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Nov 12 2017
by Caroline Mulvaney

This Club at Georgetown Is Vocally Anti-Marriage Equality and Still Gets Funding

By Caroline Mulvaney - Nov 12 2017
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Colleges and universities are places where the minds of the world's next generation are educated and molded. It's a chance for students to find themselves, form beliefs, and grow as a person. However, this can sometimes lead to clashes of opinion. At Georgetown University, there's currently a clash of opinion occurring that has garnered the attention of national news networks. It's the debate between a club called Love Saxa and Georgetown's LGBTQ+ community. Here's everything you need to know:

1. What is Love Saxa?

Love Saxa is a student-run organization at Georgetown. According to their constitution, "Love Saxa exists to promote healthy relationships on campus through cultivating a proper understanding of sex, gender, marriage, and family among Georgetown students." Later on in the constitution, they define "marriage" as "a monogamous and permanent union between a man and a woman." Essentially, Love Saxa is a club that promotes traditional marriage and abstinence before marriage. 

2. What is the debate about?

Georgetown University and the Student Activities Commission (SAC) both recognize Love Saxa as an official club on campus, which means the club receives funding of around $250 each year. However, protests have been raised throughout campus, calling for the defunding of Love Saxa. These protests are motivated by a single line in the SAC's Student Organization Standards: "Groups will not be eligible for access to benefits if their purpose or activities foster hatred or intolerance of others." It is being argued that Love Saxa discriminates and promotes intolerance against the LGBTQ+ community. 

3. Who started the debate?

The debate started with a letter to the editor published in The Hoya, the largest student newspaper at Georgetown. The letter was written by Amelia Irvine, the president of Love Saxa, and entitled "Confessions of a College Virgin." She wrote about her decision with her boyfriend to remain abstinent until marriage, and then wrote about Love Saxa's views against same-sex marriage. In response, The Hoya published an editorial entitled "Defund Intolerance," and called for the defunding of Love Saxa as a student organization. Jasmine Ouseph and Chad Gasman, two current Georgetown students, started circulating a petition to support the defunding, and were the ones to officially file a complaint against Love Saxa. 

4. How is the debate being carried out?

A hearing was conducted on October 30, with members of the SAC hearing arguments from Ouseph and Gasman and the leaders of Love Saxa. Some of the arguments for the defunding, besides the clause in the SAC Student Organization Standards, included mention of Hoyas For Choice. Hoyas For Choice is a pro-choice organization on campus that regularly hosts events, but is not officially recognized by the university and doesn't receive funding. They were used as a counterargument to the opposition's claim that defunding Love Saxa would be a violation of free speech. On the morning of November 3, it was decided by the SAC that Love Saxa would keep its university funding and official recognition as a student organization. 

5. What are the current updates?

Ouseph and Gasman, both of whom are active LGBTQ+ activists in the Georgetown community, plan to appeal the SAC's decision to Amanda Carlton, the director of student engagement. The SAC's vote to keep funding Love Saxa isn't a binding decision. Rather, it's a suggestion to Carlton, and she can choose to accept, amend or reject it. 

6. How does this relate to your college or university? 

Despite their best efforts, Ouseph and Gasman might not achieve their ultimate goal of defunding Love Saxa. It's a Christian club with Christian values that follow the Christian values of Georgetown University. However, that doesn't change the fact that they stood up for something they believe in. They spoke up against their university and its administration to point out something that they believed to be detrimental to the open-minded, educational environment universities are meant to have.

You don't have to be complacent in your current environment just because you don't want to cause trouble or seem like you're complaining. If you want to change something at your college or university, go for it. The administration is there for your best interests. If you feel they aren't being met, do something about it. The worse thing that can happen is that the people in charge will tell you "no."

Whether you side with Love Saxa or against it, take this debate as an example of what you could be doing in your own college community. Students are the voice of the next generation. We have the power to make changes, and that is a power that we should be using to the best of our abilities. 

Lead Image Credit: Unsplash

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Caroline Mulvaney - Georgetown University

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