Michelle Xu

Foolish is the idea that every action carried out by Georgetown University is a unified one. Inevitably, we disagree as a community. When we open up those differences to discussion, we find an aspect of Georgetown that actually unites us: pluralism.

Yet, when a silent H*yas for Choice protest was removed late Monday afternoon from its position outside the front gates, it plainly called into question where pluralism lies on our list of priorities.

Officially, the Georgetown University Police Department asked the group to relocate because of heavy foot traffic to and from the honorary degree event for Donald Cardinal Wuerl, the archbishop of Washington. However, if this reason is scrutinized, a different picture begins to emerge. The location where H*yas for Choice chose to table was the same spot to which they were relocated during a similar protest last year, away from their previous location of choice in Healy Circle.

Also, compared to similar setups in front of the front gates, it seems unlikely that GUPD would move H*yas for Choice merely to clear the way for pedestrians. During New Student Orientation, for example, tables are set up in that same location when parents and students are arriving to campus for the year. During commencement, the Dorm2Dorm moving service sets up a sales booth in this same location. Despite the heavy foot traffic that accompanies these end-of-year events, these organizations are allowed to remain. If Georgetown’s concern is pedestrians, then more groups than just H*yas for Choice should be affected.

Foot traffic notwithstanding, it might seem disgraceful to some that H*yas for Choice chose to demonstrate in opposition to Cardinal Wuerl’s reception of an honorary degree. Conversely, many students feel betrayed to see someone who is so staunchly against LGBTQ rights and women’s health receive such an award from our university.

Both sides have their merits. A naturally proceeding, healthy discussion will continue to be the best way to carve out a solution to these disagreements. Preventing H*yas for Choice from demonstrating its opinion by the front gates does not advance this pluralistic goal.


  1. Concerned student says:

    No, both sides do not have merits. Why on earth would it be controversial for the nation’s oldest Catholic university to confer an honorary degree on the Cardinal Archbishop of Washington? Does this editorial board or H*yas for Choice actually expect a Catholic Bishop to support abortion or homosexual marriage? The Church has stood for life and marriage for 2,000 years and isn’t about to change on your account. You’re attending a Catholic university — live with it.

    • Another Student says:

      Yes it’s a Catholic university, but that does not mean that everyone here must agree with the traditional opinions of the Catholic Church. H*yas for Choice may have been a bit antagonistic in the placement of their peaceful protest, but they are allowed to disagree. They are allowed to voice their opinions. It seemed as though the university was trying to hide them because they are ashamed of the group. I don’t necessarily think the protest was the best decision, but if Georgetown is as dedicated to pluralism as it would have us believe then it needs to be ok with the fact that there are diverse, and even conflicting opinions here, and that students aren’t going to remain silent so that the university can save face.

    • appalled student says:

      Catholic University or not, no institution has the grounds to alienate members of their institution with differing view points.
      The University chose to give an honorary degree to someone who rejects certain aspects of LGBTQ and Women’s rights. They are perfectly able and just in doing so, and the ceremony was a success.
      However, this does not mean that H*yas for Choice should have to agree with the conferring of the degree, or that they should have to ignore it. Differing view points should be allowed to be expressed without controversy–especially as H*yas for Choice led a SILENT, non-disruptive protest.
      You live in a pluralistic community–live with it.

  2. hypocrisy patrol says:

    Wasn’t the protest, itself, against pluralism? In understand that they were not protesting the Cartinal Archbishop, but rather, the UNiversity’s decision to honor someone with whom the disagree, Let’s be honest, H*yas for Choice appears to believe in pluralism only when it benefits them.

    • hypocrisy patrol patrol says:

      Remember, the name is H*yas for CHOICE, not H*yas for abortion. It doesn’t object to people who choose not to have abortions, but only to people who impose anti-abortion views on everyone else.

    • appalled student says:

      Absolutely not. If H*yas for Choice had decided not to protest, the only view point that would have been expressed is that Georgetown supports the opposition of LGBTQ and Women’s rights. By setting up their own camp, H*yas for choice added a second voice to the conversation, which is the very point of pluralism. The University had their voice in the conversation when choosing the Archbishop.

      I am personally disgusted that the University showed such a bias in asking them to move, and would like to call up someone to answer what is the point of every freshman class participating in “Pluralism in Action” at NSO, when the silencing of opinions is clearly institutionalized.

  3. hypocrisy patrol says:

    Now without the typos:

    Wasn’t the protest, itself, against pluralism? I understand that they were not protesting Cardinal Archbishop, but rather, the University’s decision to honor someone with whom they disagree,

    Let’s be honest, H*yas for Choice appears to believe in pluralism only when it benefits them.

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