It took two hate crimes in as many months to make it happen, but Georgetown’s administrators have finally made a commitment to support the University’s LGBTQ community. At an open forum last night, President John DeGioia commendably announced that Georgetown will have a fully-staffed, fully-funded LGBTQ resource center by next fall. Three working groups will be created to address the creation of the resource center, the development of a better bias-reporting system and plans for LGBTQ diversity training during New Student Orientation.
DeGioia’s announcements were a long time coming. This fall’s two homophobic hate crimes highlighted Georgetown’s need for a resource center and for major changes in campus culture. At last night’s forum, Bill McCoy, the current part-time coordinator for LGBTQ resources, said that one of the best ways he knows how to help gay and lesbian students here is through his counseling, and the center will allow many more students to have access to him.
The resource center alone isn’t the solution, though, and the two other working groups are crucial for effecting comprehensive change. DeGioia summed up the current situation best when he said, “We have real work to do.”
The bias-reporting system must continue to be improved. Last week, it took DPS less than a day to alert the campus via e-mail that a potentially dangerous character was lurking in an off-campus residence. Meanwhile, it took them five days to notify us of the hate crime, in which a student was allegedly pushed into a wall and endured homophobic slurs, because the alleged victim’s informal report got lost amid DPS’ piles of paperwork, according to GU Pride. DPS must work with the administration to come up with a reliable reporting system so that students will feel confident that their concerns are not ignored.
Still, the best solution is to stop these incidents before they start. Mandatory diversity training in freshman dorms—which GU Pride Co-President Scott Chessare (COL `10) describes as “LGBTQ 101”—should help Hoyas become more tolerant and better allies.
After a long silence, it was encouraging to finally see the administration take what Vice President Todd Olson called a “unique public charge” on this issue. GU Pride and the rest of the student body must continue to work with the administration to make sure that tonight’s talking points become a reality.