D E C E M B E R 3, 2021
GEORGETOWN NEEDS TO EMBODY CURA PERSONALIS WITH POTENTIAL APPLICANTS By Sarah Ong
POSTPONED BYSTANDER TRAININGS PUTS STUDENTS AT INCREASED RISK By Margaret Hartigan
EVOLVING GUCCI: THE QUEST FOR AN ARTS COMMUNITY AT GEORGETOWN By Everett Bonner
December 3, 2021 Volume 54 | Issue 8
Editor-In-Chief Sarah Watson Managing Editor Max Zhang
Georgetown needs to better embody cura personalis with potential applicants
Editor for RDI Editor for Sexual Violence Coverage Service Chair Social Chair
Executive Editor Features Editor News Editor Assistant News Editors
Why online liberty must be preserved JAMES GARROW
Evolving GUCCI: The quest for an arts community at Georgetown
Postponed bystander intervention trainings put students at increased risk MARGARET HARTIGAN
Students demand improved dining after failed Leo's health standards, limited Thanksgiving access
Heartbreak Hoyas: Georgetown fails on the football field
Dune, despite countless strengths, might alienate newcomers to the franchise
Georgetown Explained: 2022 D.C. leisure mayoral elections Beyond the JUPITER HUANG, NORA Lights sits at the SCULLY, AND FRANZI intersection of WILD commentary and theatre
HAYLEY SALVATORE AND TIM TAN
“I think GUCCI kind of whispers in your ear and goes, ‘This isn’t the real world, don’t take it too seriously,’” PG. 4
Support your local youth sports club over elitist "super clubs" CARLOS RUEDA
Executive Editor Leisure Editor Assistant Editors Halftime Editor Assistant Halftime Editors
Olivia Martin Lucy Cook Pierson Cohen, Maya Kominsky Chetan Dokku Adora Adeyemi, Ajani Jones, Gokul Sivakumar
Executive Editor Tim Tan Sports Editor Hayley Salvatore Assistant Editors Andrew Arnold, Lucie Peyrebrune, Thomas Fischbeck Assistant Halftime Editors Langston Lee, Natalia Porras, Dylan Vasan
Executive Editor Spread Editors Cover Editor Assistant Design Editors
Allison DeRose Alex Giorno, Connor Martin Deborah Han Sabrina Shaffer, Dane Tedder, Sean Ye
Copy Chief Maya Knepp Assistant Copy Editors Kenny Boggess, Maanasi Chintamani, Julia Rahimzadeh Editors Eimon Aung, Christopher Boose, Jennifer Guo, Alene Hanson, Ian Tracy, Anna Vernacchio
Executive Editor Podcast Editor Assistant Podcast Editor Photo Editor
John Woolley Jillian Seitz Alexes Merritt Annemarie Cuccia
Website Editor Tyler Salensky Social Media Editor Emma Chuck Assistant Social Media Editor Franzi Wild
on the cover
General Manager Megan O’Malley Assistant Manager of Accounts & Sales Akshadha Lagisetti Assistant Manager of Alumni Outreach Abby Smith
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 Georgetown Voice, unless otherwise indicated.
photo courtesy of everett bonner
THE GEORGETOWN VOICE
Nora Scully Annabella Hoge Paul James Margaret Hartigan, Jupiter Huang, Graham Krewinghaus
Executive Editor Annette Hasnas Voices Editor Sarah Craig Assistant Voices Editors James Garrow, Kulsum Gulamhusein, Lou Jacquin Editorial Board Chair Advait Arun Editorial Board Annemarie Cuccia, William Hammond, Annabella Hoge, Paul James, Darren Jian, Allison O’Donnell, Sarah Watson, Alex Weiker, John Woolley, Max Zhang
Darren Jian Sophie Tafazzoli Annemarie Cuccia Alice Gao
email@example.com Leavey 424 Box 571066 Georgetown University 3700 O St. NW Washington, DC 20057
“gucci” DEBORAH HAN
Contributing Editors Sarina Dev, Ethan Greer, Caroline Hamilton, Josh Klein, Roman Peregrino, Orly Salik, Sophie Tafazzoli, Abby Webster Staff Contributors Nathan Barber, Nicholas Budler, Maya Cassady, Natalie Chaudhuri, Erin Ducharme, Arshan Goudarzi, Andrea Ho, Julia Kelly, Lily Kissinger, Ashley Kulberg, Insha Momin, Amelia Myre, Anna Sofia Neil, John Picker, Omar Rahim, Anela Ramos, Ryan Samway, Fracesca Theofilou, Diego Ventero, Michelle Serban, Amelia Wanamaker, Alex Weiker, Katie Woodhouse
An eclectic collection of jokes, puns, doodles, playlists, and news clips from the collective mind of the Voice staff.
