To the Editor:

The GSC was very disappointed to read the ill-informed editorial published in The Hoya this past Tuesday (“Protest Undermines Progress,” Oct. 26, 2004, A2).

To imply that the Georgetown Solidarity Committee protested last Wednesday in order to receive an apology from a specific administrator for a specific comment or “for the sake of protesting” is ignorant at best and an outright fabrication at worst.

Our protest had a clear and specific purpose. The discussion that had taken place last Tuesday with Dr. Dimolitsas concerned the university’s refusal to place a subcontracted worker on the Advisory Committee on Business Ethics.

Dr. Dimolitsas packed the staff positions on the Committee with salaried executives, though these positions were created in order to have wage earning workers’ input.

Dr. Dimolitsas entirely ignored the clause requiring subcontracted workers’ participation if “legally and practically feasible.”

Of the three positions available to staff only one is a wage earning facilities employee. The other two are filled by the interim executive director of housing (who is indirectly the boss of the facilities employee), and the manager of financial affairs at the Law Center.

Dr. Dimolitsas made his dismissive comment about subcontracted workers and their role in our community during a conversation concerning his refusal to include them in the advisory committee. He informed us that the committee was “filled.”

Despite The Hoya’s statement that “the university claims it always intended to honor that pledge,” until we confronted him last week he was clear to us that he had no intention of placing a subcontracted worker on the committee.

In the future, we hope The Hoya will contact the GSC before basing editorials solely on the claims of the university.

Solidarity’s protest on Wednesday was aimed at demonstrating to Dr. Dimolitsas that the exclusion of those workers who are directly affected by university policy would render the committee ineffectual, not to mention violate the committee charter.

In the end, we did get what we hoped for. When he finally met with Solidarity and MEChA, Dr. Dimolitsas conceded to amend the charter of the committee in order to allow for a fourth staff person – a subcontracted worker.

To say that we are “protesting for the sake of protesting” is unfounded. It is disappointing to us that we have to take action to get the university to move forward in this process and to fulfill its promises.

This was only the second time, in over two years of working with the university on this issue, that we have been forced to take public action. Indeed, we acknowledge that the university has given us a “valuable opportunity to take part in the decision-making process regarding worker compensation.”

However, what the workers need is to have their own voice in this process, and due participation in discussion about compensation policy. Now that the university is committed to the inclusion of a subcontracted worker, we believe that our protest has actually helped the workers use their voice, not hurt them.

We have been engaged in this process for more than two years and appreciate the support of The Hoya and other campus publications and groups in this campaign.

Solidarity looks forward to the continued participation of the entire campus community in addressing these issues and will host a teach-in and discussion about the Living Wage in the coming weeks.

We hope that The Hoya will continue to strive to keep the university community well informed about what is occurring and will make every attempt to contact us for more information if needed.

Mike Wilson (COL ’05)

Georgetown Solidarity Committee

Oct. 27, 2004

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