Sexual assault needs to be taken seriously. As members of the Sexual Assault Peer Educators, Take Back the Night, the Sexual Assault Working Group, and the general Georgetown community, we know this. As a result, we are frustrated with and disturbed by Chris and Meredith’s sexual assault platform. Its lack of substance reveals just how uninformed the candidates are on important issues, despite their obvious desire to shape policy surrounding them. Their sexual assault platform demonstrates ignorance, and the vagueness of their ideas suggests a lack of effort or desire to even learn about the issues at all.

First, let’s talk about what is actually proposed in their “platform.” The call for more blue light systems and surveillance cameras around campus, their main response to sexual assault, is a cop-out. Frankly, focusing on the blue light system is an outdated method of addressing violence on campus, which the candidates would know if they had done their research. There is a general consensus among both students and administrators that blue lights are ineffective and that funding focused on campus safety could be better spent elsewhere (an anti-violence program assistant, perhaps? Another CAPS counselor? SAPE training for the #Dignity15 campaign?)

However, the single paragraph (one out of two total paragraphs) on blue lights and surveillance details the only initiatives the #Dignity15 campaign has promised to implement. Their platform states, “The infamous Blue Light Systems scatter nearly every college campus. However, when was the last time you used one? Did university police arrive there within 3 minutes (as the university admission tours always promise)?”

It almost seems as if, upon noting that sexual assault is a hot-button issue on the Hilltop, Chris and Meredith looked around for the first possible solution they could spot, which, unfortunately, happened to be a broken blue light. It is unfortunate a student with knowledge and experience in sexual assault prevention was not closer at hand.

It is clear, and disappointing, to us that Chris and Meredith have no idea what is actually involved in anti-violence programming and advocacy. They are clueless about what this campus needs or how to best address sexual assault. Student leaders on these issues were clearly not approached. And even if they were, Chris and Meredith did not listen.

Chris and Meredith’s website shows they have no idea who is involved in handling issues of sexual assault. Student Affairs adjudicates the cases and houses the undergraduate Title IX administrator. Health Education, the LGBTQ Resource Center and the Women’s Center promote education, awareness and survivor support. Mention of any of these departments is glaringly absent from their platform. Their sexual assault proposals imply that as far as Chris and Meredith know, the Georgetown University Police Department is the only department that takes reports of sexual assault, which is an understanding as archaic as the blue light system they so wish to improve.

Second, let’s talk about what could be. Abbey and Will suggest that CAPS hire a new sexual assault counselor. Tim and Reno advocate for specialized counselors for LGBTQ students. Sara and Ryan will encourage Student Affairs to follow up with survivors who did not win their adjudication to make sure they are still being supported. Even the satirical Luther-Rohan campaign rightly calls for increased hours for CAPS and Health Education to increase student access to these important services. The #Dignity15 campaign is woefully unaware of what students need or what has proved successful in the past.

Third, let’s talk about what happens next. Chris and Meredith might read this op-ed, completely change their tune, and frantically try to identify student leaders to associate with their campaign. That’s not adequate. It’s not enough to have the right people in the room. Platforms can be changed; it’s true. New ideas and cabinet members can be introduced. But what good is a team that is more reactionary to criticism than proactive in the first place? Every other GUSA ticket has made a definitive effort to include specific policy changes and has identified ways the anti-violence movement can be supported by student government.  Not only are Chris and Meredith running on an empty platform of buzzwords, but they haven’t shown they care enough to do more.

Chris and Meredith do not lead us to believe that they would be able to implement policy changes if elected. In addition, their lack of effort in creating a platform indicates that they would not expend any properly placed energy on this issue. If Chris and Meredith win, the campus will stop being a safe place for survivors.

The #Dignity15 ticket is missing coherence, comprehension and compassion. It’s missing dignity.

 

Haley Maness is a senior in the School of Nursing and Health Studies. Maddy Moore is a sophomore in the School of Foreign Service. They are members of the Sexual Assault Working Group, Sexual Assault Peer Educators and Take Back the Night.

Have a reaction to this article? Write a letter to the editor.

