VOICE The Georgetown
D.C.â€™s Environmental Policy pg. 10
Georgetown Tuition and Aid pg. 12
Best of: Music and Movies pg. 14
December 2, 2016
DECEMBER 2, 2016
THE GEORGETOWN VOICE staff
Volume 49 • Issue 8
editor-in-chief Graham Piro Managing editor Caitlyn Cobb news
executive editor Ryan miller Features editor Alex bOyd assistant features editor jonny amon news editor isaiah seibert assistant news editors Jake maher, margaret gach
executive editor Brian Mcmahon Leisure editor caitlin mannering assistant leisure editors Gustav Honl-stuenkel, Devon O’Dwyer, ryan mazaltis Sports editor tyler pearre Assistant sports editor alex lewontin
“Étude of Capabilities” by sarah martin
Carrying On: Creating Fields for Discussion and Feelings of Loss Jorge DeNeve
Hidden Hegemony: Oppose Harmful Retoric and Protect Our Criminal Justice System Isaiah Fleming-Klink
Open Access: Party Culture and Success in a World With Mental Illness Rebecca Zaritsky
Election Reaction Voices Pieces Contributers Weathering the Storm: Climate Policy in D.C. Isaiah Seibert Meeting the Need: Why Georgetown Misses Out on Some Top Low-Income Students Every Year Ryan Miller Best of: Movies and Music 2016 Voice Staff The opinions expressed in The Georgetown Voice do not necessarily represent the views of the administration, faculty or students of Georgetown University, unless specifically stated. Columns, advertisements, cartoons and opinion pieces do not necessarily reflect the views of the Editorial Board or the General Board of The Georgetown Voice. The university subscribes to the principle of responsible freedom of expression of its student editors. All materials copyright The Georgeton Voice, unless otherwise indicated.
Executive editor kevin huggard voices editor emma Francois Assistant Voices editors kaei lee, rebecca zaritsky Editorial Board Chair chris dunn Editorial Board daniel varghese, kenneth lee, kevin Huggard, GRAHAM PIRO, PHillip Steuber, ryan miller
Leisure editor amy guay assistant leisure editors brynn furey, emily jaster anne paglia Sports editor Jorge DeNeve Assistant sports editor parker houston
Executive editor alli kaufman Spread editor lindsay reilly assistant design editors jake glass, lizz pankova, jack townsend Staff Designers Rachel Corbally, Sam Lee, Cecilia li, Aicha nzie, rachel zeide
copy chief Anna Gloor assistant Copy editors audrey bischoff, julia pinney editors Jack Cashmere, Clara Cecil, Claire Goldberg, Isabel Lord, Isabel Paret, Jack Townsend, Gabriella Wan
podcast editor danielle hewitt assistant podcast editor nick gavio social media editor Claire Goldberg
madelyn rice, Noah Telerski, Rebecca Zaritsky
email@example.com Leavey 424 Box 571066 Georgetown University Washington, DC 20057
THE GEORGETOWN VOICE
READ MORE ON GEORGETOWNVOICE.COM NEWS
Students March to Protest Trump EPA Appointment Isaiah Seibert reports on a student march from Red Square to Myron Ebell's office to protest his appointment to the president-electâ€™s EPA transition team.
Celebrity and the Election Tehya Corona writes about the role of famous supporters in the 2016 election, taking a look at how Hillary Clinton lost even with the celebrity vote on her side.
Weekly List: WintertimeTracks With the month of endless Christmas music upon us, the Halftime staff give their top non-holiday but still seasonal tunes for those weary of silver bells and fa-la-las.
Georgetown Sports Information
California, Here They Come: Womenâ€™s Soccer Advances to First College Cup in Program History Jorge DeNeve covers the Georgetown women's soccer's 1-0 win over Santa Clara, marking the team's historic advancement to the College Cup.
DECEMBER 2, 2016
Georgetown Must Support Undocumented Students For those residing in the United States without documentation, including approximately 65,000 students, an uncertain future awaits. President-elect Donald Trump has promised to eliminate the pathway to legal residency for 11 million people. Undocumented students on Georgetown’s campus and across the nation need support in order to access the education many others may take for granted. We call on President DeGioia and the university administration to take actions to protect undocumented students. Along these lines, we ask that the university not release student information, including immigration statuses, to any group without a subpoena and that the university make an official and binding promise not to change the current admissions and financial aid policies regarding undocumented students. This would mean making Georgetown as accessible and safe as possible for students who lack documentation, further strengthening the university’s commitment to their protection. Georgetown appointed a coordinator for undocumented students on Nov. 22, three weeks after UndocuHoyas, an advocacy group for undocumented students on campus, began circulating a petition calling for the appointment. On Nov. 21, DeGioia announced on Facebook that he had signed the Statement in Support of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). This Tuesday, DeGioia sent out an email with general statements of the university’s commitment to safeguarding freedom of speech and religious liberty, to support the community against discrimination, and to “protect our undocumented
students to the fullest extent of the law.” These actions strengthen the university’s stance of support for undocumented students, and this editorial board strongly believes that Georgetown should continue to increase its commitment to providing support and education to undocumented students. We support the university’s decision to hire an undocumented student coordinator, but it cannot stand alone. As undocumented individuals across the U.S. enter a newly uncertain and frightening time following the election of Donald Trump, we urge that the university continue to strengthen and clarify its stance. Georgetown is one of many campuses across the nation where such actions are being considered. Trump has promised to repeal DACA, which has protected more than 700,000 people from deportation since the Obama administration introduced it. He has said that he plans to deport 2 to 3 million undocumented immigrants immediately upon taking office. In the wake of his election, other universities have declared themselves sanctuary campuses. This follows the example of several cities such as San Francisco and D.C. itself, which have declared themselves sanctuary cities. This declaration means that that these cities have policies limiting their cooperation with federal immigration enforcement (although there is no accepted legal definition for the term). Trump has said he will respond to these efforts by blocking federal funding to these cities. Some city leaders have responded by saying even a substantial loss
in funding will not deter them from continuing to protect undocumented residents. Georgetown must be unwavering in its support of undocumented students. Although Trump has not yet applied these threats to universities, a discussion about Georgetown’s response to such a threat must be planned. For instance, if Georgetown were to lose federal funding, this could impact the university’s ability to meet full need for all admitted students. Avoiding the conversation about how universities will react to such potential responses threatens the integrity of the university’s commitments to undocumented students. More information is undoubtedly necessary. However, Georgetown can carry out the policies of a sanctuary campus without declaring itself a sanctuary campus. The implications of naming Georgetown a sanctuary campus are not yet clear. What is clear is that the practical repercussions of naming the university a sanctuary campus may significantly outweigh the symbolic benefit of doing so. Sanctuary campus or not, the university needs to protect undocumented students, and then engage in a discussion of how best to uphold its Jesuit values over the next four years. If Georgetown fails to cement its commitment, its promises will mean little to those whose educations and lives on campus are at risk.
GUSA’s Smoking Referendum Falls Short On Thursday, the Georgetown student body had the opportunity to vote on a GUSA referendum regarding a complete ban on tobacco consumption on the university’s main campus. The referendum is a non-binding measure to gauge the student body’s opinion toward such a ban. The poll is simply a barometer, and the administration has been clear that, regardless of the results, a total ban on tobacco products will be implemented. This editorial board believes that the referendum fails to offer a meaningful forum for student voices to be heard. On the ballot, students were presented with the statement “Georgetown’s main campus should be smoke and tobacco free” and chose from the responses “Agree,” “Disagree,” and “No Preference/Undecided.” The referendum does not provide any information about the policies that will be implemented. Details regarding the ban are still undecided, leaving students to submit their opinions about a policy to which they will be subject, yet of which they lack a clear understanding. We have identified several areas in which specifics have not yet been disclosed and in which a community opinion would be valuable. The first regards the enforcement of the ban itself. When a total tobacco ban is implemented, the university will need to devise a corresponding enforcement mechanism. Per the Division of Student Affairs website, Georgetown’s policy is already “To achieve an environment as close to smoke-free as practically possible.” If community members choose to
smoke, they must do so outside and away from buildings. An enforcement system does already exist if a student were ever to be reprimanded for violating the present smoking policy, although it is rarely enforced. These punishments begin with a $50 fine and an educational project for the first violation and increase in weight as the infractions repeat. Additionally, a permanent record of the infractions appears on the student’s transcript, visible to other universities, graduate and professional schools, scholarship and award providers, and employers. The university can also report the incident to the District, in which case an additional fine for smoking in a designated nonsmoking area would be levied by the city, although historically, Georgetown has demonstrated a preference to handle such matters internally. Given the complex nature of addiction and a variety of previous efforts at substance prohibition, the current system may not be an appropriate way to deal with the issue of tobacco use on campus. Because of this, two questions follow, neither of which has an easy answer. On a reactive level, what is the correct way to enforce the ban? As a matter of public health, an anti-tobacco policy will have no benefit if there is not some method of enforcement, but that enforcement should not be overly harsh. On a proactive level, what sort of preventative measures should be made available to reduce the necessity of said enforcement measures? If the goal of the ban is to reduce tobacco consumption, will resources be provided to assist
consumers in quitting? It is on these issues that students should have the opportunity to be heard, rather than on a blanket statement which fails to address the details of the policy. Students will not be the only community members affected by the ban. As it stands, the university provides short breaks throughout the day to its employees, some of whom use those breaks to smoke. In the case of a total ban, employees will have to leave campus on those breaks if they wish to continue their use. The borders of Georgetown’s main campus are, in practice, unclear, and the boundaries within which these policies will be enforced have not been defined. Once they are established, it is also important to consider if it is fair, or even feasible, to ask employees to make that trip during a short break. All of these questions need to be answered when the university decides to prohibit tobacco use on campus. The answers will affect all those who live and learn at Georgetown, smokers and nonsmokers alike. This editorial board believes that students must have a say in the policies to which they will be subject. While it is too late for a vote of “Agree,” “Disagree,” or “No Preference/Undecided” to have any influence on whether or not the university bans tobacco, a more nuanced referendum would have provided the answer to the question “How?” Unfortunately, GUSA squandered their opportunity to better understand the latter by offering the student body a meaningless vote on the former.
