In all the controversy surrounding the GUSA election and the Diversity Requirement, one thing which didn’t get much attention but should have was when GUSA managed to give the finger to Catholics at Georgetown. In passing the 2015 student budget, Georgetown’s “student leaders” did an end run around the long-standing University policy of not providing funding or access to benefits to organizations which “foster hatred or intolerance of others because of their race, nationality, gender, religion or sexual preference, or are inconsistent with acceptable conduct at an American university committed to the Roman Catholic moral tradition.”
In other words, H*yas for Choice, which had its funding and access to benefits pulled twenty-five years ago (back then it was known as “GU Choice”) because abortion is inconsistent with the Catholic faith, now receives financial assistance and in-kind benefits from Georgetown University.
It all has to do with a mandatory student activities fee the administration collects and will penalize students for if they refuse to pay. This includes pro-life students who don’t want their money funding a student club whose primary reason for existing is to promote the killing of tiny humans. The revenue from this student fee goes into a University bank account controlled by University employees who are overseen by President Jack DeGioia.
For all intents and purposes it is University money.
GUSA gets to decide how to allocate these funds because they’re the ones who led the effort to create the student activities fee back in the early 2000s. The 2015-2016 GUSA budget has a special line item to provide in-kind benefits to H*yas for Choice in the form of free on-campus storage space, which is jokingly referred to as the “condom storage cage.”
The article notes, however, that GUSA has been using the proceeds from this mandatory student fee the University collects to regularly provide financial assistance to H*yas for Choice for an unknown period of time via what’s known as the GUSA Fund. H*yas for Choice has received so much money in fact, that club President Abby Grace stated she considers the money as constituting “a large portion of our operating costs.”
The GUSA Fund started in 2010 as way for GUSA to bypass the Student Activities Commission (SAC) and react quickly to student funding needs for emergencies and other unforeseen events which were time-sensitive and unlikely to be addressed by SAC’s slow and bureaucratic processes. When it passed, The Voice reported the “[GUSA] Fund will only be able to give money to groups that have already been granted access to benefits through SAC, and organizations receiving money from the Fund will have to ‘make it known’ that GUSA has co-sponsored the event.” This meant unrecognized groups like H*ya’s for Choice wouldn’t benefit. Since then, a certain amount of money has been set aside each year and members of GUSA’s Finance and Appropriation Committee meet weekly to discuss GUSA Fund requests and vote on which will be approved.
In 2012 GUSA moved away from focusing on SAC-approved clubs to funding organizations that did not yet have or had been denied “access to benefits” because they either had not applied or were not in accordance with University policy. The abortionistas at H*yas for Choice, of course, fall into the latter category, and for the last twenty-five years have not received University funding or access to benefits because, to quote University policy on the matter, they are a club which“[d]irectly and substantially advocates positions inconsistent with Roman Catholic moral tradition.”
Last month TGA reached out to Abby Grace via email to ask how much in University funding has been provided to H*yas for Choice using the GUSA Fund. She emailed back but refused to give us an answer. We also talked to a few GUSA members and inquired as to how much money H*yas for Choice has received. They didn't know. We made an effort at finding the information on the GUSA website, but aside from the posting the GUSA Constitution and Senate By-Laws, there are no other documents available to the public, including the absence of any recently passed legislation or this year’s GUSA budget. And, of course, neither The Hoya nor The Voice have chosen to objectively examine the issue.
For good measure we sent requests for comments to Father Kevin O'Brien, S.J., Vice President for Mission and Ministry, who heads up the Office of Campus Ministry and Todd A. Olson, Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students, who oversees student activities. We also contacted Father Joseph Lingan, S.J., the Rector of the Jesuit Community at Georgetown. We informed each individual of GUSA’s apparent violation of longstanding University policy to not provide University funds to an organization like H*yas for Choice and asked for their comments.
No one has responded yet.
If they do we’ll post them on the blog and update this page.