demanding substantial change in Georgetown’s reproductive rights policies. The latter being a University-recognized group, the new movement has the potential to endanger UF’s funding and legitimacy.
Through the campaign, called “Plan A: Hoyas for Reproductive Justice,” the coalition is making demands for access to material benefits, like contraceptives on campus and rape kits at the Georgetown University Hospital, greater free speech allowances for groups like H*yas for Choice, and “comprehensive health education.”
“These are really rational demands broadly supported by the Georgetown community,” Marion Cory (COL ’10), a board member of United Feminists, told Vox. “It boils down to basic rights, student safety, and student needs.”
Acknowledging that their campaign must adapt to the fact that its advocacy will take place on a Catholic campus, Cory explained that she felt confident their efforts could be successful because their demands were in fact in keeping with Jesuit ideals.
“We don’t see [this campaign] as overcoming Jesuit values, we see it more as asking for Georgetown to consider these issues in their true form, not just the narrows lens it uses now.” she said. “There are a lot of pieces to this issue, like social justice and providing for the health and safety of all people equally.”
She pointed to an open letter the two groups have already written to President John DeGioia on their coalitions’ blog, which she said used a lot of the University’s own language to speak to their demands:
“Issues related to reproductive justice disproportionately affect the lives of people in historically marginalized communities, such as women, people of color, and the economically disadvantaged– the very communities for which Georgetown professes to advocate.
“In addition, the approach Georgetown has taken with regard to discourse around these same issues has been anything but dialogue-promoting. Rather than allow students to openly engage with and discuss issues of choice, sexual health, and contraception, which undeniably shape the society we inhabit, university policies stifle and even prohibit this important exchange of ideas.”
After the jump, the full letter and what this may mean for UF’s Access to University Benefits.
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