Georgetown University has formally apologized to students and alumni following a university police response to an off-campus H*yas for Choice protest last week that sparked outrage.
On September 22, the Georgetown Department of Public Safety (DPS) forced the H*yas for Choice to relocate from an off-campus sidewalk, where they were “quietly presenting an alternative view” to the school’s decision to grant an honorary degree to Washington, DC Archbishop Donald Wuerl. In a response to more than 200 alumni signed on to a letter to university President John J. DeGioia expressing concerns about the incident, the Georgetown University Vice President for Student Affairs and the Vice President of Public Affairs seemed to call the event a misunderstanding.
In the letter to alumni, university leadership said the removal “should not have occurred.” According to school officials, the officer involved invited the students to move back to their original location after “realizing the mistake,” but Police Chief Jay Gruber has scheduled additional training for DPS officers about students’ rights under the University’s Speech and Expression policy in light of the incident. “We share Chief Gruber’s regret in how our DPS officer responded in this case and please know that we will work to prevent it from happening in the future,” the letter stated.
H*yas for Choice, a student group, is not formally recognized by the university. The President of the organization, Abby Grace, said the group chose the protest location precisely because University police forced them to relocate there during a different protest last year.
Media Resources: RH Reality Check 9/29/14; Feminist Newswire 9/30/14; Erin to the Max 10/6/14