The president of Georgetown University, the oldest Catholic university in the United States, has promised funding by next fall for a campus center for homosexual activists.
President John DeGioia explained his decision to the press: “How do we respond to legitimate requests for a more supportive environment? We can continue to do this in a somewhat informal manner … or we can move forward in a more organized way, through more formal and institutional structures and processes. In this case, it is time for the latter.”
The campus activist group GU Pride began pressing for concessions from the administration after an alleged hate crime in September when a Georgetown sophomore was arrested for assaulting another student. They have demanded a full-time staff member for their concerns and the elimination of what they consider the college's "intolerance" of homosexuality.
The group was supported by four faculty professors and the Georgetown Voice. In an editorial the Georgetown Voice asked its readers to e-mail the president in protest. The editorial made a vague recommendation, saying that if the university did not act to meet activists' demands, “GU Pride should look to more direct means of enacting change.”
President DeGioia made some remarks about preserving Georgetown's Catholic character. “At a Catholic and Jesuit university, [we] cannot advocate for policies or practices that are counter to Catholic teaching. Part of my responsibility as an administrator … is to ensure that nothing can compromise the integrity of our mission and identity,” he said.
However, he expressed to the activist group "sadness" that Georgetown has been "hostile" toward the homosexual community. An editorial in the campus newspaper The Hoya reports that DeGioia "repeatedly committed himself" to the demands made by GU Pride.
The co-president of GU Pride, Scott Chessare, responded to the president's remarks, saying “We won!”
“I don’t think we would have believed less than two months ago that there would be so much institutional change in such a short amount of time,” he added.
In September many Catholics protested the Georgetown law school's funding for students to engage in pro-abortion lobbying with groups like Planned Parenthood. Georgetown has been repeatedly criticized for poorly maintaining a Catholic identity.