THE GEORGETOWN VOICE
I have a picture on my desk from 2006. It shows me in Seattle over spring break visiting my aunt, uncle, and cousins. It is the first time I can remember being there. We did all the touristy things we could. On the coldest and rainiest day of our stay, we all decided to go to the tulip festivals. I imagine my delicate Los Angeles skin was freezing despite my jacket and pants, but there’s no way you’d ever know just by looking at the picture. Mommy and I stand in front of what looks like a never-ending sea of orange tulips, her arms securely around me. The wind blows a little bit of her hair in her face while 7-year-old me has both thumbs up, a big smile on my face, and a hole on either side of my two front teeth where new ones will eventually form. She died of cervical cancer five years later. It’s the happiest picture I’ll ever have with Mommy, and I’ll cherish it for the rest of my life. We all experience pain in our lives because we all have people we love. Pain is a potential side effect of our closest relationships, a risk we’re willing to take for the pure joy we experience when these relationships go right. But they can just as easily end early, and the issue then becomes how to deal with the pain. It’s always simplest to curl into a ball and hope someone finds you, but even then being found isn’t always enough. As a 12-year-old dealing with losing his mother, I looked at the warmth and love of her friends to appreciate how compassionate my mother had been. Her book club friends vowed to do a “petite chat” with me and my sisters every two months, a promise they’ve kept years later. (They read Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood and began calling us “kids” the “petites.” The name stuck.) Her closest friends from her teaching days still do our monthly “Family Nite,” as Mommy spelled it on our calendar. Even her friends who didn’t have as much of a personal connection with me and my sisters helped bring us meals when my mom was going through treatments. Every one of my mom’s closest friends has made it clear to me and my sisters how much we are loved. It was like everyone who ever knew Mommy adopted the three of us. My sisters and I each have our keepsakes from her: journals in which we wrote back and forth, a graduation dress, an email she wrote to her “amigas” on my first day of middle school, and lots of pictures. It was my mom’s mom that really helped keep my mother alive for me and my sisters. She was the one who went to the cemetery with us on holidays. We’d decorate my mom’s grave for Christmas. We’d leave her cake on her birthday. And even if it wasn’t a special occasion, we’d always leave her flowers.
Whenever we hung out at Papa’s house, Grandma talked to us about how she remembered Mommy. We heard her fondest memories from when our mom was little. We saw pictures and projects she put together. Grandma shared how she had my mom’s arm around her in every picture, how Mommy always smiled, how she always made a point of saying to Grandma, “I love you, Mom.” Both of them had the same birthday, Sept. 30, a special connection Grandma loved talking about. Our mom was the child who would just know if something was wrong. She was the child who stayed in Los Angeles and would take care of her parents when the time came. As a young man, you are told, “Boys don’t cry.” We’re supposed to be the strong sex, the ones less affected by emotion. As a boy, I’m “supposed” to be able to bottle up the emotional pain, but that never got me very far. Losing a parent isn’t a simple cut. It’s not something that you can heal just by slapping on an emotional band-aid. There’s a scar left behind. Even now, over six years later, something will remind me of her and I’ll cry because she’s gone. It happens less now, simply because of the time that’s passed, but it’s still there. I’ve found that the memories I have of my mother are as vital to reconciling her death as moving on with life is. Looking through pictures of her, I can paint the stories the images represent. For the photos I’m in, I vividly see the day we took them in my mind; for the ones I’m not in, I’ve heard enough stories from my family to piece together the moment encapsulated in the photo. The keepsakes remind me of her personality. In letters that she wrote, I hear her voice, hear her laugh, almost as if she’s reading it aloud beside me. I look at my sisters and see my mother in them. We all got her eyes, hair, and skin tone. We have the same sort of love in our relationships that she did, all of us living with her same compassion. We’ve taken on the responsibility of keeping her alive for everyone who didn’t get to meet her. If having all of these moments of joy means I cry every once in a while, I’ll take the tears that come with it. I’ve embraced the vulnerability. As I grew closer to my friends this year, I could tell this was something they all struggled with. My loss isn’t necessarily a secret. One of the two pictures I have on my desk is the one of me and my mom, and a third frame holds a poem about her that my soccer team gave me on my mom’s birthday. My friends here at Georgetown could tell that something had happened, but they were afraid to bring it up in conversations with me. They didn’t know how I would react.
Carrying On: Voice Staffers Speak
I hadn’t brought up my mom in conversation on my own before. Although she’s an integral part of who I am, I never thought that people would want to hear about her out of the blue. For one thing, it’s a sad topic to bring up; most of the time when I’m talking to friends we’re laughing about something that just happened or making plans for the next couple of days, so that particular aspect of my past seems out of place. And as vital as she is to understanding me completely, it’s something I have always kept close to my chest. Only those who were very close to me learned about my mom, and that’s mostly after they shared something deeply personal with me. I had to learn they trusted me and I could in turn trust them before I opened up. This year, though, that wasn’t the case. My friends and I got closer together as a group, and I came to trust them to the point that I was ready to share. This time it was me who initiated, who showed them that I trusted them enough to tell them. I knew that for them to be there for me, they needed to know how I was feeling, how my mom still influences my life, and how my family has an abundance of close friends because of her. They had to know that I was okay crying and answering questions about my mom from them if they had any. They had to understand how I’ve learned to live on my own for them to really be engaged in my life. I know I’m not the only one who has ever struggled, and I know that there are some here at Georgetown who have been through much harder losses. To those of you who have, maybe you didn’t get through it exactly the same way as I did, but I’m almost sure you made it through in a similar fashion. And if you haven’t, but know someone who has, don’t be afraid to ask them about it. Listen to the stories. Picture the memories. You’ll be surprised how much you learn. I strive to live my life like my mother did. She embodies all of what I want to become. I’m proud of what I’m able to tell my friends about her. I want to give everyone who meets me a little piece of her to experience. Being able to talk about her and cry about her, just like my Grandma would with me and my sister, is just a part of that.
By Jorge DeNeve He is a sophomore in the College.
Creating Fields for Discussion and Feelings of Loss
DECEMBER 2, 2016
Oppose Harmful Rhetoric and Protect Our Criminal Justice System On Nov. 8, California, Nevada, Massachusetts, and Maine legalized recreational marijuana use, bringing the total number of states that have legalized medical or recreational marijuana use to 28. This kind of development under the Obama administration has become both normal and legally uncomplicated. The Cole Memo, written by and named after Deputy Attorney General James Cole, dictated that the Justice Department back off aggressive enforcement of drug laws, part of an overall administrative and departmental effort to reform the criminal justice system. Memos of a similar sentiment—such as one that allowed and encouraged banks to do business with legal marijuana companies and producers—have made clear the Obama administration’s desire not to utilize federal legislation and law enforcement to override local law enforcement efforts in states that have legalized marijuana. One of the many questions and concerns about President-elect Trump’s administration is the attitude it will take on both the marijuana question and, more importantly, the question of criminal justice reform. The president-elect indicated during his campaign that the issue of marijuana legalization should be left up to the states; however, his pick for attorney general, Sen. Jeff Sessions, has a long history of opposing legalization. In a Senate hearing earlier this year he said, “Good people don’t smoke marijuana.” Despite this apparent disparity of opinion between the president-elect and his presumptive attorney general, many experts believe the former’s campaign promises, paired with widespread public support for legalization in states that have already done so, pose too high a barrier for even the most aggressively anti-marijuana Trump administration imaginable to overcome.
