Despite its Speech & Expression Policy stating that "’time, place and manner’ are the only norms allowable in governing the expression of ideas and sharing of information that is the very life of the university," Georgetown University has consistently refused to recognize the pro-choice student group H*yas for Choice, saying that doing so would conflict with its Catholic and Jesuit mission. Georgetown’s Access to Benefits Policy denies groups like H*yas for Choice equal treatment among student groups, contradicting its moral and contractual promises of free speech. Further, H*yas for Choice was denied recognition despite the existence of recognized groups of Muslim and Jewish students that explicitly differ from Catholicism. Georgetown has declined to resolve its contradictory and discriminatory statements and actions.
July 15, 2013
Madeline Gootman is a FIRE summer intern. When private universities send out their shiny pamphlets to high school seniors, they highlight their commitment to all things politically correct and otherwise acceptable in academia. However, these commitments to civility, respect, and social comfort are often at odds with the broad promises of free speech that universities make to their incoming students. Unfortunately for students, too many private universities want to have it both ways, promising students the right to free speech and then violating that right when someone’s speech proves too unpopular or controversial. Vanderbilt University’s packet for recently admitted students […]» Read More
May 17, 2012
FIRE Vice President of Programs Adam Kissel comments on a commencement controversy at Georgetown University in The Huffington Post today, arguing that the university should honor its commitment to free speech. Adam contrasts Georgetown’s laudable decision to stick by its promises of free expression in allowing Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius to speak at commencement with the university’s past failure to provide equal treatment to pro-choice student group H*yas for Choice. As Adam notes, Georgetown’s guarantee of freedom of expression cannot be selectively applied.» Read More
May 4, 2010
Is Georgetown University going to live up to its free speech promises or not? A group of pro-choice students at Georgetown, H*yas for Choice, wants equal treatment with other groups on campus, but has been told that it does not deserve equal treatment because its mission conflicts with Georgetown’s Catholic and Jesuit identity. That would be perfectly fine if Georgetown had not actually promised its students and faculty that free expression is fundamental to Georgetown’s own vision of its Catholic and Jesuit identity. And, it would be more understandable if Georgetown had not already provided official recognition and substantial benefits […]» Read More