University President John DeGioia decided not to participate in an open forum during National Coming Out Week. The week’s events come in the wake a recent alleged hate crime involving Georgetown students, which led to a large rally last week and promises of greater cooperation between the University administration and GU Pride leaders.
“[DeGioia] recognizes that there’s a need for his office to be involved in the conversation in some way,” Assistant Director of Student Programs and LGBTQ Coordinator Bill McCoy said. “[H]e asked to be given some time to think about the best way for him to be involved.”
Pride members were told by administration officials last Monday that DeGioia would possibly be present during the open forum. But VP of Student Affairs Todd Olson and Director of the Center for Minority Educational Affairs Dennis Williams were the only officials guaranteed, according to Williams.
DeGioia announced his decision in a Tuesday meeting between the administration and executive members of Pride.
Pride is trying to reschedule the forum so that DeGioia can be present. Whether or not it will hold the forum, even if DeGioia is not present, is uncertain. Pride’s co-president Scott Chessare (COL ’10) said in an e-mail sent to Pride members on Tuesday that he was doubtful whether DeGioia would actually participate in the Wednesday forum. However, now he is confident that Pride will be able to get DeGioia to take part in a rescheduled forum. Pride plans to pressure the DeGioia and the administration by possibly holding another rally.
“The only thing [DeGioia] would concretely say is that the University is going to change its policies on how it reports bias and hate related incidents in the future,” Chessare said. “But with the more substantial demands of the LGBTQ Resource Center, including a full-time director position as well as more education program, he wouldn’t commit to anything.”
Todd Olson said that the administration is actively involved with the students who have raised concerns about the Resource Center and more educational programs.
“A group of faculty and administrators has been meeting with the students already,” Olson said. “At this point, it’s too early to say that ‘Here are the outcomes that’ll actually happen.’”