More ominous are the president-elect’s and presumptive attorney general’s histories with law enforcement practices and stances on criminal justice reform. Most visibly, perhaps, was Trump’s tough-on-crime rhetoric during his campaign. If implemented, such a mentality would depart sharply from the Obama administration’s Smart on Crime approach, which sought to, among other goals, reduce mandatory minimum sentencing and the length of sentences for low-level, nonviolent offenders. Throughout his nearly eight years in office, President Obama has commuted or pardoned the sentences of 1,023 people, more than the combined total of the 11 previous administrations. Again, this policy is and has been part of a larger effort to reduce sentences and empty federal prisons. Less known, though, is the process of commutation, which requires the Justice Department to make recommendations for “good” clemency candidates. For Attorneys General Eric Holder and Loretta Lynch, such recommendations followed the Smart on Crime mandate. Finally, it appears that prosecutors have fallen in line with the “Smart on Crime” directive: federal drug prosecutions dropped last year. While presidents and attorneys general cannot directly change or mandate local and state drug policy or enforcement, they certainly set an important tone. For Obama, and for Holder and Lynch, that tone was one of reform through the reduction of sentencing. If he is confirmed, an Attorney General Sessions-led Justice Department would change everything. Setting aside looming questions of his past—that frame him as a man of despicably racist past views, at best, or, more likely, as a man of despicably racist views—Sessions has consistently opposed even the most modest, bipartisan-backed criminal
reform. In this regard, he is unlike the vast majority of his conservative peers, who’ve expressed interest in and voted for mild criminal reform (though it was more out of a sense of fiscal, not moral, responsibility). Sessions opposed legislation earlier this year to reduce prison time for some drug offenders, citing the need to protect cities and communities from the release of allegedly “violent” and “dangerous” felons. This kind of alarmist rhetoric not only mirrors that of the president-elect’s tough-on-crime and law-and-order messages, but also those of President Richard Nixon, President Ronald Reagan, and President Bill Clinton. Undoubtedly, the pattern of reduced sentences and commutations from the Obama administration will end. But perhaps the cause of more concern is the change in rhetoric the Trump administration and the Sessions-led Justice Department will bring. As many scholars have noted, Nixon-, Reagan-, and Clinton-era rhetoric and policies were not only ineffective in reducing crime, but also constituted an oppression and economic plunder of African-American communities as well as other communities of color to a scale rivaled only by slavery. To think that this country’s leaders will return to such rhetoric should horrify and shock us. And that such rhetoric will be institutionalized and normalized on the foundation of racially discriminative support for the president-elect is unthinkably regressive, not to mention dangerous. In the coming weeks, months, and years, we must consistently and fervently oppose such a narrative, lest its basis in racial oppression and economic falsities prevail.
By Isaiah Fleming-Klink He is a sophomore in the SFS.
Party Culture and Success in a World With Mental Illness One of the main reasons I chose to attend Georgetown was that our lack of sororities and fraternities means campus social life revolves around student groups. In theory, this means that everyone makes friends with people they share interests with and no one is excluded if they choose not to participate in one thing or the other. As I’ve been at Georgetown, I’ve learned this has a significant drawback. Because of the way college social life is structured, most clubs’ meetings outside of official functions are parties. Therefore, people who don’t go to parties are less well known in their student groups, which has implications for elected positions. If you’re running for a position and nobody knows who you are, you’re out of luck. What’s a large group of people who don’t go to parties? There are a lot of students who are simply too busy or just uninterested, but one group stands out to me: students living with a mental illness. Mental illnesses can impede party-going in many ways. Many parties, especially on college campuses, involve consumption of alcohol in large amounts, in which many with mental illnesses cannot partake safely. Additionally, many mentally-ill students often feel too anxious to attend a large party and will turn to substances to serve as a social lubricant. This thought process makes them
more likely to overindulge; alcohol abuse is linked to mental health disorders, and excessive drinking increases the risk of both alcohol poisoning in the short term and addiction and chronic health problems further down the road. Further, recovering alcoholics and addicts often cannot so much as be around alcohol safely, so they also are unable to participate in these events. As a result, a lot of students, often for reasons of mental illness, avoid parties. This means they’re not involved in the social scene of groups they are a part of, so they aren’t as well known and therefore are less likely to be chosen for leadership positions. Their resumés suffer, in no small part due to the effects of their mental illness. So how can we solve this problem? I think the university’s response to sororities and fraternities is indicative of a potential change. Significant pressure has been put on these groups to avoid potentially negative behavior: drinking and hazing. From what I understand, there is very little of these activities taking place as a result—my friends in sororities have never experienced alcohol at a sorority-related event, and nothing that could even be considered hazing is ever allowed. But there are other student groups that have little to no university pressure on them—why is that? Could we put the same pressure on all student groups? Should we?
And if so, how? It starts, like many issues with mental health, with addressing the stigma that surrounds mental illness. The first thing we need to do is collectively acknowledge that this is a problem. The student body must actively place the well-being of their members above their own enjoyment. The problem must be brought to the attention of the university faculty, who must then acknowledge the issue and be willing to be vilified in order to fix it. There will be backlash, of course. A lot of people enjoy parties and will argue that the amount of students that would suffer is greater than the amount that would benefit. However, if the students and administrators stay strong in their support of mentally ill students, they will be able to make their voices louder and create real, substantive change. One of Georgetown’s values is cura personalis—care of the whole person—and that means we must care for every aspect of a person, including the mental illness from which they may suffer. It is our responsibility as a student body to stand together and push for these changes to protect each other.
By Rebecca Zaritsky She is a freshman in the College.
THE GEORGETOWN VOICE
Fortune Cookie Wisdom
The Electoral College Dilutes Purple Votes My family has an odd tradition when we eat Chinese food. Everyone finishes their food and grabs a fortune cookie, but before unlocking its secret, you have to wait for someone to declare an “ending” phrase that everyone must then add to their fortunes, read aloud. Usually this leads to tame, lame, mildly entertaining sayings—“You look pretty today...with no pants,” “A smile is your passport into the hearts of others...but not on Thursdays.” This past summer, I found myself in charge of coming up with the ending phrase, sitting around a takeout-filled table with my parents and girlfriend. Being the clever, politically savvy person I thought myself to be, I quickly exclaimed, “When Donald Trump is president! ” At that point, I was sure Trump’s nomination meant little in the face of his imminent and inevitable campaign missteps and misconduct, and “Adversity is the parent of virtue...when Donald Trump is president” seemed not so much prescient but instead laughable, something to be met with can-you-even-imagine snickers. I am from a very blue state, Massachusetts, and a purple family that is more blue than red. My politics come from my parents, from The West Wing, and from a mostly liberal mindset fostered by my upbringing and my time at Georgetown. I voted for Hillary Clinton without any hesitation, having viewed her email-related problems as inconsequential not only in the face of Trump’s behavior but also when compared to her past achievements and future vision, muddled though it may have been. Possessing just about any privilege you can think up, I do not have to deal with the outright fear many of my peers and classmates who are members of more vulnerable groups do. Mostly, I now have to face the realities of the country in which I live, a country that is undeniably different from the one I imagined and heard about. And we must understand that this election is not simply about exit poll breakdowns. Clinton won among women, minorities, people aged 18-44, and voters with
income under $50,000; Trump won among men, whites, and people over 44. It appears the two essentially split the wealthy vote. But none of these are binaries or absolutes. Millions of women voted for Trump, and millions of men voted for Clinton. Many whites voted for Clinton, and many Hispanics voted for Trump. It is fruitless to pick out the demographics that swung this election. American people of all colors, genders, and income levels swung this election, voting out of wide-ranging motivations, fears, and frustrations. In reading accounts of election night and the days that preceded, you will often see campaign leaders say things like “We knew we didn’t even need North Carolina as long as we kept Florida” or “Once we heard the early reports from Pennsylvania, we knew something special was happening.” You cannot fault campaigners for this thinking—the math of our presidential electoral system necessitates it, but I think it is time we stop accepting it. Before you read this as me denouncing the Electoral College because of Clinton’s advantage in the popular vote, stop. The results are in, and Donald Trump is our next president. Movements seeking to disrupt the Electoral College’s December vote or anything similar would only bring about greater unrest. Ohio is surely different from Massachusetts, as is Florida from New York, but more important are the differences that exist between the people who live in each place. Boston is different from Worcester and New Bedford. Orlando is different from Jacksonville, and New York City is far different from the rest of its state, many of its counties being red. We have a system in place that groups together and dilutes the voices of its citizens, regionalizing a country that contains far too many to be represented by so few. In 2004, then-Sen. Obama set the Democratic National Convention afire with ideas discounting the presence of red states or blue states and emphasizing that we have only a United States, though it should be noted that even then his moving rhetoric led to a
Democratic defeat. But as of now, in political minds, there are blue states and there are red states. Sometimes their colors change over the course of four years, something Trump proved keenly aware of and capable of capitalizing on, but no matter what, they have a label corresponding to that binary. This is unhealthy and absurd, given the pluralities present in states, counties, cities, towns, and households. Essentially, I am suggesting we abolish the Electoral College, an idea that is neither revolutionary nor original. But again, I say this not to endorse an immediate Clinton uprising, though it still pains me to look at her increasing popular vote lead. I say this to endorse a system that accounts for blue voices in red states, red voices in blue ones, and for the people who exist happily outside our country’s binary color scheme. With almost 100 million eligible voters staying home this year (a fact that is getting far less press than it should), it is clear that our system is in need of change, not to prevent Donald Trump from being president, but to encourage active and direct influence over the government from which so many people of so many groups feel alienated. “Adversity is the parent of virtue...when Donald Trump is president.” Those words could end up being a useful guide for these next four years, years that I still look toward with great apprehension. But little slips of paper can hold only so much wisdom, and we no longer need them to imagine Trump as our leader. He is here to stay, for better and—I really hope—not for worse. But we should remember how he got here. As he has done before, he gamed a system he knows is flawed.
