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

Grilling Controversy Flares Up

Following an outcry from students and campus organizations over a T-shirt slogan and name of a promotional week, the Georgetown University Grilling Society announced it still plans to proceed with the week but will postpone sales of the shirt.

GUGS had ordered and planned to sell T-shirts reading “GUGS: Grade A, Size D,” from April 21-25 during GUGS’ “Grills Gone Wild Week.” However, student opposition to the name and the shirts has forced GUGS to revise its original plans, despite having secured approval for the event and the T-shirt slogan by the Student Activities Commission.

“I knew it was offensive when I heard it because they are speaking about breasts and pornography, and that was their key advertisement strategy that they wanted to employ,” said Hemly Ordonez (SFS ’08), student program coordinator for the Women’s Center. “I think they are comfortable with it and don’t see it as degrading, but see it as humor.”

On March 25, SAC initially denied GUGS the right to use “Grills Gone Wild” as the name of the week. This decision, however, was appealed by GUGS President Jake Styacich (COL ’09) who wanted, along with other GUGS members, to keep the current name. In the end, after having spoken to both Styacich and representatives protesting the name from Mask and Bauble, GU Pride, the Women’s Center, United Feminists, Take Back the Night and MEChA de Georgetown, as well as a former New Student Orientation staff member and a former SAC member, SAC decided on Monday in a 6-5 vote to grant the appeal, allowing the T-shirt and the name of the week to stay.

“Despite the fact that we have made a decision that has offended a certain population at campus, SAC is always here for its groups and will put the groups’ interests at the number one priority,” said Sophia Behnia (COL ’09), who serves as SAC chair. “Because of this, SAC made a decision that it felt was in line with the interests of a majority of the groups on campus. It was after a lot of deliberation that SAC decided to approve the event and at this point it is best that SAC moves forward as a united entity.”

Concerned students soon formed a group called Grilling Society Action and sent out a press release in opposition to the T-shirts and the name of the week.

“The marketing tools that the Grilling Society and other organizations on this campus choose to employ systematically serve to demean women,” a GSA press release said. “The decision to associate their week with `Girls Gone Wild’ and their initial decision to sell a T-shirt that read `GUGS: Grade A, Size D,’ was the combination of marketing tools that we found offensive.”

Styacich said he feels there was a public misunderstanding that the T-shirts were intended to advertise for the week.

“GUGS has no marketing strategy in place other than the Facebook event and the listing on our Web site,” he said. “If we had done either the shirts or Grills Gone Wild without the other, I feel it would be a non-issue, but I feel the combination of the shirt slogan and the event set this off.”

Grills Gone Wild Week will go on as scheduled and GUGS will still consider selling the shirts, but not at the present time, Styacich said.

“Because the T-shirt slogan and Grills Gone Wild mistakenly were combined and then triggered this reaction, we are withholding the shirts to focus on yet another successful year at Georgetown by throwing Grills Gone Wild Week,” he said.

GUGS released a press release on Wednesday attempting to clarify the relationship between the T-shirts and the promotional week.

“`Grade A, size D’ was not, is not, and will not be the motto of GGWW. The essence of the shirt and GGWW is a fun play on words, and nothing more,” it stated.

A Facebook event entitled “Grilling Society Gone Wrong” was created early Tuesday morning in general opposition to the week and the T-shirts. As of last night, it had 182 confirmed guests, including many GSA members, and claims that the advertisement techniques employed by GUGS are inappropriate.

Frances Davila (SFS ’10), one of the creators of the event, said that there is a larger problem at Georgetown in which sexual references are used as advertisement methods.

Students in support of GUGS’ week and shirt soon after formed a Facebook group entitled “For Every GUGS Burger They Don’t Eat, I’ll Have Two!,” which has 482 members thus far.

GSA, according to Ordonez, also plans to open dialogues with students, faculty and administration as a way to bring attention to these issues.

“We are encouraging . a dialogue about this. It will be open to all faculty, administration and students. And the Grilling Society president has already accepted the proposal to have dialogue,” Ordonez said. “The main goal is to get dialogue around this, to get people talking about it.”

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