Recently, hundreds of Georgetown students were enjoying the view of the Hoyas squashing UNLV at MCI Center. Surrounded by friends and scores of classmates, it was one of those memorable evenings in the life of a second semester senior. Suddenly, the view of center court was obstructed by a group of shuffling students who stood up in unison like a well-rehearsed choir. One would have thought that the Hoyas had pulled off an impressive play, bringing the entire stadium to its feet.

Playing closer attention, it became clear that we were not seeing collective jubilation over the skill of the team. Instead, a fight between two Georgetown students had broken out in the stands. One of the brawlers nearly fell over the guardrail (a 15 to 20 foot drop), saved only by a friend pulling frantically at his limbs. Another GU student was pushed over three rows of stadium seats. What was worse, it became apparent during the usual reenactments and explanations of the scuffle that the fight ensued over a beer.

I think that most of us missed the six or so points that were scored during the struggle as all eyes were fixed on the brawl in the stands. It was startling, however, that few seemed surprised to see two of their fellow classmates starting the brawl that ensued. Instead, they shrugged it off as if this kind of confrontation was commonplace.

So, what does this have to do with David Shick? It was just last winter that Shick’s tragic death shook life on the Hilltop. The two groups in that incident had minor differences and allowed those differences to escalate into major violence. The students involved in that scuffle were under the influence of alcohol and fought over something that was certainly unworthy of death. It was cause for one’s stomach to sink to see a similar scenario at the game. Watching that student narrowly escape what might have been a paralyzing, or even deadly, fall rushed the David Shick incident to the forefront of onlookers’ minds.

What does this show? It illustrates that the tragic lessons of only a few months ago have not been fully digested. Furthermore, our university has resisted taking steps to send any clear and audible messages to students on this subject. This negligence on the part of Georgetown’s administration condones behavior that is dangerous to students as individuals and Georgetown as a community. The lack of caution and judgment on the part of students shows that life-changing lessons have gone unlearned.

Whatever happened to the campaign to release information in the David Shick case? After long discussions, galvanizing support and research, students came to some agreement with administrators. We gathered support by a petition and discussions, and we were prepared to move forward to bring closure to the Georgetown community about this incident.

In a series of meetings between students and administrators, including Jane Genster, the university’s chief counsel, we agreed to move forward to gain the release of some information to the Georgetown community. We agreed to draft a document describing the incident and the university’s response. In subsequent meetings, however, Genster refused to circulate the draft we had agreed upon to the students in the group and became obstinate in her unwillingness to move forward on the issue. It is not surprising that student apathy is so rampant when what seems like agreement and progress is so easily betrayed by the institution’s leadership.

This disappointing outcome reinforces an unfortunate reality about Georgetown. The university is too often held hostage by a desire to project a certain image to the world. That image seems to be the most important goal. Ideals, convictions and mission are all subordinate to the image. This subordination becomes most apparent when the university’s mission and idea of itself are called into question by the administration’s response to challenges that arise. Ideals do not require levels of bureaucrats and spin doctors. They are shaped by the Jesuits, faculty and students who embody the history and possibility of this institution.

Fortunately, David Shick’s mother remains committed to sending a message to the university and the world about preventing incidents like the one that led to her son’s death. The Disciplinary Review Committee has done its part and will be sending recommendations to Vice President for Student Affairs Juan C. Gonzalez and other Georgetown administrators. However, some students have not heeded that message. In the case of David Shick, there remains no closure.

Tawan Davis and Jamal Epps are seniors in the College

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