By Brian McMahon He is a senior in the College.
DECEMBER 2, 2016
Do Not Take Your Democracy for Granted I come from a highly politicized country where abstaining from voting is considered shameful. In Turkey, the rule of “no politics at the dinner table” would be met with ridicule. I grew up in an even more politicized family that may not eat dinner together every night, but no matter what, will sit down at nine every weeknight for the nightly ritual of watching political talk shows and fiery debates—both of which are much more tense and humorless than anything I have seen in America. One of the reasons I chose Georgetown was because I knew I wanted to be surrounded by people who are as obsessed with politics as I am, and as any Georgetown student might expect, my wish was fulfilled ten-fold. Thankfully, my tendency to refresh my Twitter feed every 20 minutes is anything but discouraged, and I expect to wake up to fascinating articles on urban crime already being discussed in my group chats. In the aftermath of the election, I sense a great deal of anxiety around me. I suspect that it is not because a majority of Hoyas are liberals who supported Clinton, but because they understand the policy implications of our president-elect’s roughly proposed agenda. I share this rightful anxiety. But I maintain a great deal of hope, which comes from a firm belief in American institutions and in the power of the American voice. My friends here and in Turkey are aware that I am extremely frustrated with the current state of American politics. But my cynicism about American politics has always been accompanied by a call to action. I know the value of the freedoms of speech, expression, and assembly because I come from a country with a long tradition of suppressing all three. With the latest crackdown in the aftermath of the July 15 coup attempt, activism in Turkey has become nearly impossible. The current state of emergency dictates that no form of protest is permitted. None. No peaceful sit-ins, no candlelight vigils, no marches, nothing. Any of these almost guarantee detention and arrest, and I will not even go into the horrific human rights abuses that take place in Turkish prisons. But America has a tradition of change through activism. I acknowledge the overwhelming influence of corporate money on policy-making in America, but history proves to me that when enough people demand change—and demand it forcefully, with action rather than
words—change happens. After all, it wasn’t Wall Street that gave women the right to vote, and it wasn’t corporate CEOs that fostered the Civil Rights Movement. I want you to understand that you possess something more valuable than your vote: you have a voice that is heard and has the power to bring about change. I want you to acknowledge this privilege and your moral duty to exercise it on behalf of every oppressed group in the country, as well as peoples abroad who unquestionably bear the brunt of the intolerant currents in American politics. And I know that activism can still be very dangerous in this country, especially for black and brown people. Just look at the injustice and violence that is happening in North Dakota as I write this piece. This is one of the reasons why I am promoting activism while it is still possible. We can remove the stigma associated with it and advance democracy in this country. With all that said, I must add that I am not talking about candlelight vigils. I am most definitely not talking about Facebook posts and retweets and reblogs and the like. Solidarity is important and valuable, but it is not enough if we want to protect the lives and rights of vulnerable populations in this time of extreme anxiety. I am talking about boycotts, strikes, and acts of civil disobedience that actually cause inconvenience to those who choose to continue injustice, whether it be politicians or corporations. My message is clear. No matter what your political affiliations and convictions are, your complaints are useless if you refuse to change things that you most definitely have the ability to change. We are lucky to attend an institution that allows student activist groups to fight against injustices everywhere, so instead of sitting in your room and sharing the same old hopeless articles on Facebook, find out how you can get involved in your community and make your voice heard.
By Deniz Yuksel She is a sophomore in the SFS.
Collaboration and Coordination Drive Change On Friday, Nov. 18, I took a walk. Starting in Red Square, I strolled down O, made a right on Wisconsin, left on M, slight right on Pennsylvania, and then slight left on L. All the way I chanted slogans like “Climate change affects us all!”, “Who’s planet? Our planet!”, and “This is what democracy looks like!” But by doing this, I myself changed nothing. While I may have achieved nothing, the walk I took was impactful nonetheless. It was part of an organized protest, and therefore hundreds of other people convened, taking that same walk, shouting the same chants, all at the same time as I was. Through this coordination, similar protests elsewhere, and rising public awareness, the appointment of climate change denier Myron Ebell as leader of the EPA could be stopped. No individual anything will ever, on its own, change anything. CEOs couldn’t affect change, wouldn’t even have a job themselves, without the workers under them. The president is fully beholden to his aides, as well as the congress, courts, and bureaucrats (and many more). Every protest ever wouldn’t exist without the conscious decision of its participants to be present. There’s this romanticized notion of one determined individual or actor effecting massive change on a particular element of our world. Yes, there really are individuals without whom our reality would be far different. I don’t deny that without Martin Luther King Jr., for example, the Civil Rights Movement would have been far different and likely less effective. When you examine cases like this more closely, however, it becomes clear that without the work of hundreds, thousands, millions, any influential actor’s efforts would be futile. People working in tandem effect change. Individuals, working fully alone, do not. Nor could they. Many are rightfully upset about the election. Many feel they ought to do something to preserve and promote the cause, value, or issue they believe is threatened by the impending Trump administration. If you consider yourself in this camp, act on this sentiment. Again, you will not be the sole mover of change; I promise you won’t be ‘the one’ to save us from societal problems or threats you see in the Trump administration. But never let this discourage you. If you feel impassioned about something, join the forces of change. By doing so you become an instigator of change, and you become part of that trend. Do nothing and you are simply a bystander of a problem for which you could be a part of the solution.
Living in a democracy, Americans have outlets for which we can effect change. Similar to how real change unfolds, the democratic process necessitates coordinated action by many, all with a common desired outcome. Not only is the notion of one person creating massive comprehensive change fully unrealistic, untrue, and mythical, it is fundamentally undemocratic. Thus both the reality of how change unfolds and the very principles underlying democracy both require as widespread participation as necessary to achieve particular outcomes. Never forget that we live in a democracy. Never forget how real change occurs. Act on the sentiments you feel regarding what our country looks like now and how it will look over the next four years. Go to protests, call your senators and congressional representatives (I cannot stress this enough). Go to their offices and voice your opinions. Vote, not just in national elections, but with every single chance you get to express who you want in office. Post on social media, join groups that effect change in the ways you desire: do not forgo any opportunity you have to promote an outcome you seek. As Georgetown students, we are in a particularly conducive environment to promote change. Our fundamental job is to think and to learn. So think about how you would prefer events to unfold, and if you feel passionate about such desires, act on them. In addition, learn as much as you can. Read from a variety of sources. Avoid the echo chambers. Hear out in full what different-minded people have to say, and give them credit for valid points they raise. At the very least this will strengthen your argument for your own stance. At most you may reevaluate your beliefs to include viewpoints you may never have previously considered. When you are presented with ways by which you can express your ideas, do not hesitate. You are a potentially integral part of any movement for change. Emma Watson, on the issue of gender equality, challenged people to act by asking themselves, “If not me, who? If not now, when?” This applies to any movement for change, especially in democracies. If you are dissatisfied, act.
By Matt Maury He is a sophomore in the College.
