In a heightened effort to have its demands heard, members of the Living Wage Coalition walked in on the Georgetown Board of Directors meeting Wednesday after rallying in Red Square.

Ginny Leavell (COL ’05) stood on the stairs of the Reiss building where the meeting was taking place and read the Coalition’s ten demands including a “living wage” for all university workers, which the group said would be $14.93 per hour. Coalition members and other participants in the rally cheered loudly after every demand was read. The group then entered Reiss and headed to the fifth floor where the meeting was taking place.

The interaction between the two groups was peaceful, and the Board allowed Coalition members to discuss their demands.

Mike Wilson (COL ’05) asked the board to “understand the urgency of the situation.”

A Department of Public Safety officer was present during the interaction and followed the students to the main entrance after they left the meeting.

Coalition member Jack Mahoney (COL ’08) said the board was “surprisingly receptive” but also noted that it seemed as if they were “put on the spot.”

“They were trying to determine if we knew what we were really talking about, and I think we definitely proved we did,” said Mahoney.

Board members raised the possibility of a tuition increase to cover the wage increases. Coalition member Diane Foglizzo (SFS ’05) said that tuition would not have to cover the wage hike, but rather Georgetown, as a Jesuit institution, needs to focus its priorities.

“It’s ridiculous for Georgetown to argue that it can’t afford a living wage when President DeGioia just received a $120,000 raise,” said Foglizzo.

At the rally, Coalition members focused on Georgetown’s Catholic and Jesuit ideals chanting, “Poverty wages are ridiculous! My Georgetown is better than this!” Over 50 people were present at the rally.

They were joined by the Rev. Raymond Kemp, S.J., a senior fellow at Georgetown’s Woodstock Theological Institute, who drew a parallel between Jesus coming to “make things right” and Living Wage’s movement to demand justice. He said that “the oldest coalitions for justice are those between workers and students” and that justice, in addition to charity, begins at home.

Coalition member Jessica Rucker (COL ’05) called Georgetown a “plantation” and called for immediate change.

Coalition members Leavell, Rachael Murray (COL ’07), Joel Lopez (COL ’07) and Vikram Tamboli (COL ’06) also made a formal presentation to the Advisory Committee on Business Practices on Thursday. They presented the Coalition’s ten demands and gave a timeline to meet those demands. Leavell said she hopes this will help to make the issue a priority.

“We want energy and support for making this a priority for Georgetown,” Leavell said.

The Coalition is hopeful that the committee, chaired by Senior Vice President Spiros Dimolitsas, will meet on Mar.14 to vote on the Living Wage Coalition’s proposals, according to Leavell. Leavell said she is “really confident” about Mar. 14.

Mahoney said that this would be their “last way of cooperating” with administration on the issue. She said that if the vote on Mar. 14 does not accept the Coalition’s demands, members will take it as a “clear sign” that the administration has “no intention of taking this issue seriously.”

While the Coalition has no definite plans of action after the 14th, they will be “leaving all avenues open,” Mahoney said.

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