During our time at Georgetown, we have the opportunity to serve in many different organizations. I chose to spend my first two years serving on GUSA. Unfortunately, I no longer feel that I can serve the student body through this student association. On Tuesday, Sept. 9, I resigned as New South Project Manager as a result of my interview for student representative to the University’s Board of Directors. During this interview I feel I was unfairly disrespected, to the point of discrimination on the basis of religion.

Why should you care? Because this is a story about GUSA assembly members who decided to sabotage a candidate’s interview before it even began. This is a story about an interview that was not based on the candidate’s qualifications or ideas for the position, but on her religious affiliation. This is a story about an assembly that refused to correct or apologize for the wrongs it committed. This is a story about an executive that appointed his campaign manager to a position, over the will of the interviewing committee. This is also a story about your representatives to the University’s Board of Directors: four white males who in no way represent the diversity that Georgetown prides itself on.

The story begins with my interview in April. Although the scheduled time for these interviews was 30 minutes, my interview was well over 50 minutes long. This discrepancy was not because the interviewers were interested in my vision for the position or how I would effect change. Instead, my interview centered on my beliefs regarding Georgetown’s Catholic identity. Although my Protestant beliefs may differ from the Catholic Church on some social issues, I stressed during my interview that I believe that Catholicism gives Georgetown its soul, and that I can stand behind most of the decisions the university makes. At one point during the interview, I feel I was forced to reveal that I am not Catholic. When I declared that my religion is not in the majority here, one Assembly member threw himself back in his chair and said, “well, in that case.”, as if simply by the fact that I am not Catholic I am somehow unable to serve Georgetown.

I found out later that the other candidates were not questioned as extensively in the same derogatory manner that I was. More importantly, the other candidates were not questioned on Catholicism or its relation to the university. I wondered, if Catholicism at Georgetown is so important, why would the interviewers only choose to question me on the issue? Many of the other candidates are not Catholic either. Why weren’t they questioned as I was? I believe that only a select few GUSA representatives had issues with my possible appointment to the Board of Directors. They used my status as a non-Catholic as leverage against me.

On April 27, I sent a detailed letter to the GUSA Assembly, recounting the treatment I received during the interview. The assembly chose not to correct the situation by holding a new set of interviews. The Assembly chose not to sanction the parties responsible for the treatment I received. The Assembly did not even chose to send me a formal response. The Assembly chose to do nothing.

Although both President Brian Morgenstern (COL ’05) and GUSA Assembly Chair Jack Ternan (COL ’04) have suggested that I did not receive the appointment to the Board of Directors due to my qualifications, evidence speaks otherwise. My appointment as one of the first freshman SAC commissioners led to one and a half years of devoted service to the clubs and student body of Georgetown. In addition, I have served on the New South Advisory Committee and the Homecoming 2003 Steering committee, and have actively participated in numerous clubs on campus. My qualifications were not in question at this interview or in the decision.

My motives for this resignation need to be clear. First, I no longer wish to work for an organization that treats its volunteers the way GUSA has treated me. Moreover, I hope to increase campus visibility of what goes on in our student government. Many good people who are interested in serving Georgetown through student government choose not to, and I want the campus to know why this dedicated servant can no longer work for this group.

Granted, not everyone shares the same opinions I do on this issue. But that should not stop you from questioning what your representatives to GUSA have accomplished. I hope that through future GUSA elections this student body will stand up and tell its representatives what student government should be.

Hannah Powell is a junior in the School of Foreign Service.

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