Hoyas United for Free Speech begins petition campaign
Despite months of dialogue between students and administrators surrounding free speech issues on campus, no concrete actions have been taken aside from signing a memorandum of understanding last year.
The problem continues to plague campus groups, such as H*yas for Choice, which was recently removed from the area outside the campus front gates by GUPD. Hoyas United for Free Speech, a new student group formed to address the festering issue, addressed a letter to Vice President for Student Affairs Todd Olson and initiated a petition campaign for the University to bring meaningful change to free speech at Georgetown.
“We the undersigned individuals believe that ‘a university is many things but central to its being is discourse, discussion, debate: the untrammeled expression of ideas and information. This discourse is carried on communally: we all speak and we all listen,'” the letter says. “We fear that speech and expression policy and its implementation do not live up to this call.”
“The Speech and Expression policy’s vague language allows University officials to interpret policy in a manner that suits their immediate needs rather than applying a consistent standard; in addition, it often leaves members of the University community unsure about what rights they have,” the letter says.
The letter has a list of specific changes HUFS would like to see implemented. Most important is their request that a specific timeline be created to eventually eliminate the confusing “free speech zone” designation and make all of campus an area where free speech is protected.
Additionally, HUFS requests that the University bring more diverse speakers to campus, preserve the University’s three safe spaces, and stop classifying folding tables as “permanent structures” because, obviously, those are portable.
Photo: Hoyas United for Free Speech via Facebook