Georgetown is not the proudly open-minded, progressive place we all pretend it is. Though we present our campus as having a socially conscious, forward-thinking culture, it is an indisputable fact that bias exists at Georgetown. We cannot call ourselves a tolerant campus when intolerance and self-segregation are so prevalent. And we are all to blame.

The most effective, bravest attempt to change this deplorable aspect of the Hilltop is the GUSA Student Commission for Unity. The SCU is a student-led, research-based advocacy group who has decided to tackle this issue head-on. Despite the apparent lack of dialogue on campus, its study shows that most Georgetown students are aware there is a problem.

SCU polled 1,500 students from all four schools on issues concerning bias, race and segregation. They found that 76.2 percent of Georgetown students think that there is a self-segregation problem at Georgetown. It also found that 48.6 percent of Hoyas have ignored discrimination despite having witnessed it. SCU has tackled issues head on that most are too reticent to even touch. They have forced us to face problems that have been swept under the table for too long.

Addressing intolerance is not an easy task. People who speak up on others’ behalves will run the risk of coming under fire themselves. It is easy to shy away when you’re told to lighten up by a friend who is casually throwing around the word faggot. But it is those who will make the unpopular point and willingly raise the uncomfortable topic, that Georgetown truly needs right now. Those people can take solace in the fact that, not only have they done the right thing, but their act will have a larger, beneficial effect. Admittedly, your foul-mouthed friend may not quit his obscene habit right away, and Georgetown’s problems cannot be ameliorated over night, but every courageous act brings us one step closer.

Get involved with SCU’s innovative research project. SCU is looking for new members to join their research teams that will run from Sept. 22nd to Nov. 16th and will meet once a week. Their schedule can be found online at www.scunity.blogspot.com.

Become an ally. An ally “actively seeks to meet the real needs of LGBTQ people and to end the discrimination against them. An ally is an extremely powerful force for a LGBTQ person, providing a voice that is heard when the LGBTQ person’s own voice may not.”

Or demonstrate your commitment to creating a safe environment and a safe community for all people by participating in the Safe Zone Program.

There is a fundamental truth to what we proudly chant at basketball games: We are Georgetown. And that means that we are all responsible for its culture and for making it a better, more tolerant, united place. The LGBTQ community and the SCU cannot shoulder the burden of weeding out intolerance and breaking down divisions by themselves. It is not enough to simply be tolerant yourself. The majority is also responsible for changing the perceptions of the minority; now is time for the majority to step up to the plate.

Abraham Lincoln said, “To sin by silence when they should protest makes cowards of men.” With all the facts before us, the bias-related incidents of this past year and the results of SCU’s survey, there is no avoiding acknowledging that change is necessary. Change is not going to come from ascribing ourselves to some abstract notion of tolerance. It comes from people speaking up when they hear or see misconduct, not letting even the slightest intolerance slide, and making the conscious efforts to cross divides.

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