Establishing the Jesuit Politburo

August 31, 2006

As the new academic year begins, six campus Protestant groups have been informed that their relationship with the University has been “terminated.” All six are outside groups with chapters on Georgetown’s campus. Now, only groups affiliated with the school’s official Campus Ministry will be recognized. The school’s apparent newfound desire to have its control over every facet of the vibrant and optimally independent student culture on campus must be stopped. This intrusion into student autonomy not only blocks essential freedom of expression, but also severely cheapens the remarkable non-academic achievements of Georgetown students.

While The Voice may not agree with all of the policies some of the student groups espouse (like InterVarsity’s ban on homosexual members, for instance), to banish them to the campus netherworld runs counter to the school’s longstanding reputation for religious tolerance and unnecessarily tightens University control of students’ non-academic lives.

This move towards centralized control is not new. It all began last year in the theater program. While the University-run Program in Performing Arts expanded and the addition of a theater major became a real possibility, student theater groups such as Nomadic Theater, Mask & Bauble, and the Black Theater Ensemble found themselves struggling to gain access to the brand new, state-of-the-art Davis Performing Arts Center. Student groups with histories dating back over 150 years became second-class citizens, it seems, once they were seen as competitors for student actors and resources to the (usually inferior) University program. The problem is not the existence of the PPA, but rather its suffocation of the already-existing theater groups on campus.

Next came the battle our fellows-in-print at The Hoya waged for independence. As much as we may jest about our older-but-slightly-less-intelligent brother, (we, like woman, were born from their rib but became more beautiful), it is clear their admirable vision for independence was modeled after other successful campus papers such as the University of Pennsylvania’s Daily Pennsylvanian. The use of the name “Hoya” was a longtime sticking point in negotiations for their independence, though it was not the lone reason the push did not come to fruition. The University’s protection of the name seems a desperate maneuver with the lone effect of stifling the potential flourishing of an autonomous student organization.

While each of these maneuvers may seem only a temporary lapse in the University’s judgment when taken alone, together they become a disconcerting narrative that shows Georgetown headed down a slippery slope. It is time for the school to temper its sudden impulse toward Stalinist levels of control and allow student life to flourish, as it always has.

Editorial Board
The Editorial Board is the official opinion of the Georgetown Voice. Its current composition can be found on the masthead. The Board strives to publish critical analyses of events at both Georgetown and in the wider D.C. community. We welcome everyone from all backgrounds and experience levels to join us!

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