The administration’s brewing dissent for the Healy Pub proposal came to a head Wednesday when University President John J. DeGioia indicated that approval is unlikely for the student effort.
“[The Healy Pub] is not part of the vision for addressing the needs of student space at Georgetown,” he said.
In a meeting with student press, DeGioia and Vice President for Student Affairs Todd Olson clearly expressed that a student space in Healy Hall will not be a piece of the planned expansion of gathering space on campus.
Pub proponents said they were unfazed by the comments and vowed to press forward with their campaign.
“We’ve known his position for months, this in no way deters our efforts … We’re looking forward to be able to argue it in person,” said Chris Pigott (COL ’12), one of the founders of the effort. “We have arguments that have not been heard by anyone.”
Olson told reporters that a New South student space was a priority and that conversations about serving alcohol in the venue will “But clearly what’s in there is not going to be the same as the Healy Pub was. But I think it can be and very much wants to be an equally appealing place for students to gather and have fun together,” Olsen said.
According to Colton Malkerson (COL ’13), Georgetown University Student Association Finance and Appropriations Committee chairman, there are set plans for the pub proposal working group to present a revised plan to DeGioia and the administration.
“Until that meeting takes place, it would be hard for President DeGioia to give a completely educated response to the proposal,” he said.
DeGioia backed his position with a number of concerns about the viability of a pub space on the Hilltop. He referenced the failed pub attempt in the Leavey Center and the issues that it presented from a legal and financial perspective. The Leavey Pub, the successor of the Healey Pub, was closed in 1994.
“I recognize from our alumni community the nostalgia that they have for this extraordinary experience that they had. But what I don’t think that they appreciate is that they were the last ones to have that experience,” DeGioia said.
He also raised concerns about the effects that the proposal might have on the community.
“We have not demonstrated in this changed environment that we can manage a pub on campus and the way in which the Healy Pub characterized this campus from 1974 to 1988,” he said. “I certainly can attest to the enjoyment that facility gave to my generation; [however], the alumni who have been enthusiastic about this project have forgotten that beginning in 1986, the laws changed.”
Pigott said he felt that the movement still carries weight.
“Until we are allowed to voice the full merits of the proposal …and the guarantee that it can be done well, until he hears that, I’m not going to take any [statement] at face value,” he said.
DeGioia and Olsen emphasized the administration’s continued focus on the development of space in New South and working with students to include their input in the design. .
“We take seriously the need to improve student gathering space and we want our students to feel welcome on campus,” Olsen said.
“But it’s a bridge too far, I think, to get to the Healy Pub,” DeGioia added.
–Hoya Staff Writer Lauren Weber contributed to this report.