Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

DeGioia Promises LGBTQ Center

The remaining two LGBTQ working groups submitted their final recommendations to University President John J. DeGioia on Tuesday, leading to the announced creation of an LGBTQ resource center for the university.

Vice President for Public Affairs and Strategic Development and co-coordinator of the working groups Daniel Porterfield said that, among all of the recommendations, the creation of the resource center is the most significant.

The recommendation, made by the working group on resources, also calls for two full-time staffs and several student employees for the center. Porterfield said that the resource center will offer “a large array of services, resources and opportunities” to LGBTQ students but also “to the larger community [so] all can benefit.”

He also said the university intends to search nationwide for a director for the center and hopes to find one by the beginning of the 2008-2009 academic year.

While gathering ideas on how to create Georgetown’s LGBTQ resource center, members of the working groups met with the directors of similar resource centers at Princeton, Duke and Syracuse Universities and the University of Pennsylvania and visited the resource center at George Mason University.

The groups, comprised of student, faculty and administrators, were expected to make recommendations to DeGioia and University Provost James O’Donnell throughout last semester, following two alleged hate crimes against Georgetown students. Porterfield said the working group on resources completed its recommendations in December, and the working groups on education and reporting presented their recommendations to DeGioia and O’Donnell on Tuesday.

The working group on education’s recommendations call for programs that “not only encompass LGBTQ issues but also larger issues of diversity,” Porterfield said.

The proposed educational programs are aimed at “getting our students to be cohesive and accepting,” said Rosemary Kilkenny, vice president for institutional diversity and equity and co-coordinator of the working groups, with recommendations that include collaboration with the Office of International Programs to help students look more closely at the diversity and acceptance of their country choices.

“[We want students to] think about the nature and even the laws of the countries they’re considering,” she said.

Other recommendations include training programs for athletic coaches as well as new education programs and retreats for students.

The working group on reporting recommended initiatives to “streamline and make [a] more comprehensive and transparent system of evaluating and reporting incidents of bias and hate,” Porterfield said.

“We want to make sure students are aware of the avenues for reporting,” Kilkenny added.

Porterfield said the working groups worked hard to offer recommendations that were consistent with Georgetown’s Catholic and Jesuit identity.

“All members of the committee took our identity very seriously,” he said. “Each working group had at least one Jesuit on it, and [group members] said they were tremendous assets to the work.”

embers of the working groups met with the president and the provost on Wednesday.

“People felt very good about the work,” Kilkenny said. “There was this bond that was formed between the groups. It was really a celebration,” she said.

In late October, DeGioia announced reforms to further awareness and education on LGBTQ issues, including the formation of the working groups. Each working group consists of students as well as faculty or administrators.

The working groups held a town hall meeting in December to further gather ideas and input on the pending recommendations.

In addition, the working groups, along with Kilkenny and Porterfield, held meetings on four consecutive Fridays with various campus leaders, including O’Donnell, Athletic Director Bernard Muir, Georgetown College Dean Jane McAuliffe and members of the undergraduate admissions staff, Counseling and Psychiatric Services and the Office of Residence Life. According to Porterfield, the meetings focused on how each department could contribute to the LGBTQ discussion.

“[We discussed] how their organization was responding to the needs of LGBTQ students,” he said.

These meetings were especially valuable to the working group members, Porterfield said. “They recognized that so many people in the community wanted them to do this.”

In an email to the Georgetown community sent last night, DeGioia and O’Donnell announced that Kilkenny will serve as chair of a new university-wide committee that will be formed this semester to focus on implementation of the working groups’ recommendations.

Porterfield added that, when these recommendations are implemented, Georgetown will be a “national model.”

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