Category: Messages to the Community

Title: Update on Student Protest in Healy Hall

Date Published: February 26, 2020

Dear Members of the Georgetown Community,

Beginning on Monday, February 24, a group of students, the Black Survivors Coalition, has been engaging in a protest in Healy Hall. These students have raised important concerns about our campus climate and how our campus resources could be improved to meet the needs of students, particularly students of color.

We respect our students and are committed to hearing their stories and their lived experiences. President DeGioia and administrators from a number of departments have met with students on the specific topics that they have raised since Monday morning. These colleagues include academic leadership along with leaders from our offices of Counseling and Psychiatric Services (CAPS), Georgetown University Police Department (GUPD), Institutional Diversity, Equity & Affirmative Action, Title IX, and several other Student Affairs administrators.

The students have proposed many ideas for improving the responsiveness of our resources. We are writing today to share some of the student proposals and some of the commitments we have made to students. You can review student proposals and University commitments below. We see these commitments as the start of our work, rather than its completion. We recognize that continuing to improve the culture of Georgetown University, so it is a welcoming and supportive place for all students, will require a long term effort. We are firmly committed to that effort.

President DeGioia will also be sharing a message with the community in the days ahead to offer reflections on our way forward with this important work. Creating a welcoming and responsive environment in which all students can thrive will require sustained work and dedication from all members of our community.

We look forward to updating you on our progress and our shared work ahead.

Sincerely,

Rosemary E. Kilkenny, Esq.
Vice President, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion and Chief Diversity Officer

Todd A. Olson, Ph.D.
Vice President for Student Affairs

 

Hire more Black clinicians

Yes – CAPS has recently hired three new clinicians. All three of these clinicians are people of color – two are Black women and one brings advanced trauma expertise to the role. They will all begin by the start of the fall semester 2020.

Immediately following spring break, we will hire external clinicians to come to campus and provide additional counseling for our students, building on our approach from last semester.

 

Bolster Women’s Center capacity for supporting survivors

Ongoing – We will enhance programming focused on gender-based violence.

A new associate director of the Women’s Center, Annie Selak, has recently been hired (there was no Ph.D. requirement for this position).

 

Require comprehensive mandatory diversity, bias and bystander training for deans, faculty, coaches and Student Affairs staff

Yes – All new faculty and staff are required to complete RESPECT Training: Preventing Discrimination, Harassment, and Sexual Misconduct.

In addition, we will launch a new online suite of supplemental courses soon and no later than fall 2020.

The Athletics Department also routinely offers training for the coaching staff as well as other support staff related to these issues, in collaboration with internal and external partners.

 

Establish the Women’s and Gender Studies (WGST) Department

The College has completed final interviews with candidates to direct the WGST program. Academic leaders will also review current courses to ensure the most appropriate curriculum.

 

Establish comprehensive crisis response resources on campus

Staff from Residential Living and GUPD are on duty 24/7 and they routinely respond to student needs during nighttime and weekend hours.

Interim measures including housing reassignments are promptly put in place as needed. We use an established system for tracking open beds.

For mental health emergencies after-hours, CAPS offers an after-hours phone service through a partnership with Fonemed, a national provider of on-call behavioral health services to ensure 24/7 access to services.

24-hour confidential services are provided by RAINN (Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network Online Hotline).

DC Rape Crisis Center – 202-333-RAPE

UASK DC – Download the app or go to UASK DC website.

We will continue working to enhance our current crisis response framework and will engage with students on approaches to improvements.

 

Continue to meet the demands of the S.T.O.P. Coalition

Yes – As noted above, CAPS has recently hired a clinician with advanced trauma expertise who will start by the fall.

Both vacant positions in IDEAA have now been filled by persons of color. The Title IX investigator position was filled February 24, 2020, by Sarah Onori and the associate vice president for equal opportunity, affirmative action and compliance was filled on January 27, 2020, by Olabisi “Bisi” Ladeji Okubadejo.

All GUPD officers receive cultural competency and implicit bias training, and we commit to working with our students to involve them in this training. We will make the content of the training available to students.

We commit to continuing student inclusion in the hiring processes for Title IX and Student Affairs-related positions. We commit to providing regular updates on vacant positions.

We commit to providing students with quarterly updates on our work relating to Title IX, sexual violence and the campus climate.

 

Provide more funding for SAPE and extend bystander training

Yes – Additional funds will be provided for the SAPE Program.

Bystander training is required for all new students. It is enforced through registration holds, which has enabled full compliance.

We commit to revising and enhancing training for student leaders to ensure comprehensive coverage of these vital topics and make sure that implementation of training is trauma informed with opt-outs as needed.

We are currently reviewing the revised curriculum and will customize it for Georgetown (both new students and student leaders) and modify it to meet the needs of student groups and organizations.

 

Improve safe transportation

Yes – We commit to SAPE training for all SafeRide student drivers by Monday, March 30.

We will ensure appropriate screening of all SafeRide student drivers to ensure that they have a clean conduct record regarding sexual misconduct issues and/or physical violence.

A third SafeRide van will be added by Monday, March 2.

A fourth SafeRide van, for peak days (Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday), will be added by Monday, March 16.

 

Establish an endowment for the Off-Campus Mental Health Stipend

We will increase the level of institutional resources committed to this program, while we work to secure donor support. For the 2020-2021 academic year, we commit to a minimum of $15,000 in this fund for undergraduates.

We are working with donors to provide sustained resources, including a potential endowment.