On the morning of Friday, September 16, multiple anti-choice protesters descended on Georgetown’s campus, carrying posters with pictures of aborted fetuses and various pamphlets and fliers to force upon students. These protesters were from a group entirely unaffiliated with Georgetown, and they harassed students as they left their residence halls, went from class to class, and tried to go about their lives undisturbed.
These protesters flung harmful and hateful language at unsuspecting passersby hoping only to provoke a response, asking random students questions like “How many babies have you killed?” Not satisfied just with verbally accosting students, the group went as far as to target H*yas for Choice co-president Emily Stephens’ townhouse with their harassment. At various times, the protesters attempted to enter and bully students outside of campus hubs like Lauinger Library, along Library Walk near Village A, and by the front gates. After GUPD removed them from their on-campus locations, they continued to shout at and confront students from the moment students took one step off campus.
H*yas for Choice was angered and disappointed to learn of the deplorable actions these protesters engaged in on Friday morning. On top of their disgraceful behavior, the views they espoused were malicious, misinformed, and, at the end of the day, medically inaccurate. We condemn this harassment and their downright ignorant actions. Upon reflection, what is perhaps ultimately more upsetting is the complete lack of action on behalf of the University or GUSA to acknowledge the pain inflicted on our community Friday morning.
Earlier last week, Dr. Jeanne Lord and Dr. Todd Olson wrote an email that reaffirmed Georgetown’s previously stated policy on social fraternities and sororities. In response, GUSA pledged their support of Greek Life, writing an email to the student body the next day. The administrative email changed nothing about Georgetown’s policy and merely reinforced that certain student activities would not receive University recognition or funding. If the administration’s email merited a response from GUSA, certainly the harassment of students deserves some sort of GUSA action.
As an unrecognized student group, H*yas for Choice can sympathize with the frustration of some students at the administration’s reiteration of Georgetown’s position on Greek life. There is an important and, honestly, rather obvious distinction though between hearing the administration restate a well-known policy that you disagree with and being harassed and intimidated as you try to go about your daily business.
H*yas for Choice believes that students deserve to be able to go to class without being harassed. We believe that students should be able to walk out of their homes in the morning without labels of “baby-killer” being thrown at them. And we believe that when these kind of incidents happen on campus, the organization that is intended to represent students, if not the administration themselves, should respond in some way. This is not a pro-choice vs. pro-life issue, this is an issue of students feeling safe when going about their daily activities. Enushe, Chris, and the Georgetown University Student Association, you signed a message to students this week with the promise that you are “fully behind” us as students. Say something about Friday’s harassment, and prove you mean it.
Kory Stuer (COL ’19) is the Organizing Coordinator of H*yas for Choice.