THE GEORGETOWN VOICE
Fight Pain With Laughter
Comedy as a Vehicle for Tough Dialogue
On the night of Saturday, Nov. 19, the line to enter DAR Constitution Hall stretched around the corner. It was comprised primarily of sophisticated middle-aged D.C. residents donning fur trimmed trench coats and leather jackets, just in time for the first frigid night of the season. Sprinkled among them were college students and elderly couples. All, including myself, were patiently waiting, excited to sit down and watch the famous Louis C.K. work his magic to create laughs, and to lighten moods in this stressful, tense time. As a complete outsider to the standup comedy scene, skeptical that a single person on a stage can make me laugh, I was less excited and more hopeful that my $25 and the possibility of hypothermia were worth it. After two rising comedians opened the show, the star of the night finally came out to resounding applause. The crowd settled down and the first thing to come out of the alleged comedic genius’s mouth was, “Abortion is like taking a shit.” Then, after a pause, “or like killing a baby.” The absurdity of the statement made me slightly uncomfortable, but the real surprise was the reaction of the audience surrounding me. Seasoned businessmen in $1000 suits, sour wrinkled old couples, and young women were all concertedly roaring with laughter at this combination of elementary school poop humor with an uber sensitive political issue. Despite my initial surprise, I quickly abandoned my uneasiness and began to thoroughly enjoy the quick pace, the silliness, and the overall cynical tone of the show. I found myself cackling along with the rest of the crowd and clapping wholeheartedly at the end. I walked out satisfied, deeming the night a success, thankful to my friends for introducing me to this form of entertainment. The following Monday, I was unusually eager to respond to the disinterested formality of “How was your weekend?” and enlighten my tired, gloomy peers with a detailed relation of Saturday night’s jokes. However, as I replayed the bits in
my head, trying to decide which one would elicit the most enthusiastic reaction, I found myself at a loss for words. Every joke, when imagined outside the context of Louis C.K.’s show, seemed too awkward, childish, or distasteful. Abortion, starving children, racial inequality, sexism—all of which were somehow hilarious the other night, now returned to their standard place in the box of categorically taboo conversation topics. Needless to say, no dialogue ensued, but the incident made me question all my laughs the other night. Why did a light hearted comedy show focus on such sensitive issues, and why was it funny? The answer lies closer to me than I thought. All I had to do was open Twitter or Facebook and scroll through the abundant memes that appeared immediately after the election of Donald Trump. Humor seemed so out of place—America had just elected an inexperienced, bigoted, racist, and sexist man to be president. Yet the proliferation of memes was as rapid as ever, because on a day that was so overwhelmingly tragic and full of panic, they served as a momentary relief, as a quick escape from the feelings of powerlessness and uncertainty the whole country was experiencing. The idea of comedy as an escape made sense, but it left me dissatisfied and even disappointed. In a country where comedy shows dominate television and standup comedians enjoy vast popularity, could our society be constantly running away from our most pressing problems? Is our laughter a sign of complacency, a failure to exercise our right to make a difference as citizens of a democratic nation? To answer this question, and hopefully prove myself wrong, I looked to none other than the birthplace of democracy—Ancient Greece—where I discovered that stand up comedy was a practice born long before America was even a country. Philosophers whose names can be heard in any PHIL 101 class, whose ideas started entire movements,
whose teachings left an everlasting legacy, favored standup comedy as a technique to encourage free speech. A fundamental component of any democracy, in Ancient Athens it had its own name—Parrhesia. Philosophers used Parrhesia to openly make fun of politicians, public figures, religion, and laws, thereby forcing people to question the society they lived in. Today, I think the purpose of standup comedy remains the same. As a practice rooted in philosophy, its aim is similar to philosophy’s—to question and thereby elicit contemplation. When Louis C.K. brings up racial inequality in America through a humorous anecdote, he isn’t minimizing the issue or writing it off by laughing about it. Rather, he’s forcing his audience to face this uncomfortable problem that many Americans chose to ignore. Combining absurdity with serious topics makes people voluntarily listen to a discussion of realities they would otherwise prefer not to think about. Right now, comedy might be more relevant than ever. Our country is at the peak of ideological, cultural and political division, and the only remedy I can think of is conversation and understanding. Both are easier said than done, because no group wants to change their stance. But maybe through the use of humor, we can encourage each other to think about things from a different perspective, and thereby create the empathy and understanding that we are so desperately lacking. So next time you talk to your Trumpsupporting friend or uncle, consider throwing in a poop joke with undertones of intersectional feminism.
By Elizabeth Pankova She is a freshman in the College.
DECEMBER 2, 2016
Weathering the Storm Climate Policy in D.C.
Cecilia Li and Jake Glass
By Isaiah Seibert In just a few days in June 2006, heavy rain put too much pressure on the city’s sewer system, causing major flooding in the Federal Triangle area. The water forced several Smithsonian museums to temporarily close, flooded two metro stations, and caused millions of dollars in damages. The June 2006 floods are examples of severe weather events included in the new Climate Ready DC Plan. The plan, released Nov. 15 by the District Department of Energy and Environment (DOEE), outlines how climate change will affect D.C. and lists 77 steps to make the city more adaptable to changes in the environment. Developing the plan was a multi-step process lasting around two-and-a-half years. “We worked with a really renowned climate and atmospheric scientist, Katharine Hayhoe,” said Maribeth DeLorenzo, deputy director of the Urban Sustainability Administration at the DOEE. “We first looked at what was the climate science and how do we downscale it to look specifically at how climate science would impact Washington.” The European Commision on Climate Change reports that under current conditions, the average global temperature will increase at least 2°C, and according to the plan, the resulting environmental changes will lead to an increase in the number of days of extreme heat in the city. Historically, the average high temperature during the summer was 87°F, but the plan predicts that by 2080s, the high will be between 93°F and 97°F. The plan also states that there will be an increased likelihood of flooding caused by changes in precipitation patterns, with rainfall staying constant but more likely to be concentrated in the fall and summer. Rising sea levels will also cause water levels to rise in the Anacostia and Potomac rivers. “Then we moved to the second phase which was an exercise in terms of thinking about vulnerable infrastructure, vulnerable populations, vulnerable neighborhoods,” DeLorenzo said, and from this set of information, the DOEE developed a list of steps needed in order to help the city adapt to climate change.
The plan details how these environmental changes put both the city’s infrastructure and its residents in danger. According to the plan, some of the metro’s underground stations have flooded and continue to be at risk of flooding while extreme heat could damage its above-ground tracks. Three of the city’s substations, which provide electrical power to the District, are at risk of flooding, and continued heavy flooding would put severe pressure on the city’s sewer and stormwater runoff systems. The plan also describes the unequal distribution of the effects of climate change on people throughout the city. “Wards 7 and 8 are most vulnerable given high levels of unemployment, poverty, obesity, and asthma, as well as a large elderly population,” the plan reads. The plan outlines the steps the city can take to adapt to these environmental changes, which include updates to transportation and utilities systems, updates to buildings for energy efficiency and climate adaptation, and improved emergency preparedness. As an adaptation plan and not a mitigation plan, Climate Ready DC Plan addresses how to cope with inevitable climate change rather than attempting to curb human impact on the environment to prevent change. Dagomar Degroot, an assistant professor of history at Georgetown who specializes in environmental history, explained in an email to the Voice that environmental policy consists of both mitigation, which refers to cutting emissions, and adaptation, coping with the changes in the climate. He wrote, “Without mitigation, no amount of adaptation will save many of our present-day cities and societies.” “For more than a decade, some of the most exciting adaptation work has actually happened at the sub-national level, and particularly at the city level. The Climate Ready DC Plan is part of that effort,” Degroot wrote. In recent years, the city and its offices, including the DOEE, have taken a more proactive role in mitigating
climate change and preparing for its inevitable effects. The DOEE, created in 2006 as the Department of Energy (DDOE) and renamed to the Department of Energy and Environment in 2015, has had a major role in shaping D.C. environmental policy. “For a long time, people didn’t view urban areas as having environmental responsibilities, and many of those responsibilities were all through D.C. government in different agencies so it was consolidated into one department, the Department of Environment,” said Tommy Wells, the director of the DDOE. “All of those things in the past were addressed, but were they addressed in a more comprehensive way that you get from housing it all in one department? No. So it’s far more comprehensive now.” In 2006, the Council of the District of Columbia also passed the Green Building Act of 2006, which established energy efficiency standards initially for public building, then expanded the mandate to publically-financed and lastly private ones. In 2009, city council passed the Anacostia River Clean Up and Protection Act. The act, which went into effect Jan. 1, 2010, requires stores selling food or alcohol to charge fivecents for plastic and paper bags. The store keeps one cent per five, two if they offer incentives for customers to use their own bags, and the Anacostia River Clean Up and Protection Fund receives the remaining money, which they use for a variety of programs including trash collection, water restoration, and educational outreach. According to the DDOE website, there has been a significant reduction in the use of plastic and paper bags since the law went into effect. The mayor’s office has also been involved in environmental policy. In 2012, it released the Sustainable DC Plan. This plan takes a broad approach to sustainability, addressing a variety of topics from climate and environmental policy to jobs and the economy and to diversity with the stated goal of “making DC more socially equitable, environmentally responsive, and economically prosperous.”
THE GEORGETOWN VOICE
The Sustainable DC Plan also called for studies about climate adaptation. The District Department of Transportation released such a study in 2013 with its Climate Adaptation Survey, and the Climate Ready DC Plan is the DOEE’s response. “Sustainable DC Plan is the overarching plan for the work of urban sustainability administration, but also the work across the city,” Wells said. “It covers things like sustainable procurement practices to other Department of Transportation’s activities, Department of Government Services that oversees our buildings, it does have a lot, it’s kinda the overall plan that impacts all other plans.” In addition to releasing the final report of the Climate Ready DC Plan in November of this year, the DDOE released the first draft of its Clean Energy DC Plan in October. The plan, which outlines how the city can meet its goal of reducing emissions 50 percent by 2032, will be in draft form for at least a year to allow for public comment, and Wells hoped that the Clean Energy DC Plan will serve as a model for other developed cities. As with the Clean Energy DC Plan, there are many ways in which D.C. is a leader in environmental policy. According to Wells, the city leads the country in the number of energystar buildings and green roofs. “I think Washington, D.C. is viewed as an international leader,” said Wells, “but we don’t take any comfort in that because we know we have to keep adapting and innovating at a very fast pace.” Wells and DeLorenzo both said that this adaptation and innovation are not one-sided and that cities have to work together to solve these issues. D.C. is a part of several multi-city initiatives, such as the C40 and the Compact of Mayors, that bring cities across the country and around the world together to work on environmental issues. As part of the Carbon Neutral Cities Alliance, D.C. has committed to cutting emissions 80 percent by 2050, using 2006 levels as a baseline. “I believe that we do lead, but we know that there’s other cities that are doing things that we want to learn about and that we’re excited about so we established a partnership between the Department of Environment with Copenhagen,” Wells
said. The DOEE hopes to learn about cloudburst management from Copenhagen while Copenhagen is learning from D.C.’s resiliency plans. Another area in which D.C. looks toward other cities for guidance is in its transportation policy. “We’re all having ridesharing, ride-hailing, driverless cars, this is an area, a sector, where there’s huge innovation happening,” said DeLorenzo. “I think we’re all trying to figure out what does that look like for sustainability because as much as it’s wonderful and convenient to have Uber and Lyft, some of the early research is showing that that’s resulting in more vehicle miles traveled.” Some environmental groups are concerned that a Trump presidency may put recent environmental progress in danger. The President-elect tweeted in 2012, “The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.” Additionally, his campaign platform contained several points that many environmental activists find worrisome, such as leasing federal lands on and off-shore for coal and encouraging the use of shale, natural gas, oil, and coal. Besides the rhetoric and campaign promises, his actions since the election have worried many people concerned about the future of the environment. Students for Climate Security organized a Nov. 17 protest in which around 100 students marched from campus to the office of Myron Ebell, director of Energy and the Environment at the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) which, according to the New York Times, is partially funded by the fossil fuel industry. Ebell is Trump’s appointment to head the transition team at the EPA. The Times has also reported that Ebell challenges scientific research around anthropogenic climate change. “I think the next four years certainly promise to be very challenging for environmental protection, particularly if Trump’s campaign promises and his initial appointments and advisers are an indication of his policies to come,” said Sara Colangelo (LAW ’07), adjunct professor at the Georgetown Law Center and director of its Environmental Law and Policy program.