Go on a pickling journey and I'll tell you your fate 1. Young and fresh-faced, you begin your journey with unbridled optimism. Rooting around in the Garden of Youth, you select your starter vegetable. A companion on your odyssey. Which unwitting vegetable do you choose to pickle? a. A lovely round head of napa cabbage b. A dainty cornichon, ripped from its mother’s arms c. An excessively long carrot d. A classic cucumber, you sick, sick freak 2. The most important and foundational step in your journey centers around the secret juice—brine. How do you brine your vegetable? a. With sweat wrung from the face towel of Patrick Ewing b. In a pool of your own tears, given freely and frequently c. In an acerbic vinegar solution concocted in your underground vinegar bunker d. With piss farmed from a vicious wyvern, frightened into submission 3. You come across an ancient crone selling herbs and spices from the shadowy inner folds of her cloak. What do you purchase to flavor your pickle? a. Eye of newt. For spice. b. You barter for her soul. Crone soul works wonders when fermented. c. The Big Dill d. Government secrets
→ ALLISON’S NIGHTMARE FUEL DOODLE I think this guy...
4. You must contain your pickle. You must find a suitable cocoon in order for it to marinate and fester into a Pickle Proper. Which vessel for fermentation are you securing? a. An empty Natty Light can b. A clay pot, stolen from a local archeological dig c. A traditional mason jar, fresh from Crate and Barrel d. A puddle
Looks just like this thing...
5. At long last your journey has come to an end. Your blood, sweat, and other bodily fluids have gone into this pickling experience. You pull a pickle from its vessel, hands shaking, and take a tremulous bite. After an arduous journey, your pickle’s power manifests… a. Your muscles swell enormously. Your pickle shatters in your ham sized hand. You are horrifying and beautiful. b. You immediately turn into a goose. This is what you wanted. You are at peace. c. Ah, the pickle of eternal youth. You will outlive your loved ones. You will watch the sun consume the Earth and the universe blink out. d. The ground shakes. You have done something terrible.
Check your results at the bottom of this page!
