Georgetown groups protest Hoya’s April Fool’s issue

About 40 students sat-in at The Hoya‘s office late Thursday night

Editor’s note: Okay, so we’ve covered The Hoya an awful lot lately, and you may be getting sick of it. However, we think would’ve been remiss not to cover these events.

Slideshow: Students conduct a sit-in protest in the office of “The Hoya”

Last night, at least 40 students who found themselves deeply offended by The Hoya’s April Fool’s issue staged a sit-in in The Hoya’s Leavey office. Several DPS officers monitored the scene. Hoya staff members did not have official comments about the sit-in, but two senior members of The Hoya said they did not have knowledge of any of their staff calling DPS and said the protest lasted from about 11:20 p.m. to midnight.

The sit-in followed an “emergency town hall” which over 100 students attended, including GUSA President Calen Angert (MSB `11) and VP Jason Kluger (MSB `11), a few faculty members, and at least one Jesuit. The event was publicized on Facebook under the group name “The Hoya: discrimination is not a laughing matter,” and the group currently has 271 members.

The individual comments from the town hall are confidential, but in general students said they were very offended by articles in The Hoya’s April Fool’s issue that they found racist, discriminatory, sexist, and dismissive of important campus issues. Many students expressed anger that The Hoya targeted individual students and said they felt The Hoya has a history of printing offensive content in its April Fool’s issues. Many also called for its Editor in Chief, Andrew Dwulet, to resign.

The Hoya responds, after the jump.

In The Hoya’s Friday issue, Dwulet issued an apology entitled “Foolish Decisions Deserve Reflection and Dialogue.” It reads, in part,

On Tuesday, THE HOYA published its annual April Fools’ humor issue. As usual, it was full of jokes that were crude, but in some cases, it crossed the line. The issue has spurned campus-wide opposition: in a Facebook group with over 200 members, in a town hall meeting, and in a sit-in at THE HOYA office late last night. Flawed as it may have been, we only intended parody. We only intended to indiscriminately “go overboard” and satirize all of the news that has happened this year.

However, intent does not change reality. To those whom this issue has offended and even to those it hasn’t, I deeply apologize. A campus newspaper should never be something that alienates part of the community.

An op-ed contribution from students Jheanelle Brown and Don Cartier, “Insenstivity Makes April Fools’ Issue a Bad Joke,” appeared in the same issue:

We are proud members of the black community at Georgetown. In the past, we appreciated The Hoya’s coverage of important issues ranging from campus security to the endowment. Even coverage of diversity-related issues has improved slowly since we matriculated. However, the March 31 joke issue of The Hoya was tasteless, disturbing and, above all, not funny.

It appears that The Hoya finds it much easier to target marginalized and minority groups as the butts of incredibly negative jokes, but has difficulty going as hard on itself and majority groups. There is no excuse for the stereotypes, discrimination and mockery that the distasteful humor was based on.

The Facebook groups contains scans of articles which its creators found particularly egregious. These include an article which parodies SCUnity leader Brian Kesten (COL `10) and the organization’s mission. The article, whose author-character is named Ryan Westen, read, in part, “We don’t have enough good old vanilla-chocolate swirl interracial fucking,” and concluded by suggesting that biracial children would “have a hell of an easier time getting into college.”

The students were undecided as to what sort of action they would take after the sit-in, but it was clear that they wanted to deviate from past years, in which they felt students did not take action in response to offensive events on campus after expressing their initial frustration. Members of The Hoya’s staff were discouraged from attending.

Photos by Helen Burton for the Voice.

20 Comments on “Georgetown groups protest Hoya’s April Fool’s issue

  1. This is political correctness at its finest. This was a joke, not something deeper that is “plaguing” the university. I’m not going to deny that somethings of the April Fools Hoya were offensive, but its no more offensive then turning on a TV or listening to Chris Rock.

    I’m offended when I see people go to parties and not studying for their $50k education. Should I propose a sit in because my worthless opinion means something to so few people?

  2. It doesn’t mater if it was a joke. You can’t write offensive comments and then say “I was joking chill”. As the student newspaper that is supposed to represent students and that we pay for…it is different than turning on the tv and seeing or hearing something offensive. What the hoya wrote was personal and directed at our campus therefore our students should be able to express the fact we don’t like it…just as much as they thought they had the write to express their opinions.

  3. Last time I checked, The Hoya was free (first copy anyway). And last time I checked, The Hoya makes a profit, unlike the Voice, so you actually don’t pay for The Hoya.

  4. Either way, it’s the school’s paper of record and ought to be accountable to the student body that it serves.

    And for “Who cares?” and people who like to mock people who actually stand up for their beliefs by taking a concrete action (in the offline world), yes, I would like to see you organize a sit-in against people going to parties, because you would indeed look foolish sitting there by yourself or with a few others.

    Over 40-60 people showed up at this sit in, after a meeting of over 100 students and student leaders. That’s a demonstration of force, and you should take it seriously whether or not you agree with them.

  5. There are still straws visible in some of the sit-in photos.

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  7. To Roger,

    I’m offended by that comment. I’m gonna propose another sit in because I am easily offended by jokes. Wawawa

    Grow up…

  8. There’s a reason why April 2 is one of the busiest days of the year at the Student Press Law Center.

    Now they can add your high jinks to their case studies file.

    In one issue you eroded your credibility with your public. And now with your snide remarks and refusal to take it on the chin because you’re so sure you’re right, you’re eroding your credibility even more.

    Good going.

  9. lol thanks 4 merging 2 of my fave threads in 1 Brian!

  10. Anne, please read The Hoya’s Web site. There is an apology from the editor in chief posted – it also ran in print. I don’t know who your comments are directed towards, but the Hoya’s Editor in Chief states very clearly in his letter that the paper was in the wrong.

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