Georgetown is a bit up in arms this year. First, there was the reaction to the alleged poor coverage of the Jena Six incident by campus newspapers; that, to my knowledge, has died down for now. Then there are the criticisms and protests against the Georgetown administration’s handling of an alleged hate crime: one Hoya assaulted a fellow Hoya because he was gay. I’d like to comment a little bit on the developing situation.
It’s quite disturbing for me to think that all this is happening at a place I call home. Georgetown is a university of higher learning, so immediately, there is some assumption that alternative views and lifestyles are more tolerated, even embraced, there. This, however, is not the case at Georgetown. Being different, even in terms of how you dress or look, immediately sets you apart from the homogenous student body. In fact, the overwhelming sameness of the student population was THE major point of consideration for me when I was seriously thinking of transferring from Georgetown my freshman year.
For those of you that may not know what happened, here are a few stories of the events on campus that have been stirring up protest:
“Cooney Turns Down Plea Offer”
“Professors Criticize LGBTQ Treatment”
“Student Attacked in Alleged Hate Crime”; This is a separate incident from the first.
Ok, so a major point of attack for the defense is the use of facebook to identify Cooney. However, anyone who has ever used facebook knows that it is the perfect tool for tracking down a face with an unknown name. I’ve seen people on campus, noted who they hung out with, and then searched through photos of their friends in order to find a tagged picture revealing unknown person’s name. Simple stalking 101. So as you can tell, taking only the method of identification into consideration, I’m very convinced that facebook is an ideal tool for identifying a suspect. I suppose the fuzzy part is the role the friend of the victim played in helping him identify Cooney, and it might not be good to ruin a guy’s life on “maybe’s.”
Apart from the crime, GU Pride is upset that it took 3 weeks for students to be notified of the event. In fact, NBC News was the first to break the story and only after NBC showed up at the front gates did the University send out a broadcast email. To their defense, MPD was in charge of the investigation requested that the University let the police handle the investigation. However, there’s no excuse for the 2-day delay of alerting the student body about the second hate crime. I would think that Georgetown would send out an email right away to convey that they have understood why GU Pride is upset, that they want to amend their ways. Some outsiders may think, “2 days? That’s not that long.” But consider that news of other assaults or burglaries are emailed to Georgetown students in less than 12 hours. All the administration had to do to cover their asses was to treat the second hate crime in the same manner as other assaults, but they didn’t.
I’m disappointed in Georgetown. Sure, we’re a Catholic institution, but we’re not fucking Notre Dame. I can’t tell since I’m in London, but I’m not really sure if I can detect a lot of school unity following the incidents. I think that most people still don’t see Georgetown as homophobic and therefore, they don’t bother to stand up for others. I get the impression that people might even think that gay people at Georgetown are over-reacting or asking too much. I don’t know.
What I do believe is that if a black student was attacked on campus while racial slurs were shouted at him or her, there would be a whole lot more campus-wide support and a much bigger response from the university. Maybe I’m off on that, but I believe it. I feel like we’re living in a new civil rights era or something. I think people take for granted that people can BE gay nowadays, especially in cities like DC, but people can’t express being gay without some scorn whether it be in the form of a strange look or verbal disapproval.
It’s just strange and I’m almost glad I’m in London and away from it all, so that I don’t have to ask myself whether I should stand up or not.