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

SMITH: Fighting for Home

A university creating space for students to find community.

A commitment to a nuanced understanding of gender and sexuality.

A declaration that religion and identity can intersect meaningfully and peacefully.

This is what home looks like.

In December, Georgetown approved the creation of a new Living Learning Community, Crossroads, which will act as a shared residential space where students can learn about and reflect on concepts of gender and sexuality as part of a process dedicated to forming deeper understandings of themselves and others.

This accomplishment is major and unprecedented for a Catholic university, and it states powerfully that belonging to this campus should not be a privilege—it is a right. We, as students, have a right to demand spaces and communities that give us a sense of belonging and meaning, and the university has every mandate to accept these terms with an open heart and an open mind. We need spaces to call our own, and we need Living Learning Communities to give us that institutional commitment to intellectual, social and emotional growth beyond the confines of a classroom, in residential spaces.

In the wake of its approval, Crossroads has been met with a wide range of responses, from harsh criticism to joyous celebration. Some argue Crossroads shows a further digression from the Catholic roots on which this university prides so strongly; others center on the idea that this LLC is a manifestation of the core Jesuit values.

Georgetown’s acceptance of this LLC makes the profound and radical statement that religion and the freedom to challenge and grow through expressions of and reflection on gender and sexuality do not have to be mutually exclusive.

This institutional support signifies Georgetown’s commitment to making a home for all its students. It says: Come as you are, be who you are, love how you do and we will make a home for you.

I am here to say it is time to celebrate. This decision is Catholicism at its finest.

This is the Catholicism that Georgetown has taught me to know and love. A Catholicism grounded in a knowledge and care of the self. A Catholicism grounded in contemplation and dialogue, community and diversity. A Catholicism that understands the intersection of faith and justice and considers them inseparable. A Catholicism that gives home to the whole person and to every person.

This home is the product of two years of work. This LLC did not come easily, and its construction was a laborious one wrought with conflict and disagreement. Georgetown, as an institution, was simply not ready for this until now. It took two years to prove that the community Crossroads would create is not only immensely needed but also powerfully relevant to an institution whose ideological core is—and must be— inclusion and acceptance.

Crossroads holds Georgetown accountable to the promises of its Jesuits principles and demands that they be put into practice both immediately and meaningfully. This act of creating home feels like deliverance of those principles manifested as concrete and physical spaces that we can call our own and in which we can find refuge, challenge and growth. It is only when we have given each other those experiences of journey that we have succeeded.

Thus, Crossroads is a lesson that we must fight for home. Home is an increasingly elusive safety at a time of systemic denial marked by the constant uprooting of our foundational rights and freedoms. When every day is spent trying to hold our walls and roofs together, home becomes the tension with which we try to tie together who we are and what we want for ourselves.

Fighting for home means demanding spaces, at any level, where we can stop. Take a breath. Be who we are. Learn who we are. And do so in community.

Here’s to the home that Crossroads will create. May it teach us all to learn and love more deeply.

Grace Smith is a senior in the College. For further information and to apply to live in Crossroads, please visit this website.

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