Colangelo thinks some actions that a Trump presidency may take regarding environmental policy include rollbacks of some environmental protections like the Clean Power Plan and Waters of the United States Rule, a loosening of restrictions surrounding average fuel economy in cars and trucks, and a serious defunding of environmental and scientific government agencies. Additionally, she said that Trump may also pull out of the Paris Agreement or refuse to follow through with some of the commitments under the agreement such as sending aid to developing countries. In addition to broad changes in environmental policy at the federal level, a Trump presidency could negatively impact how more local forms of government, like D.C., conduct environmental policy. “The worst case scenario from a state perspective would be the use of Trump administration power, especially in concert with Republican-controlled House and Senate, to preempt or prohibit state-based regulation or enforcement of environmental policy and regulation,” Colangelo said. However, the Constitution’s guarantee of federalism often does protect cities like D.C. from federal intervention in local policy. “The states, and in particular localities, do have some insulation from what happens at the federal level and that’s just a function of the Constitution and separation of powers and the concept of federalism,” Colangelo said. “There are powers that are traditionally reserved to the states and localities, a good example would be land-use planning or control over infrastructure design, that will always leave room for state innovation and action on climate issues and a host of other environmental initiatives, again at that state-based or local level.” Speaking of D.C.’s commitment to its residents with regard to climate issues, Wells said, “I can’t imagine serving the residents of D.C. and backing off of our progress and commitment on all the fronts that we’re working on. I suspect we’ll continue to be a leader nationally and internationally, but I also suspect that we’ll be doing it without a federal partner or as much federal partnership, but again, that remains to be seen.”
A Brief History of D.C. Environmental Action 2006
District Department of Environment (DDOE) created District Council passed Green Building Act of 2006
District Council passed Anacostia River Clean Up and Protection Act
Executive Office of the Mayor released Sustainable DC Plan DDOE released Anacostia 203 Plan for a Fishable and Swimmable Anacostia River
District Department of Transportation (DDOT) released Climate Adaptation Survey
Department of Energy renamed District Department of Energy and Environment (DOEE) DOEE updated DC Wildlife Action Plan, first released in 2006
DOEE released Climate Ready DC Plan
DECEMBER 2, 2016
Meeting the Need: Why Georgetown misses out on some top low-income students every year Inherent in Jesuit educational values is a focus on providing premier academics to all students, regardless of background. “There is deeply rooted in the Jesuit tradition a commitment to merit over accident or good fortune of birth,” said Vice President for Advancement Bart Moore (SFS ’87). Moore explained that at the first Jesuit university in Messina, Italy, wealthy students helped subsidize the cost of the poorer students. “This is deeply engrained in our DNA,” he added. However, Georgetown, the oldest Catholic and Jesuit university in the United States, was only the 88th most economically diverse and accessible university in the country in 2015 according to a New York Times ranking, and every year it loses top students to peer institutions like Harvard and Yale because it cannot offer as competitive financial aid packages for middle and low-income students, according to Dean of Student Financial Services Patricia McWade and Dean of Admissions Charles Deacon (COL ’64, GRD ’69). While the ranking ignored Georgetown’s commitment to being need-blind in admissions and meeting the full need of domestic students – placing it on a select list of colleges with the ability to do so – Georgetown still enrolls fewer students receiving Pell grants as a percent of its student body than other schools that meet this same commitment, such as Harvard, Brown, Stanford, and Vassar. The ranking factored in the price that middle- and lowincome students pay, the size of the school’s endowment, and the percent of students receiving Pell funds. A small federal scholarship of less than $6,000, Pell grants are typically awarded to students who demonstrate a high need in order to help cover the financial burden of college, McWade said. Although there is no income cutoff for Pell eligibility, she estimated that students who qualify have a household income of roughly $40,000 per year. Only 13 percent of Georgetown students receive Pell grants, although McWade said more are admitted each year. The university’s reliance on loans in financial aid packages may deter them from choosing Georgetown, she said. “We’re losing Pell-eligible kids that we admitted,” McWade said. “Some of them come to us, and some don’t. And it’s not for lack of trying.” Because of Georgetown’s commitment to being needblind and meeting full need for domestic students, it cannot increase or decrease the total amount of aid it gives out after
admitting a class, only the makeup of the aid, because that amount is dependent on how much aid the class needs. It may give a marginal amount of more scholarships in place of loans one year, but overall, the university commits to meeting the full need of the class regardless of how much that need is. “The problem for us is we’re grouped with these other schools, happily at the top, and we’re like them or even stronger than them on many of the measures you would use to group them there, but one measure where we’re not in that group is an endowment,” Deacon said. Because they have larger endowments on which they can rely more heavily to fund scholarships each year, peer schools like Harvard, Yale, and Princeton have eliminated loans from their financial aid offerings while still meeting the full need of students, according to their admissions and financial aid websites.
“We’re losing Pelleligible kids that we admitted,” McWade said. “Some of them come to us, and some don’t. And it’s not for lack of trying.”
When determining aid packages, Georgetown makes up the difference between the expected family contribution and the amount of loans given out with scholarships, McWade explained. It also adds in Pell grants when students qualify, though they are small relative to Georgetown-funded scholarships. The average size of a need-based Georgetown scholarship was $37,829 in the 2015 to 2016 academic year. On average, Georgetown students receive $3,000 to $5,000 per year in loans. Georgetown also expects its students
By Ryan Miller
receiving aid to work a part-time job earning around $3,000 per year, McWade said. This reliance on loans hits lower and middle income families the hardest. Only 38 percent of accepted students from the middle income group actually enroll, Deacon said. “If we had better or stronger financial aid offers, we’d probably have a much different outcome,” Deacon said. The staff in the financial aid office and the admissions office is also smaller compared to peer schools, Deacon noted, and Georgetown cannot as aggressively recruit students or ensure that they complete their financial aid forms as others. “Say we want to do what Harvard is doing, which is to add a lot staff and make a lot of focus on low-income students. And we want to ramp that up a lot higher than the normal, reasonable program we’re doing. We want to make it an exceptional plan. Probably wouldn’t be prudent for Georgetown to do that unless it had the ability to fund the need,” Deacon said. Additionally, Georgetown continues to increase its tuition every year with plans to raise it at four percent per year over the next four years. In the 2015 to 2016 academic year, the average cost of attendance at the university hit $67,520, according to data from the Office of Student Financial Services. While Deacon does not think that increasing tuition affects low-income, Pell-eligible students’ decisions to apply to Georgetown given that most of its peers have equally high costs of attendance, he said that its applicant pool is skewed toward wealthier students. Deacon’s office will read around 22,000 applications this year, and he expects 10,000 to 15,000 applicants to come from wealthy backgrounds and only 3,000 to 4,000 to come from low-income backgrounds. McWade, who does annual forecasts on how much aid Georgetown will need to give out, said that there is a consistency to Georgetown’s applicant pool each year. In her 25 years at Georgetown, she has never seen an unexpected change or increase in the number of students that would need aid. If Georgetown did want to change the structure of its applicant pool and enrolling class, Deacon said it would affect the competitive nature of the school. “Georgetown does not want to drop down in ranks simply to be able to change the mix of students here. We want it to be at the top, and we want the very best of the lower income,” he added.