41 Comments

  1. How did the Hoya allow this to be printed? This is the clearest hit piece I’ve ever seen.

    I don’t know Chris or Meredith but it’s clear they whiffed on this subject badly. More concerning though, is what type of message does it send that 2 individuals that claim to be actively involved in the Sexual Assault Awareness movement at Georgetown are more ready to pounce on, attack and shame Chris and Meredith than work with them? Why such vitriol and hate on an issue that needs compassion and understanding?

    Haley Maness and Maddy Moore, what’s your real objective? To educate and spread compassion on a devastating issue or to spew your hate on those why, by all accounts, may have simply failed to educate themselves as well as they could have? You two sound like nasty people.

    • The real question is: why on earth is an individual over the age of 22 still reading the Hoya?

      This is an election. The point is not to educate a weak ticket on its uninformed and offensive platform. The point is to choose the ticket that will best represent the student body. These authors are sharing crucial perspectives on the issues of this platform.

    • Well maybe the writers of this piece care about the idea of having a campus that is safe for survivors and want to stop sexual assault. In case you didn’t know, it’s kinda a big deal, and what they were doing is standing up for what they believe in. Shirking this issue is why there is such a problem right now.

      • Authors lost all credibility when they wrote: “If Chris and Meredith win, the campus will stop being a safe place for survivors.”

  2. Antwan Robinson says:

    Actually, they consulted 11 administrators and looked at what solutions were actually feasible within a year of work. There have been numerous advances in the department of addressing sexual assault awareness; however, we need a more transparent system of the records of S.A..

    It has also been noted that only shots have been taken at an individual who had long standing dignity which transcends the mud slinging of the past week. Sure, the platform doesn’t tokenize every individual on campus so that they may feel connected to it. However, the initiatives developed are feasible and cut across both racial and socioeconomic lines. You people have to be literally against humanity in order to make a villain out of Chris and Meredith.
    What personal vendetta have you against an individual that equates to the morality of Jesus of our University? Shameful.

    • Antwan, are you able to separate character defamation from criticism of a platform? Evidently not. Your comment is ridiculous and makes no sense. Equating Chris to Jesus? Who do you think you are exactly? Furthermore, could you explain to me how a coherent and thoughtful platform with regard to sexual assault prevention is ‘tokenizing’?

      By claiming that the authors of this piece are ‘against humanity’ you are the one who is slinging mud.

      Get it together.

  3. Confused Alum says:

    I don’t understand why your issue is with two candidates (note: candidates, NOT currently in office).
    Why are you targeting two individuals who are currently without the position of influence? Also take note of the word influence. Regardless of who wins the upcoming election, those holding office are able to only influence, not directly implement any sort of change in any policy they propose. Take your qualms up with the University if you want change, but do not take it up with your peers who have not committed any harm to anyone in this specific proposal.

    • They have qualms, because this is an election. This election determines which pair of voices gets administrative audience as this nation’s universities struggle to properly support survivors of sexual assault. Do you typically vote for the worst ticket so that you can educate that pair? Likely not.

  4. Though I’m sure the authors of this piece are well intentioned, it seems they taken the wrong route in addressing the campaign issue of sexual assault. What is the purpose of attacking the campaign for being misguided. Why not actively reach out to the campaign to share you thoughts or offer guidance?

    (I would sooner believe the next apocalypse was coming tomorrow than that if you reached out to Chris he wouldn’t listen to you. Seriously, have you met Chris?)

    If you must write an article why not praise what other platforms are doing and implore others to join them? As advocates of an issue that often doesn’t receive the attention it deserves you should already know that the best route is rarely to shame but to educate.

    Lastly and quite frankly to claim “The #Dignity15 ticket is missing coherence, comprehension and compassion. It’s missing dignity.” because they don’t pander to your issue is a load of crap. There are a many issues on this campus and in this election. Just because Abbey and Will pandered to you by suggesting that CAPS hire a new sexual assault counselor doesn’t make them saints and just because Chris and Meredith forgot to pander to you doesn’t mean they lack dignity. In fact if you look at actually Chris and Meredith’s campaign you’d see it’s quite the opposite.

    ps I have to agree with others that I’m ashamed of the Hoya for allowing this to even be published. Clickbait articles like this should be kept to buzzfeed.

  5. If Jesus Is Real says:

    Please please please do not equate Chris to the morality of Jesus.

