FREE SPEECH AND EXPRESSION Speech Committee Questions Cancelation of Job Fair By Amanda McGrath Hoya Staff Writer

The Committee for Speech and Expression has questioned Vice President for Student Affairs Juan Gonzalez’s decision to postpone the Progressive Career Fair, initially scheduled for Feb. 21. Gonzalez said he postponed the fair Feb. 20 after receiving a list of the groups invited to participate, some of whom he felt advocated beliefs that oppose Catholic teaching.

The Committee for Speech and Expression has not yet made a public statement regarding Gonzalez’s decision. However, according to law professor and committee member Peter Byrne, there has been “considerable discussion about the issue on two separate occasions.” Byrne declined to comment on any of the specifics of the discussions.

“Dr. Gonzalez requested that the progressive career fair be postponed after receiving a list of the potential organizations invited to attend the night before it was scheduled,” Vice President for Communications Julie Green Bataille said. “Given the late hour there was not sufficient time to fully understand the spectrum of issues involved and the work of all of the organizations.”

“Dr. Gonzalez, who administers the university’s speech and expression policy,

informed the Speech and Expression Committee of his decision and will keep them informed of progress on this issue,” Green Bataille said.

At least nine other campus groups have criticized the decision to postpone the fair claiming that it is a violation of the school’s Speech and Expression Policy as well. Organizations such as GUPride, the College Democrats and the Georgetown Solidarity Committee have sent Gonzalez a letter asking for a formal apology.

“This action is ridiculous and must be condemned,” GSC President Nick Laskowski said. “As a university, Georgetown’s focus should be on fostering intellectual dialogue and debate. The university needs to stand up for its students rights to express their views,” he said.

According to the university’s Speech and Expression Policy, “discourse is central to the life of the university. To forbid or limit discourse contradicts everything the university stands for … there is the assumption that the exchange of ideas will lead to clarity, mutual understanding, the tempering of harsh and extreme positions, the softening of hardened positions and ultimately the ttainment of truth.”

The policy also says that “an individual member or group of members of the academic community may invite any person to address the community.”

H*yas for Choice Spokesperson Kelsey Beckner (COL ’02) said that H*yas for Choice was not ready to make a statement on the issue.

GUPride could not be reached for comment as of press time.

The fair was originally organized by GUPride and H*yas for Choice, a group not recognized by the university, to provide students with information on “progressive” career opportunities by bringing groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union, Catholics for Choice and the American Association of University Women to campus.

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

Comments are closed.