Increase in bias-related incidents around campus

November 23, 2016

Photo: Georgetown Voice

In the past two weeks, the number of bias-related incidents on Georgetown’s campus and the surrounding community have increased compared to the average number of such cases.

Jay Gruber, chief of the Georgetown University Police Department (GUPD), wrote in an e-mail to the Voice that the number of reported hate and bias episodes has slightly, yet noticeably, risen since early November. GUPD does not have any suspects in these cases at the moment.

On Nov. 17, students received an email from Gruber and Todd Olsen, vice president for student affairs, about two bias-related incidents that had occurred the previous week. According to the e-mail, one student reported that he had been spit on while walking along Prospect Street on Nov. 13, and the student believed his Asian ethnicity was the reason he was targeted. Another student, who was wearing a scarf, reported that she was told to remove her scarf after she was pushed down on Nov. 11, also while walking on Prospect. In both instances, the perpetrators were reported as a group of white men, but GUPD is not sure if the events are related.

Olsen and Gruber condemned these attacks, and expressed Georgetown’s commitment to fostering an inclusive and diverse environment. “Acts of hate and bias are unacceptable and antithetical to our commitment to an inclusive and respectful community,”they wrote in their email.

Louis Mulamula (MSB ‘19) said he was disappointed over the increase in incidents. “It’s really disheartening,” Mulamula said. “There really is no reason to attack someone hurt because of their affiliation or their skin color.”

On Nov. 17, GUSA executives Enushe Khan (MSB ‘17) and Chris Fisk (COL ‘17) also addressed the rise in bias-related incidents throughout the nation’s college campuses as well as Georgetown’s in their weekly email to students. They prompted students to inform GUPD or other university officials about any biased behavior they witness.

To all students fearing for their safety, please remember that this your campus,” they wrote. “As a note for or all students: if you SEE something SAY something. It is on all of us to maintain a safe campus community.”

According to Gruber, GUPD officers are increasing security around locations that may be at increased risk to be targeted for bias-related incidents.

Gruber asked for students to take care of each other and report suspicious individuals or behavior. Olsen and Gruber’s email also outlined several resources available for students, including Counseling and Psychiatric Services and the campus’ chaplains. They encouraged students to also report any bias-related events through the campus’ bias report system.

“We are troubled by these reports and are taking steps to support our students,” they wrote. “As always, counseling and Campus Ministry staff members are available, and we encourage anyone who may be in need of these services to take advantage of them.”

Margaret Gach
Margaret is the former editor-in-chief of The Georgetown Voice. She was a STIA major and heroically fought for the right to make every print headline a pun.


Read More

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments