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

Keep Representing Hoya Community Responsibly

When students hear that the Duke Blue Devils are coming to town – for almost any sporting event – they shudder. Coach K is a living legend of college basketball. J.J. Redick was named this year’s best college basketball player and three nights ago, the women’s team appeared in the national championship game.

There’s no doubt that Duke’s athletes have played a huge role in the school’s rise to prominence. Dominant teams earn the school respect, money and fame.

Until the last few weeks, the Duke men’s lacrosse team was one of the top contributors to that success. In 2005, the team lost to Johns Hopkins in the NCAA title game. And many analysts placed the team at No. 1 in their preseason polls this year.

In the past three weeks, however, the lacrosse team’s prestige has given way to shame. Its season has been canceled, Head Coach Mike Pressler has resigned and 46 out of 47 players are at the center of a high-profile criminal investigation.

After allegations arose of rape, underage drinking and racial slurs at a party hosted by the lacrosse team, residents of Durham, N.C., and people around the country have reacted with anger and disgust at the team’s alleged behavior.

“There are more than 6,000 undergraduates at Duke. Somehow in the uproar following the party, the 46 lacrosse players have become the face of the University,” wrote student David Fiocco in the Duke Chronicle, the university’s student newspaper. Fiocco wrote that people have unfairly projected the behavior of a few students onto the Blue Devil student body as a whole – saying the team doesn’t represent the “real face of Duke.”

Well – I’m sorry to say, David – that while it may be unfair, the players do, indeed, represent the university and all their Blue Devil peers. The image and reputation of the school and its students has been permanently damaged because of the actions of a few rogue lacrosse players.

Hoyas should learn a lesson from Duke’s misfortune: We represent an institution with a community that encompasses thousands of people, and even one or two of us can severely injure others’ perception of the university.

Preserving Georgetown’s integrity is the duty of all its students and employees. But this duty falls especially on Hoya athletes since they are the most visible faces of the university.

And fortunately, at a time when several teams (basketball and lacrosse, for example) are on the rise in the national spotlight, most athletes here seem to be doing a fine job at representing the university respectably.

Some athletes, however, have failed to portray the university in a positive light. The recent arrest of two lacrosse players after allegedly vandalizing an N Street townhouse and a 2004 simple assault charge brought against a basketball player who allegedly hit a teammate are just two incidents which could have, but luckily did not, result in widespread scandal.

While tensions over race and diversity have yet to reach the breaking point at Georgetown as they have in Durham, we definitely do not live in a perfect society: There must be a constant effort to ensure underage drinking, sexual misconduct and other forms of crime and violence are kept in check.

Let’s keep in mind that one moment of poor judgment can cost a team a season, a student his or her future and a university its respectability. I write this simply as a reminder to Hoyas that what has happened at Duke sadly can happen anywhere.

Respectful and lawful behavior will show the world that the “real face” of Georgetown University is one of honor and integrity.

James Hilson is a sophomore in the College and opinion editor at THE HOYA.

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