Voice Forced Out of Office
Published: Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Updated: Wednesday, September 21, 2011 18:09
The Georgetown Voice has been ordered by the Center for Student Programs to vacate their office by Oct. 3 and move into a significantly smaller space after three students affiliated with the newsmagazine recently damaged neighboring Leavey Center offices.
Citing violations of the Student Organization Office Use Agreement, CSP instructed the leadership of the student-run publication to pack up their equipment and head down the hall to Leavey 424, effectively swapping offices with Georgetown University Debate.
The sanction comes after two Voice staffers, Sam Buckley (COL '14) and John Flanagan (SFS '14), along with former Voice staffer Eric Pilch (COL '12), allegedly destroyed a significant portion of The Voice's ceiling while trying to evade Department of Public Safety officers on Aug. 28. The trio, who allegedly crawled through the ceiling into nearby offices of the fourth floor of Leavey, have been charged with misdemeanors for destruction of property under $1,000. Their first court hearing is Wednesday.
In all, damage to a large number of ceiling tiles and the infrastructure of the surrounding offices as well as The Voice's space caused over $4,000 worth of repairs.
Flanagan is currently recovering from back and leg injuries after exiting through a fourth-floor window while trying to elude DPS personnel; he and Buckley have since been dismissed from The Voice staff.
According to Erika Cohen-Derr, the director of CSP, every student group is able to apply for space at the end of the school year. She declined to comment on The Voice's ability to regain their old space.
Further repercussions are possible for the publication. Cohen-Derr said that groups affected by the damage — including The Hoya and the debate team — could choose to file a complaint based on a violation of the Student Organization Standards.
Tim Shine, (MSB '12), editor-in-chief of The Voice, is petitioning Associate Vice President for Student Affairs Jeanne Lord to repeal the penalty.
"In the short term, we will still be able to get a paper out. … But I don't know that in the long run it'll have the same quality as years past," Shine said.
While he does not currently anticipate that the room change will affect the size or schedule of the newsmagazine, it will greatly alter the publication's production schedule. According to Shine, the current numbers of 25 to 30 people who come to the office to put out an issue once per week will not be able to fit in the smaller space.
"The impact in the long run will inhibit our ability to retain and develop a large staff of writers and photographers," Shine said.