    That’s offensive to Christians who believe Christ is Lord and read the New Testament to see that Jesus reached out to women and healed those who were sick.

    Chris clearly does neither if he thinks putting a band-aid on a systematic, damaging issue is a solution to any issues on campus.

    Jesus would not approve.

  6. Adriana Zinn says:

    I’m thankful to Haley and Maddy for speaking up about an issue that they’ve dedicated so much of their Georgetown experience to raising awareness and educating the student body on. I think it’s important to note that their arguments don’t attack the candidates, but rather point out how unfortunate it is that they did not do their homework, and created a sub-par platform. In talking to administrators, who have become important stakeholders in creating a comprehensive University policy, I highly doubt that the emphasis would have been placed on expanding the out-of-date blue light system as the most realistic tools in our sexual assault intervention toolbox, especially when our own Chief of Police acknowledges that adding more lights would be ineffective. I also think that given the cost of each new light, it’s highly improbable that this would be accomplished in a year. Furthermore, students like Haley and Maddy have helped to 1) get a new Sexual Assault Clinician, 2) hold the first University forum on the issue of Sexual Assault for the student body, and 3) achieve the compulsory training of 1600 new students during New Student Orientation, all within an academic year. Had Chris and Meredith researched the hard work of committed administrators and students, I wholeheartedly believe that they could create a platform with true dignity for survivors and allies alike.

    • Olivia Hinerfeld says:

      Beautifully said, Adriana.

    • Haley and Maddey have done great things for this issue and this campus. However, this article is not one of them. And it is clearly an attack. Claiming anyone or any campaign lacks dignity is an attack. They did not implore them to dive further into the issue rather they said their overlooking of a campaign issue justified attacking their character. Which is ridiculous and lacking good judgement. The kind of judgement the editors of the Hoya if not Haley and Maddy should have had.

  7. @Alum, to answer your question, Haley and Maddy are professional feminists, which means they have a hostile attitude to those who don’t expressly cater to them (not to mention men, in general) and react through rudeness, trolling, and demonizing the other.

    My guess too, based on the focus on Chris and Meredith, is that it was done at the impetus of another campaign that sees them as drawing away votes. I’m for the satirical Luther-Rohan ticket because GUSA is a joke, but this is an obvious hit piece or was written because one or both authors felt ig’nored and decided to lash out in the manner of a spoiled child.

    The op-ed is actually the opposite of what advocates try to do for their cause, which is inform people and win converts. It’s just as spewing of hate. Interesting, too, is this line . . .

    “They are clueless about what this campus needs or how to best address sexual assault. Student leaders on these issues were clearly not approached. And even if they were, Chris and Meredith did not listen.”

    What they say here is Chris and Meredith did not approach anyone on sexual assault issues, then in the very next sentence say well even if they were, they did not listen. This is a CYA technique used by people who don’t do their research and don’t know whether they did or didn’t. And it shows a distinct lack of reason and good will, because whether they did or didn’t, they “did not listen.” In other words, whatever Chris and Meredith did to consult sexual advocate leaders, it doesn’t matter either way. This attitude is how extremist think. It doesn’t matter what science or the statistics actually says, it’s my way or the highway.

    The main thing they seem to want is more hires. One of these ladies is graduating this year, so perhaps it’s a bid at post-graduation job?

    Finally, blue lights serve several purposes. First, they allow you to quickly call security. Second, their presence signals to would-be criminals the possibility of a quick response, ergo, it reduces crime in areas where they exist. Finally, they’re a reminder to people that you need to be aware of what’s going on around you so you don’t become a victim.

  8. Anyone characterizing this article as a “hit piece” have clearly never met the authors (I can say without a doubt in my mind that Maddy Moore is one of the kindest and greatest people you will ever have the good fortune to meet) who would not have felt the need to write this piece without compelling reason. There also seems to be a conflation of the concepts of attacking people with attacking ideas. A GUSA Executive campaign that is attempting to convince students of their capability of running an organization that has unparalleled access to university administrators has the responsibility of educating itself on the issues. Chris and Meredith’s platform on sexual assault policy (amongst other things) features shockingly out of date and troubling ideas, when there are actually concrete and original (see: Buy A Brick) ideas proposed. Pointing out the fact that a ticket who failed to do their basic homework on major issues affecting students might not be the best choice is not a “hit piece” — it’s common sense. Their integrity is not in question — their competence very much is.