THE GEORGETOWN VOICE
In order to attract low-income students, Georgetown currently works through what Deacon calls pipelines. These are organizations that help the university identify these students and support them as they apply to college as well as schools, such as the Cristo Rey network, which specifically educate low-income students. According to Deacon, around 50 students who attend Georgetown went to Cristo Rey high schools, but he said many of these students struggle once they get here. “They’re hard-working, great kids, but even for the top school kids in the Cristo Rey network, it’s a reach for them to come to Georgetown because the overall competitive nature of the university is a notch above most places,” Deacon said. If Georgetown wanted to admit more low-income students, Deacon said they would have to come from “farther down into the talent pool.” While Georgetown has missed out on a pool of talented students due to its financial situation, it has recently begun working to aggressively increase its fundraising for scholarships, according to Moore whose office handles donations and capital campaigns. Last year Georgetown raised $70 million for financial aid, and it has averaged $54 million per year since 2009. However from 2003 to 2008, Georgetown raised less than $11 million per year in aid, according to Moore. The push came as a result of the prioritization of aid in the recently concluded For Generations to Come capital campaign, a fundraising effort focused on four target areas – scholarship and financial aid, faculty and academic excellence, community life, including facilities, athletics, and co-curricular activities, and improving existing programs within the university.
“If we had better or stronger financial aid offers, we’d probably have a much different outcome,” Deacon said.
Although financial aid was the only category that fell short of its stated goal of $500 million, it still raised $429 million, the largest fundraising effort for scholarship in Georgetown’s history, Moore said. The $429 million includes undergraduate and graduate aid for current use gifts, meaning donations used to fund a specific scholarship once, and contributions to the university’s endowment. Georgetown had never actively fundraised for aid as a high institutional priority until the recent campaign’s fourth year. Because of the economic downturn in 2008, the university identified $500 million in financial aid as a necessary fundraising target simply to meet its commitment to funding full need for students, Moore said. The $429 million raised has allowed Georgetown to continue to meet its full-need commitment and
modestly improve its financial aid packages, according to Moore. Part of the reason that the university could raise the aid money was due to the fact that donations made to the main campus from the annual giving program without a specific purpose automatically went go to undergraduate aid, Moore said. In the past, it had been left to the discretion of the provost to divide these funds among faculty and research, financial aid, and student programs like athletics. Moore also said aid was the only publicly stated priority of the campaign for almost two years. However, given Georgetown’s policy of meeting full need, Moore said donors sometimes do not think of financial aid when considering their gifts because their donation cannot increase the total aid amount of aid awarded and would only change the nature of the packages offered. “It will feel like they are giving to a policy commitment rather than to a priority or to a person,” Moore said. “There are people with whom we have conversations about gifts or giving and they say, ‘So wait, you mean my gift is not going to result in $50,000 more financial aid being awarded in total at the university?’ And the answer to that is no, and that’s because of the logic of our meet full need commitment.” Moore said having conversations with donors about giving to aid in order to increase scholarship and decrease loans has been productive to some extent, but it is ultimately up to the donor to decide where their money goes. As the amount of gifts to aid increases, Georgetown can also lessen the impact that aid has on its current operating budget. In 2016, 18 percent of Georgetown’s main campus expenses, or $122 million, went toward financial aid, according to data presented at the Hoya Roundtable on tuition and budgeting on Nov. 18. At the event, Provost Robert Groves said operating the more than $1.1 billion dollar university-wide budget is full of tradeoffs in trying to minimize tuition for students while still providing the services they demand. “We’re attempting to improve Georgetown and the services you get, but it isn’t costless,” Groves said. In recent years, one particular pressure students have placed on administrators has been facility maintenance. In the most recent campus plan, the university states renovating existing dorms as one of its priorities, in part due to student input in the planning process. In March 2015, GUSA released a petition asking the university to maintain existing buildings before starting new construction on campus. The university also has legal obligations from the previous campus plan, which also puts a strain on its operating budget. As a result of the 2010 campus plan, 385 new beds were required on campus by fall 2015. GUSA President Enushe Khan (MSB ’17) and Vice President Chris Fisk (COL ’17) did not respond to questions sent via email. In order to fund new buildings, the university uses donations, its capital balances, or cash from the universities’ businesses after their expenses as well as yearly budget surpluses, and debt, Vice President of Finance and University Treasurer David Rubenstein wrote in an email to the Voice. Pedro Arrupe Hall, for example, cost the university $46 million coming from the capital balances and debt, according to the university’s financial plan for 2017 to 2020. In 2016, the university ran a $9.1 million surplus, its largest in the last four years. However, from 2003 to 2013, Georgetown operated with yearly deficits between $3.8 million and $23.9 million, according to data presented at the Hoya Roundtable on tuition. These surpluses cannot help fund scholarships in place of
loans because scholarships are a current expense, according to Rubenstein. If the university awarded the surplus to a scholarship in place of loans for an incoming student one year, it would have to ensure that the money still existed the following years to continue meeting that student’s full need. If the university had a specific goal in mind, such as increasing by a certain percentage the number of students it enrolls who receive Pell grants, Deacon said that surpluses could be used to fund an endowment that could help meet that goal in the long run.
“We’re attempting to improve Georgetown and the services you get, but it isn’t costless,” Groves said. “Capital projects are great, and I’m glad they planted some pretty flowers over here – hopefully they’re permanent,” Deacon said. “But did we need the Thompson Center? I’m sure different people have different opinions, but I would say in the end if we’re committed to that area and we’re woeful in our athletic facilities, it was a good thing. Did we need as much of it as we got? That’s a question you could say, ‘Gee, could it have been done for less?’” The $61 million Thompson Center, though largely funded by donors, relied on $12 million of debt and more than $7 million in capital balances. Moving forward, the university has plans to increase its goal for financial aid fundraising to $750 million in its next capital campaign, Moore said. One area that Deacon hopes to see a focus on is the Georgetown Scholarship Program (GSP) which supports 625 undergraduates, 70 percent of which are first generation college students, according to the program’s website. After being accepted to the university, some students can qualify for the 1789 Scholarship – a special grant to replace part of a student’s loans by $3,000 per year. These students are also admitted to GSP, which works to support meeting their needs once at Georgetown by offering academic help, alumni connections, and general support in the students’ transition to a college campus. Deacon said that Georgetown does not actively recruit students for this program, but it stands as one of the ways the university can become a more attractive option for low-income students due to the program’s success. Ninetyseven percent of GSP students graduate, according to the program’s website. Deacon said that the university is currently working to endow the program, with $15 million of the $25 million goal already raised since last April. “GSP is a model the university really needs to be using going forward for things other than scholarships so it doesn’t become a drain in the budget and a pressure on tuition,” he said.
DECEMBER 2, 2016
Best of 2016:
MOVIES All photos by imdb
Voice staffers choose the best movies of the year #1 Zootopia
#2 Hell or High Water
By Daniel Varghese
By Graham Piro
Zootopia includes effective humor, impactful themes, and introduces a beautiful, immersive environment to boot. The film follows Judy Hopps’s move to the city of Zootopia where she attempts to prove herself against existing stereotypes. The plot is engaging, hilarious, and ultimately uplifting. Each of the characters grapple with how their identities shape their interactions with their society and like the predators in the film, Zootopia bares impressive fangs.
Hell or High Water tells the story of two brothers (Chris Pine and Ben Foster) who go on a bank robbing tear and the cop (Jeff Bridges) tasked with catching them. The film intimately illustrates the power of brotherhood: the relationship between Bridges and his partner parallels the relationship between Pine and Foster. The colorful characters and sweeping Texan vistas are mere window dressings to the touching central story about the love between brothers.
#3 Finding Dory
#5 Captain America: Civil War
#6 Manchester by the Sea
By Devon O’Dwyer Finding Dory takes audiences back to its expansive ocean world where Dory (Ellen DeGeneres) tries to reunite with her long-lost parents. Finding Dory features an eclectic group of ocean creatures and punchy humor. The film also delves into more complex themes as Dory struggles with a lack of self-confidence due to her amnesia. Through her interactions with various characters who try to help her, Dory must most importantly learn to trust herself in her journey to find her way back to her parents. Finding Dory combines a light-hearted theme with poignant lessons of love, determination, and trust to produce a successful sequel to the beloved Pixar original.
By Amy Guay Moonlight explores an experience all but ignored by Hollywood: that of a poor, black, gay man. The film follows Chiron as he navigates drugs, bullying, and his own sexuality in 1980s Miami. Alex Hibbert, Ashton Sanders, and Trevante Rhodes play Chiron as a young boy, an adolescent, and a grown man, respectively; each actor expertly conveys Chiron’s outsider status with nuance and grace. The film is a skillful balance: it is universal in that it grapples with questions of identity, yet it still maintains a devoted specificity to its cinematically neglected subject. In this way, Moonlight does more than deal in identity politics: it creates a subtle, moving portrait of a young man.
By Mike Bergin Civil War brings the Avengers to their breaking points as Captain America, aka Steve Rogers (Chris Evans), finds his past conflicting with his duty. The building rivalry between Iron Man, aka Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), and Rogers explodes, marking a watershed of division for the Avengers. Rogers sees his inherent goodness challenged, and Stark must step into the leadership role he has so persistently avoided. Ultimately, viewers gain deeper insight into these seemingly infallible heroes, and the film marks a fascinating new step for the Marvel Cinematic Universe as basic comic book identities are put to the test.
