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

Hoyas Must Take Action Now to Promote Diversity

Friday, May 19, 2006 Lindsay Anderson/The Hoya Sarah Audelo

I loved Georgetown from the minute I arrived on campus during my GAAP weekend in April 2002. I loved it when my parents left me 2,000 miles away from home that August and I still love Georgetown today. It is with my love for the university and all that the university could be that I write this viewpoint. Georgetown is tough. In many cases it is much tougher than it should be. As a woman of color I’ve had the chance to see two not-so positive sides of the university that others tend to forget or ignore. First, in extracurricular activities, women do all the work and somehow the men get all the credit. Second, that people of color are still considered “others” and not recognized as your average Georgetown student. This is reflected in how few people of color attend Georgetown, especially considering that Washington, D.C. is 60 percent black yet that specific group is ignored in the mainstream institutions which this campus recognizes as typically “Georgetown.” Yes, we have our own groups such as Black Student Alliance, MEChA, South Asian Society, Asian American Student Association, Chinese Student Association, Korean Student Association, Student of Color Alliance, etc. But while we work to serve our own communities, we still host activities for the greater Georgetown population such as Urban Fare, Diaspora and Asiafest. Not only are we the only ones in attendance, we are the only ones that even acknowledge these events’ existence. Why is it that Chimes night, an event that happens every third Thursday of the month, was on the front page of The Hoya (Nov. 18, 2005) the night after Urban Fare? Neither Diaspora nor the Commitment to Diversity Awards were covered. Asiafest was never covered either. I hate to disappoint you, Georgetown, but there’s more than Rangila. What makes me so sad is that there are such amazing leaders in the community of color, but administrators don’t even know who they are. Because they are busy running organizations like BSA, MEChA and AASA, they get overlooked by the university. It was not until Rashad Jones (SFS ’06) hosted a meet-and-greet at the Black House that administrators from the Center for Student Programs and Student Affairs even met the leaders (rising seniors and one junior) who will be living there next year. It was shocking to hear that some of those administrators had never before even stepped in the Black House and didn’t even know the purpose nor history of the Black House. Yes, the Black House is run by the Center for Minority Educational Affairs, but students are the ones who live there and students are the ones the Black House serves. As much as we speak about diversity on this campus, Georgetown still just doesn’t get it. We, the community of color, try so hard to share our cultures with the campus-at-large. Our events appear in the weekly e-mails and we sell tickets in Red Square, but where are all the Joe and Jane Hoyas? It was not until this year at a panel on the status of LGBTQ students at Georgetown that I heard Professor Jennifer Natalya Fink say, and I paraphrase: Homophobia is not a gay problem; it’s a straight problem. On that same note, promoting diversity needs to move beyond the community of color because we’ve done about all we can do. It’s time for the white kids to step up. I don’t even want to go in-depth with the problems Georgetown has serving students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds. There is not enough aid for students from the middle and lower-classes, forcing students to take out thousands of dollars in loans, which leaves them in a debt much larger than our peer institutions would allow. Work study jobs are nice, but cannot be compared to off-campus internships offering no paycheck. Both of these have an effect on post-graduation opportunities. It is a problem that starts with the strength of resumes and ends with searching for the limited amount of jobs that must pay enough to cover loan debt. But if I didn’t love Georgetown, I would stay silent because it has been Georgetown that has helped me to raise my voice and speak up in the sight of injustice. Georgetown has made some steps in the four years that I’ve been here. My favorite examples of this progress are the AIDS Coalition’s Unity Live where we had students from a wide variety of talents and backgrounds come together to raise money for the Whitman Walker Clinic on World AIDS Day and the GU One Show which the Senior Class Committee successfully revived, bringing together Georgetown’s favorite dance groups and raising money for local charities. I’ve also been honored to serve as director of Ritmo y Sabor, arguably Georgetown’s most diverse group on campus. While the stated purpose is to dance salsa, our dancers come from every cultural background and by the end of the year not only do we travel in packs to every on-campus event, but we truly are a family. These are groups that have helped make my Georgetown experience so special and memorable. But I cannot forget a few others: the ladies of the class of 2008 who have helped remind me that even after we leave, there are others who will still fight the fight; MEChA, which has finally found its voice, and will undoubtedly use that voice when the Lecture Fund invites the founder of the Minuteman civil-defense group to speak, of all times, during Hispanic Heritage Month; and, members of the 2006 Senior Class Committee who have shown without pushing that some mainstream groups still not only care about diversity, but truly take action to make sure that all feel welcome. Georgetown forever! Sarah Audelo is a senior in the School of Foreign Service.

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