    • Just because sexual assault on campus is a feel good issue let’s not pretend it’s the major issue of the campaign. In reality, every ticket will do almost the exact same thing if they were to win which would be next to (if not outright) nothing. And that’s not to say great work isn’t being done. Haley and Madey certainly have done great things, but they are not in GUSA.

      • Amateur Feminist says:

        To the best of my knowledge, one of the authors of this piece has done great work during her time in the GUSA executive serving as the secretary for gender affairs. The scope and existence of positions like these depends on the whims of the GUSA President and VP.

      • Original Commenter says:

        For the record, in addition to her above listed positions, Maddy Moore is also the GUSA Undersecretary of Student Health & Safety. She knows exactly what GUSA can (and can’t) do on the issue of sexual assault. If she’s suggesting a GUSA policy (or lack thereof) involving sexual assault would be disastrous, I would strongly suggest paying attention.

  9. Kevin Carter says:

    Sexual assault is a terrible issue that plagues college campus, and society in general, all across the country. But you two know this. You’ve been fantastic champions of the issue on campus and Georgetown is a much better place for it. So first and foremost, thank you for what you’ve done and continue to do in that aspect. However, I don’t think this article says anything that deserve an ounce of praise.

    Its nothing more than a character assassination on two people who you’ve clearly never had any real experience with. Instead of using the opportunity to inform voters on each campaign’s platform on sexual assault and back the one that you believe will help to facilitate the safest campus environment, you’ve chosen to conjure up doomsday scenarios based off of shoddy logic. And that’s a shame.

    “If Chris and Meredith win, the campus will stop being a safe place for survivors.”

    Seriously, what is that? You have every right to critique Chris and Meredith’s platform… but to paint them as an enemy to sexual assault victims just because you believe their platform on the issue lacks depth is clearly ridiculous. You surely couldn’t have thought that this article would create any kind of constructive dialogue about what sexual assault survivors need on this campus, right? Why not expand more on what other candidates are doing to combat sexual assault on campus? These aren’t rhetorical question by the way; could you please let me know? I’d love to know how you think.

    In conclusion, this piece is personally hateful at its worst and awfully misguided at its best. Please do better for the community that you’re so passionate about.

    • Could not agree with Kevin more.

    • Tucker Cholvin says:

      I find it quite interesting that you and other commenters on this piece have taken to attacking it as devoid of substance. There’s plenty of substance here that deserves this editorial, because if any campaign devoted a mere three sentences to how they’re going to combat sexual assault, it would be a news item. And with sexual assault rightly taking its place at the center of national dialogue, it deserves attention from anyone who would seek to be a leader on this campus.

      So this isn’t a character assassination, because if it was we would be critiquing personalities and proclivities instead of policy. And this article never says that Chris and Meredith are ‘enemies’ of sexual assault victims, either–just that they haven’t given adequate attention to one of the most salient issues on campus.

      The unfortunate fact is that there’s a lot of substance here, and not much to Chris and Meredith’s proposals on sexual assault. That’s noteworthy, and this piece has taken note and taken a position.

      If we’re going to run around and blather about our great love of dialogue every week, perhaps we ought not shoot it down and discredit it when other people say things that we find inconvenient.

  10. Quite frankly, this piece lacks any substance and seems more interested in personally attacking Chris and Meredith rather than posing a constructive question on the nature of sexual assault on campus. It takes what could be objective criticism of the Blue Light System and jumps to very baseless conclusions: “Student leaders on these issues were clearly not approached. And even if they were, Chris and Meredith did not listen.” If you truly advocate for change in both sexual assault awareness and policy on campus (a very important matter, no doubt), did you try approaching the campaign or was it only your goal to disparage your peers by skimming their platform and finding the first phrase that worked for you?

    This article, while attempting to appear well versed in each campaign’s platform, lacks extensive information that would lead anyone to believe, as you so slanderously and presumptuously wrote, that “If Chris and Meredith win, the campus will stop being a safe place for survivors.”

