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

H*yas for Choice Respond to GU Right to Life Demonstration Silenced

Members of H*yas for Choice, a pro-abortion rights group, petitioned for full recognition as a campus group following what they called a violation of their right to demonstrate on campus by the university on April 3.

The group hung a string of black flags in Red Square and tied the strings to neighboring trees, but the flags were cut down later that morning after maintenance workers informed HFC that it was in violation of the university’s speech and expression policy, which prohibits banners and flyers in or hanging from trees.

The display was planned as a response to the anti-abortion group GU Right to Life’s Flag Day, which included planting more than 3,500 blue and pink flags on Copley Lawn to represent the number of abortions performed in the United States each day.

HFC members were informed by university personnel that a Right to Life banner hung on a tree on Copley Lawn would also be removed. HFC members said that the banner remained up for much of the day, however.

Katherine Robinson (COL ’06), HFC’s off-campus and volunteering chair, said that she understood the university policy but thought it unfair that Right to Life set up its demonstration throughout Copley Lawn.

“While Right to Life is able to have such powerful demonstration on Copley Lawn, HFC is limited to having such demonstrations in Red Square, the free speech area,” Robinson said. “If we are further restricted even within this area, HFC cannot successfully have an equally visible and effective display.”

The university denies HFC access to funding and the right to demonstrate on campus outside of Red Square, as well as certain other benefits that it provides other student organizations, because of the Catholic Church’s opposition to abortion.

The removal of the flags has prompted HFC to press for a reduction in what it said are restrictions on its ability to communicate and express itself on campus. The group was in the process of drafting a petition to seek equal treatment for all student groups under the university’s free speech policy.

GU Breaks Ground on Planned New Business Center

Administrators expressed hope that the planned McDonough School of Business Center would propel the undergraduate school into the upper echelons of American business education at the center’s ceremonial groundbreaking on April 4.

Over 50 people, including administrators, donors and board members, attended the brief ceremony held on the west campus’ vacant Lot T, which will serve as the site for the new 170,000-square-foot structure. University President John J. DeGioia joined major donors and MSB officials in donning hardhats at the conclusion of the event as they shoveled the first symbolic heap of dirt in the center’s construction.

Plans for the new MSB Center call for the construction of classrooms and administrative offices, as well as a 400-seat auditorium and an underground parking garage about a quarter as large as the garage beneath the Southwest Quad. Officials expect the center’s construction to be completed in spring 2008.

Kilkenny Named New VP for Campus Diversity

In an effort to increase campus diversity, University President John J. DeGioia announced April 5 the creation of a new vice presidential-level position for institutional diversity and equity, naming Rosemary Kilkenny as the new office’s first head.

Kilkenny, formerly a special assistant to the university president for affirmative action programs, assumed her new position April 1. She said that the administration created the position to develop a “coherent and comprehensive program to promote diversity, equity and inclusivity at Georgetown University.”

Kilkenny said that DeGioia created the position in part to help the university become a model for diversity, and added that her work would help to bring students, faculty and other members of the university community together to work toward common goals.

Immigration Bill Sparks Student Activism

Trying to halt a congressional movement to tighten U.S. immigration laws, several dozen Georgetown students joined an estimated 500,000 protestors at a rally in the Washington Mall on April 10.

Demonstrators called for equality for the United States’ 11-12 million undocumented immigrants. It was one of over 100 protests in cities throughout the nation that day.

A group of nine students from MEChA de Georgetown, a student organization promoting Chicano identity, traveled to Meridian Hill Park, where they met thousands of protesters and marched over two miles to the Mall. The group was met by about 20 other MEChA members at the rally, as well as several Georgetown alumni.

Many members of the group donned white T-shirts with an image of the Statue of Liberty, with “Comprehensive Immigration Reform Now” written prominently on the front in red.

Durbin Predicts Democratic Gains in Midterms

Senator Dick Durbin (D-Ill., SFS ’66, LAW ’69) returned to the Hilltop on April 24 to reflect on his path into politics during a speech in Gaston Hall.

“It meant so much to me to be a student here,” Durbin said. “I didn’t make much of an impact here, but it made an impact on me – a big one.”

Turning to current issues, Durbin predicted that the 2006 midterm elections would serve as a referendum on the current administration and that Democrats would increase their seats in Congress.

Durbin also weighed in on current congressional debates on immigration, saying that he supported provisions for tighter border security, stricter enforcement of immigration laws and a visa program for workers. He said the nation must also address the 11-12 million illegal immigrants within its borders.

“I think we need to create a path, not an easy one, not a short one, for them to become citizens,” he said.

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