A crowd of 15 students and activists gathered at the Mortara Center on Wednesday evening to protest a speech by former Colombian President Alvaro Uribe Velez, rekindling the demonstrations that punctuated his arrival on campus and continued throughout the fall semester.
Uribe’s appointment as a Distinguished Scholar in the Practice of Global Leadership in the School of Foreign Service last year sparked ire from the Adios Uribe coalition, which claims that Uribe was responsible for large-scale human rights abuses during his presidency.
Hoisting signs that read “Desecrating Jesuit Values” and “Generating Bad Press for Georgetown,” the protesters were forced to stay on the sidewalk across from the center, which is located at 36th and O Streets, by Department of Public Safety officers and members of the event staff.
Alleging that Uribe has committed various war crimes and human rights violations, the protestors vowed to continue to voice their concerns until some compromise about Uribe’s role is reached.
“They say they want dialogue, but they won’t dialogue with us directly,” Walker Grooms (GRD ’11) said.
Grooms added that the group hopes to have a direct meeting with University President John J. DeGioia, who he believes is the only person who can reverse the appointment of Uribe as a Distinguished Scholar. According to university officials, however, Uribe’s appointment is not slated to extend past this academic year.
“President Uribe’s commitment is for one academic year and that remains the case,” University Spokeswoman Julie Bataille said in an email to The Hoya in December.
The protesters also complained about the lack of transparency in Uribe’s schedule, saying that the secrecy hinders their efforts and the general student body’s ability to access a resource on campus.
According to a March 13 article in The Chronicle of Higher Education, Uribe’s lectures are off the record.
Adios Uribe is planning to have more protests this semester once they get a better grasp on where Uribe will be.
“We just wanted to come out and let Uribe know we’re here,” Cassandra Waters (LAW ’13) said.
– Hoya Staff Writer Caitlin Mac Neal contributed to this report.