    This is an insult to the Hoya’s standards and I’m surprised that it was published . It suggests nothing but a possible personal vendetta against Chris and Meredith, which is shamefully unprofessional.

    • Again, why is it the responsibility of advocates on campus to correct faulty campaigns. We do not need to educate you. We need to illuminate who is wrong so that good choices can be made. Your logic is completely foolish. It is the responsibility of candidates to approach student groups to create good platforms. Chris and Meredith clearly failed in this regard.

    • Again, why is it the responsibility of advocates on campus to correct faulty campaigns? We do not need to educate you. We need to illuminate who is wrong so that good choices can be made. Your logic is completely foolish. It is the responsibility of candidates to approach student groups to create good platforms. Chris and Meredith clearly failed in this regard.

  11. Concerned Citizen says:

    Everyone bashing this article fails to realize that the authors literally just read the platform of Chris and Meredith and found it lacking in any substance on sexual assault. It doesn’t matter if Chris and Meredith met with administrators on the issue if they didn’t learn anything from it. They have been running for GUSA since June. They should do far better than 2 paragraphs

  12. Appreciative says:

    Thanks Haley and Maddy for writing this piece, and thanks to The Hoya for publishing it! Not only is it an important part of the free marketplace of ideas and discussion during campaign season (re: everyone who says it shouldn’t have been published), but it also highlights critical gaps in Chris and Meredith’s platform that deserve to be pointed out. Sexual assault isn’t the only issue where they’re lacking in substance – their platform doesn’t even mention the words “campus plan.” Haley and Maddy have done a service to the community by helping us all better understand an important issue and make a more informed choice when we vote.

    For a clear contrast, check out the other campaign’s sexual assault platforms:
    http://www.abbeyandwillforgusa.com/platform/#platform/sexual-assault
    http://www.votesaraandryan.com/cura#sexual
    http://www.timandreno.com/sexual-assault-prevention/

  13. Eau de Contraire says:

    Well the good news is, no matter who is elected, the administration doesn’t really care about GUSA’s input on sexual assault. The university’s policy will be determined, as always, by whatever the Department of Education hands down, because the DoE controls the $$$$$.

  14. This has got to be the most shameful posting by the Hoya in all my time here at Georgetown. Get this off; and I suggest your editors have a talk with Maddy and Haley: Personal issues with candidates (oooh, because it’s all I smell in this article) shouldn’t be aired this distastefully for consumption by a dignified student populace. So disappointed in Mini Maddy and her co-writer. Quite distasteful.

  15. I’m bemused that students are literally calling for this opinion of your FELLOW STUDENTS to be simply REMOVED.

    Nevermind that so many of you disregard the criticisms levied on the platform’s unsubstantive and shallow approach to the crucial issue of sexual assault. No one gets the free pass of having good intentions if their ideas that they advocate for are harmful.

    How hilarious that you people purportedly support free speech until you dislike it.

  16. Another Alum says:

    “If Chris and Meredith win, the campus will stop being a safe place for survivors.”

    Seriously? How dramatic and pretentious do you have to be to write a sentence like that, much less believe it?

    More importantly, let’s say Chris and Meredith do win. What are the chances they sit down and work with you to get sexual assault right after you’ve written a hit piece on them?

    This is a GUSA campaign. The people running are just students who are trying to serve Georgetown. If they make a mistake, talk to them and help them get it right. If they land somewhere different than you, make your case publicly. But don’t demonize two individuals because they didn’t cater to your views. Georgetown deserves better.

    • Right, and this is them ‘making their case publicly’ because Chris and Meredith landed somewhere different than contemporary professional opinion on the issue. Good job Maddy and Haley for writing a difficult editorial defending your beliefs! Also, does everyone realize this is an op-ed? Because they way you all so foolishly call for the Hoya to take it down for, you know, having opinions in it makes it really look like you don’t understand that.

    • I think this comment was well said. Its easy to understand why the satirical Luther/Rohan ticket has become so popular, even winning the support of the Hoya, when you see how over the top GUSA campaigning has become and read some of the other comments people have been writing on here.

  17. People who don’t like this issue:

    Perhaps the issue of sexual assault is more important than the hurt feeling of naive campaigners.

    Good for you Haley and Maddy

Leave a Reply to Hoya '15 Cancel

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*