Charge to Working Groups
November 2, 2007
As a Catholic and Jesuit University, Georgetown is committed to working collaboratively to foster core values of respect, inclusion, and understanding and to addressing any form of discrimination or intolerance that takes place within its community. To this end, and in keeping with the Ignatian values of respect for the dignity of all, equality, care of persons (cura personalis), service, and community in diversity, Georgetown has launched an initiative to foster a stronger, more inclusive campus community and enhance efforts that provide support and services for LGBTQ students.
The initial work of the initiative will be primarily conducted through three Working Groups. The Working Groups are designed to be representative of our community, and include a range of students, faculty, senior administrators, staff and alumni who are charged to be creative, open to dialogue, practical, and results-oriented. They have been asked to work expeditiously, incorporating perspectives drawn from across the University community and to make recommendations on a rolling basis by the end of the Fall semester to President John J. DeGioia and Provost James O’Donnell. Looking forward, in the Spring 2008 semester, the University will establish a permanent LGBTQ Working Group. As part of its responsibility, that Working Group will address issues that are not formally covered by the three short-term Working Groups.
Working Group Charges
The charges of the Working Groups are as follows:
- Educational Programming: The Working Group on Education will evaluate the use of co-curricular educational programs to promote inclusion of, and respect for, the LGBTQ community. This Working Group is expected to identify steps that can promote engagement among faculty, staff and students and understanding in the context of broader diversity efforts at the University. The group will examine current offerings and consider new efforts to integrate LGBTQ concerns and experiences more fully into community educational programs. It also will develop recommendations to ensure a safe and inclusive learning environment.
- Resources for an LGBTQ Center and the Role of its Director: The Working Group on Resources will evaluate the need for and work of an LGBTQ Resource Center and full-time staff support for coordinating LGBTQ community resources consistent with, and authentic to, Georgetown’s Catholic and Jesuit identity. In shaping the role of the Center, the Working Group is asked to recognize the University’s commitment to advocate for respect, inclusion, understanding, safety and health needs, mentoring, dignity, growth, and equal opportunity, as well as the necessity of advocating for freedom from prejudice, exclusion, discrimination and homophobia. At the same time, it is important for the Working Group to take into account the fact that, at a Catholic and Jesuit University, a University administrator or Center cannot advocate for policies or practices counter to Catholic teaching. Through the Center, programs can be offered to LGBTQ and other students in the formation of character, identity, and direction, as they experience the growth and transitions of their college years.
- Reporting of Incidents of Intolerance: The Working Group on Reporting will evaluate the University’s processes for notifying the community when an incident of intolerance, including hate and bias or other matters of concern, has been reported, and recommend improvements or new mechanisms as appropriate. An effective system must include timeliness, accuracy, consistency, transparency and responsiveness to the University community’s legitimate need for information and reassurance that unacceptable incidents are being taken seriously. It is essential that the University develop a system for the timely coordination of institutional resources to support affected communities. It is expected that the Working Group will review the University’s existing methods of communicating to the community, including DPS Public Safety Alerts, the Bias Reporting System, Community Alerts, the annual Campus Crime Report, and broadcast e-mails to the University community. The Working Group will develop a clear statement of when, how and why the University makes community notifications and who makes these decisions and notifications.