Students remember hate crimes

By the

February 8, 2001

Yesterday evening a small crowd of students gathered in Red Square to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the rally organized by the Georgetown Unity Coalition. Last year’s rally had a theme of “no tolerance for intolerance,” and leaders said they attempted to unite students against the slew of hate crimes which had occurred on campus.
The vigil was the idea of Adeyinka Oyesile (CAS ‘03), a member of the Black Students’ Alliance. She said that she received support from the BSA, the Georgetown chapter of the NAACP, GU Pride, GUSA, the Caribbean Culture Club and members of the Unity Coalition to organize the vigil.
“The reason why it wasn’t as impactful this year was because of the organization,” said Oyesile. “The organization of the vigil didn’t start until this semester.”
Hector Lopez (SFS ‘02), founding member of Unity Coalition, did not attend the vigil because of scheduling conflicts, but said that the organizers had his support. Lopez said he thought the vigil’s poor attendance was not a sign of disinterest in the student body.
“I think students are still concerned with it and are still aware. I think we learned a lot last year,” he said.
The Georgetown Unity Coalition was established last February in response to the vandalism of the Jewish Student Association’s menorah and several racial and homophobic slurs written on University property. The Unity Coalition is divided into separate committees focusing on community building and programming on campus, safety and security, reviewing the student code of conduct and the implementation of diversity programming into the University curriculum.
“As soon as students and administrators started working together, a lot of things got done,” Lopez said. He said that the Office of Student Program and the Office of Student Affairs projected that a change in the Student Code of Conduct would take approximately three years.
This past summer, “bias-related crimes” were added as a violation of the University’s Student Code of Conduct after several meetings between Unity Coalition members and administrators. “We did it in three months,” Lopez said, “we pushed it through all the necessary people.”

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