By Brian McMahon A death in the family and a run-down Mass. town may not sound like a film to pick you up during the holidays, but Manchester by the Sea’s heart-wrenching realism is both haunting and reassuring. The story is one of loss and the absurdity of the normalcy that follows it. Director Kenneth Lonergan finds humor and humanity in telling the tale of a broken family, and Casey Affleck, Michelle Williams, and the rest of the cast bring to life a script that refuses to reconcile the anguish felt following personal tragedy. Manchester sugarcoats nothing and is worthy of every award that comes its way.
#7 Hail, Caesar!
#8 Sing Street
#9 Doctor Strange
#10 10 Cloverfield Lane
By Ryan Mazalatis Doctor Strange uses stunning special effects and a unique storyline to deliver a film that is both creative and fun. The movie follows neurosurgeon Stephen Strange’s transformation into the magic-wielding, reality-bending hero Doctor Strange, who uses his powers of teleportation, time travel, and dimension hopping to save the world. Benedict Cumberbatch, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Tilda Swinton all deliver powerful performances that will leave the viewer excited for the next installment of the franchise.
By Graham Piro Where the first Cloverfield film was loud and bombastic, 10 Cloverfield Lane, its spiritual successor, is soft and tense. Dan Trachtenberg directs a masterclass in suspense, anchored by a gripping performance from John Goodman. The story is set in a confined location, giving both the characters and the audience an unnerving sense of claustrophobia. As the film progresses, Goodman expertly unravels his character’s sanity and keeps the audience on edge with his unpredictability. 10 Cloverfield Lane proves that sometimes the scariest thing can be the kindness of strangers.
By Sergio Betancourt The Coen brothers’ latest effort, Hail Caesar!, is inspired by the bombastically absurd films of Hollywood’s Golden Age as characters navigate the even more absurd stories behind their productions. The film takes place over the course of a single day, following Josh Brolin’s gruff studio fixer. An absolutely brilliant cast— including Tilda Swinton, uber-refined Ralph Fiennes, Scarlett Johansson with a mellifluous New York accent, “all-American” dancer Channing Tatum, and oblivious megastar George Clooney—elevates the comedy into a true mastery of the genre.
By Caitlin Mannering Set in 1980s Dublin, Sing Street follows fifteenyear-old Conor (Ferdia Walsh-Peelo) as he assembles a ragtag band of Irish schoolboys to impress the beautiful Raphina (Lucy Boynton). At once utterly endearing yet piercingly sorrowful, Sing Street manages to capture intricate entrapments of love: discovering a best friend, winning the heart of a girl, finding comfort in an older brother, and navigating the bitter divorce of one’s parents. Director John Carney’s exploration into the burgeoning music video industry in the ‘80s perfectly captures Conor’s loss of innocence without becoming trite or clichéd.
THE GEORGETOWN VOICE Parkwood Records
Steel Wool Records
MUSIC Warp Jagjaguwar
Boys Don’t Cry
Warner Bros. records
#1 Coloring Book, Chance the Rapper
Voice staffers choose the best albums of the year
Best of 2016:
Chance the Rapper
#2 Lemonade, Beyoncé
By Daniel Varghese
By Brynn Furey
In five short years, Chance has released three mixtapes, a collaborative album, and has been featured in the work of various musicians. Even within this impressive discography, Coloring Book stands above the rest. Perhaps it’s because it’s his most cogent tribute to his musical roots in gospel, jazz, and hip-hop. Perhaps it’s because it’s imbued with a deep appreciation of that which matters–friendship, family, faith–and a biting irreverence towards that which doesn’t (record labels). Perhaps it’s because it’s just so damn fun. At 23-years-old, Chance the Rapper has grown up, and he’s not going anywhere.
In Lemonade, a thematically and visually provocative work of art, Beyoncé depicts a woman’s journey after she discovers that her husband has been unfaithful. Both an album and a film, Lemonade includes powerful explorations into black culture and history through songs such as “Formation,” a satirical take on black stereotypes. Using references to contemporary racism and sexism juxtaposed with an emotional expedition, Lemonade makes potent statements about today’s culture into a powerful experience for listeners.
#3 Malibu, Anderson .Paak By Nick Gavio Malibu gives a glimpse into the personal struggles of Anderson .Paak’s childhood while maintaining his signature rhythmic beats. The opening track, “The Bird,” details many of .Paak’s difficulties early in life, while the final track, “The Dreamer,” concentrates on .Paak’s improbable rise to prominence. Malibu’s underlying theme is that no matter the circumstances, success can always be achieved. Funky bass riffs, groovy piano chords, jazzy trumpet sequences, and an occasional gospel choir provide the perfect platform for .Paak’s gentle, soothing voice. Malibu is just the next stage of .Paak’s musical career, and should serve as a stepping-stone to bigger and better things in the future.
#7 Blonde, Frank Ocean By Gustav Honl-Stuenkel By repeatedly teasing release dates, Frank Ocean stirred up anticipation for his second studio album, Blonde. When his four-year artistic silence was broken, it was a cathartic release, with a video album, booklet, and 17 song, hour-long album. Instead of a massive, over-edited piece that could result from such pent-up artistry, Blonde is sparse and thoughtful. With minimalist instrumentals, Ocean shifts focus onto his unrivaled voice, which is deftly pushed through its emotional and sonic range to create a stunning reflection on love and youth. Blonde lives up to the hype, rewarding listen after listen with Ocean’s enthralling and profound vocals.
#4 We got it from Here... Thank You 4 Your service, A Tribe Called Quest
#5 untitled unmastered., Kendrick Lamar
#6 22, A Million, Bon Iver By Mike Bergin Bon Iver solidified themselves as one of the most inventive voices in the indie folk genre with rich acoustic guitar and vocal harmonies. With their newest album 22, A Million, the band has been reborn sans-genre. Bon Iver has incorporated synths and other techniques pivotal to modern electronic music. Abandoning a true folk tone, Bon Iver has mastered sound itself, creating experimental tracks which emphasize spiritual and numeric symbolism. The album is in many ways a drastic departure from where they started, but Bon Iver’s themes of loneliness, introspection, and unrequited love are still present, continuing the band’s compelling mission.
By Parker Houston A Tribe Called Quest’s last album (1998) was generally received as a dud. However, We got it from Here... Thank You 4 Your service is anything but. Recently deceased frontman Phife Dawg sounds hungry as ever, and Q-Tip’s beats on this record are masterpieces: layered, laid-back, and old-school without sounding dated. The project pushes the Tribe’s sound forward in a smooth and organic way. With all the negativity of 2016, this album is a breath of fresh air; there’s still good in the world, you just have to look for it.
By Tyler Pearre Kendrick Lamar solidified his place as king of the rap industry with the release of To Pimp a Butterfly. In untitled unmastered. Lamar delivers eight lightly edited tracks that feature raw instrumentals and heavy jazz and funk influences, and provides a further glimpse into his politically and religiously charged consciousness. Lamar contemplates relinquishing his artistic integrity in “untitled 04” and grapples with facing God on Judgement Day in “untitled 01.” untitled unmastered. combines Lamar’s impeccable storytelling with experimental sounds to craft music that reminds listeners that he is the voice for the voiceless.
#8 The Life of Pablo, Kanye West
#9 The Getaway, Red Hot Chili Peppers
#10 Atrocity Exhibition, Danny Brown
By Emily Jaster The Getaway revives the freshness of the Red Hot Chili Pepper’s sound without sacrificing their quintessential character. Hits such as “Dark Necessities” feature ample band motifs, including the Peppers’ slap-bass rhythms and Anthony Kiedis’s signature staccato raps. In contrast, closing tracks “The Hunter” and “Dreams of a Samurai” border on psychedelic with long guitar riffs. The Peppers fully embrace and showcase the talents of the newest member, Josh Klinghoffer, as his guitar is boldly implemented into the instrumental score. The Getaway maintains what fans have always loved about the band, but takes the risks necessary to curb staleness and keep them relevant to modern music.
By Chris Dunn
By Alex Lewontin The defining product of the “new” Kanye, TLOP is artfully experimental, uninhibitedly weird, and unadulteratedly Yeezy, as West casts off any adherence to hip-hop norms. Beats lurch jarringly between disjointed fragments in a style exemplified by “Father Stretch My Hands Pt.1” and “Pt. 2,” a seamless diptych comprised of a Metro Boomin sample, the now-famous “Panda” by Desiigner, and a snippet evoking Imogen Heap’s “Hide and Seek.” Lyrically, West seems absent, often leaving the vocals to his more-than-capable supporting cast. Taken together, the pieces merge into a 67-minute auditory experience that leaves the listener wondering what Kanye’s beautiful dark twisted mind could possibly conceive next.
Atrocity Exhibition, aptly named, is akin to walking through a gallery full of exotic art. The album is a dark fusion of rock, R&B, and jazz coalescing in impressively complex production. Paired with Brown’s fast-paced, high-pitched rapping, the album is nothing short of manic. As unique as it is, Atrocity Exhibition is not without precedent, and the Detroit rapper uses its 15 songs to recognize both his previous work and the work of his influences. 2016 saw a number of artists trying their hardest to push their creative envelopes. On Atrocity Exhibition, Danny Brown stuck to his ways and created one of the most novel albums of the year.