GUSA representatives and their student constituents alike expressed strong opinions about the proposed speech and expression policy that was presented to the GUSA general assembly Tuesday.

The proposed policy, presented to the student association by Vice President for Student Affairs Juan C. Gonzalez and faculty representative Anthony Clark Arend, has the support of many GUSA representatives.

“I have talked to various freshmen regarding this issue and a lot of them agree with the intention of the policy, to help protect future victims of hate speech,” Freshman Representative Luis Torres (COL ’05) said. “Many of the African American, Hispanic and Asian students that I have talked to have told me that they support this policy because they would like the university to be able to do something in case another issue of the fake Hoya were to come out and vulgarly attack members of the Georgetown community.”

Some representatives, however, have expressed concern that the proposed policy is an encroachment on free speech.

“Most students I spoke to have expressed their fear that, while we cannot stand for cowardly intolerance in publications, this is the wrong method by which to stamp it out. We as a university cannot claim to value free speech so highly if we allow any person, including the Vice President of Student Affairs, to have the power of confiscation, and thus censorship,” Representative Somil Trivedi (COL ’04) said.

Many GUSA representatives are additionally apprehensive about the amount of responsibility that the proposed policy places on Gonzalez.

“If a top administrator such as Dr. Gonzalez has to make the decision for us, I don’t feel we are being given the room to grow that we need as college students. Also, Dr. Gonzalez is probably one of the busiest administrators at this school, and this burden should not fall on his head,” Representative Ted Bauer (COL ’03) said.

Still, the general consensus among GUSA representatives at the meeting seems to be that there is great value in the dialogue initiated by the proposed policy. “I think that the Speech and Expression Policy was an important debate for GUSA to have, because it was one of the more substantial issues that we have addressed thus far this year,” Bauer said.

“I feel as though the discussion initiated by Dr. Gonzalez is a very healthy one for the campus in that it raises awareness as to slanderous publications,” Representative Marty LaFalce (COL ’03) said.

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