SAC Votes Not to Sanction Love Saxa

November 4, 2017

The Student Activities Commission (SAC) voted to not sanction student group Love Saxa in a hearing 1 a.m. Friday morning. The hearing was in response to a complaint brought forward by Jasmin Ouseph (SFS ‘19) and Chad Gasman (COL ‘20), who accused Love Saxa of violating university organization standards and fostering an “environment of intolerance” towards LGBTQ students.

The commission voted after two hours of closed-door deliberations. SAC decisions are recommendations to the university administration.

This session was SAC’s second meeting on Ouseph’s and Gasman’s complaint. Love Saxa is a student group that advocates for healthy relationships, specifically for abstinence before marriage and the shunning of pornography. Gasman and Ouseph took issue with Love Saxa’s view of marriage as only between one man and one woman, which they said violated Georgetown’s Student Organization Standards. The standards prohibit groups whose “purpose and activities foster hatred or intolerance based on  . . . sexual preference” from receiving school funds and recognition. Amelia Irvine (COL ‘19) and Hunter Estes (SFS ‘19), Love Saxa leaders, denied the accusation, saying their group promotes a certain view of marriage without disparaging or degrading any other groups on campus.

SAC’s board members each gave a reason for their vote. Those who voted in favor of Love Saxa explained that Love Saxa’s activities and the speakers they brought to campus were protected under free speech. Love Saxa’s events largely center on the harmful effects of pornography, the U.S.’s rising divorce rate, and the merits of chastity.

Dissenting opinions held that Love Saxa’s constitution and an op-ed written by Irvine for The Hoya demonstrate an intolerant purpose because they support the denial of LGBTQ people’s right to marry others of same sex. Some members also said they did not think the speakers which Love Saxa had invited were admissible, saying free speech does not protect intolerant speech.

“Eight straight, white people basically just told us homophobia doesn’t exist,” Ouseph said after the session. The Voice has no information as to the SAC commissioners’ race or sexual orientation.

While Love Saxa’s funding and university recognition remain intact, Irvine looks to move past the controversy. “I wish the process hadn’t been so divisive,” she said. “Our objectives moving forward will definitely be to try to smooth that over.”

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