→ GRAHAM’S HOLIDAY CROSSWORD 29. Makeup Youtuber who once butted heads with James Charles 31. Mortar and ______ 33. Popular Chevy passenger car, or second half of indie band name 35. Recently 36. People to blame for your bad haircuts 38. Boujee water brand 39. The shortest day of the year, or the longest 41. Quadrant of D.C. Gallaudet University is in 42. Balls that are a wintery Hostess product DOWN: 1. HTML tag for a line break 2. Breast muscle 3. Spanish painter whose famous works include “The Farm” 4. Day that ends with a ball drop in Times Square 5. Name; also wrench provided in IKEA packages
6. Where Thanksgiving’s most tense conversations are had 7. Location of Georgetown’s Nativity scene 8. What she sells down by the sea shore 9. 13 Down’s turn to play his role 10. It’s the most wonderful time of the year, per Andy Williams 11. Vowels 1, 2, and 4 13. Offense-only baseball player 15. Your uncle might complain that he drove miles ____ 18. Defunct domain name for Yugoslavia 24. Hunts 27. Somewhere between an album and a single 30. A cleanly chef wears this 32. The number of turtle doves given to me, per the Christmas song 33. Class credit Georgetown rarely recognizes 34. ____ and crafts 37. Complex concept reduced to the “naughty list” for kids 40. State between KS and UT
→ ADVAIT’S CARTOON
ACROSS 1. Musical tempo measurement (“The Christmas Song”’s is 68) 4. Isn’t relevant, abbreviated 6. You make them out of clay, per the Hanukkah song 9. Main ingredient in a hipster’s favorite bowl 12. Before you walked, you ______ 14. Angelina Jolie in recent Marvel movie 16. Kool-Aid man exclamation 17. Son of Lakers star James 19. What makes a telescope work
20. IBM Watson, for example 21. www.georgetown.___ 22. State between AL and SC 23. Tech company that makes PCs and printers 25. Dot your i’s and cross your __ 26. Religious representative you get a weekly email from 27. What you might do on the side of caution 28. Hospital room that gets busiest during the holidays, surprisingly (or not)
Mostly a’s: Please for the love of God, do not bet on racehorses. The horses hate you and will deliberately plot sabotage. Your sense of personal finances is far too shaky for gambling at that scale. Get a grip. Mostly b’s: You are destined to meet with your local Wiccan community to discuss the dimensions of your soul. They will present you with an animal familiar and an acute case of scurvy. Mostly c’s: You will not find what you are looking for in law school. You will find it in the graduate programs of Clown College. Trust me with this one. The clown nose honks for you. Heed its call. Mostly d’s: Go to the mountains. Run. Run. Run.
crossword by graham krewinghaus; cartoon by advait arun; pickle drawing by alex giorno, "timothee shoe-lamet" by allison derose, photo courtesy of maximilian bühn, cc by-sa 4.0
→ LUCY’S QUIZ
DECEMBER 3, 2021
Evolving GUCCI: The quest for an arts community at Georgetown t least 50 students, either seated or leaning against the back porch or balcony, had gathered in the offcampus backyard. The space was illuminated with 20 rows of string lights, sparkling like fireflies overhead. Banners and tapestry murals lined the fences, each with its own unique fluorescent design. At the center of it all was the main stage, where student artists, ranging from musical performers to slam poets, came up one by one
to showcase their talents. And it was one of the most magical nights of my life. Little did I know, I was stumbling right into one of Georgetown’s most sacred gems of student life: GUCCI. Named cheekily after the Italian luxury fashion brand, the Georgetown University Collective of Creative Individuals (GUCCI) serves as a catch-all for Georgetown’s disparate artistic community, hosting open mic showcases, art shares, comedy nights, and workshops. Its deeper purpose is to provide a home for student artists to find, share, and collaborate with each other among like-minded individuals; GUCCI is a break from the characteristic pre-professional elitism that dominates Georgetown’s student life. Egan Barnitt (NHS ’22), current GUCCI president, has been committed to continuing the collective’s legacy since she first joined five years ago. “GUCCI [was] started the year before I got on campus in 2016 by three guys who were part of radio, but they felt like radio wasn’t, at the time, serving the artist community in the way they wanted to,” Barnitt said. “I found them during CAB Fair, in the middle of Red Square. It sort of felt like I was walking into a scene from, I don’t know, Forrest Gump, or like, when you’re walking through a crowd and suddenly there’s all these hippies singing and drawing on the ground.” That October night was GUCCI’s first in-person event since the pandemic’s onset. I arrived excited but not overly
illustrations by ryan samway; layout by graham krewinghaus
BY EVERETT BONNER
THE GEORGETOWN VOICE
optimistic—not expecting more than a small audience and a short setlist of student musicians. My plan was to make a quiet entrance and then head out once I was satisfied by hearing a few performers. I ended up staying well past the concert’s end. As a singer-songwriter, I wanted to scope out Georgetown’s music scene to see whether I could find a place for my own art. Georgetown had previously never been somewhere I considered hospitable to a thriving music and arts scene. I’ve always observed a flourishing internship culture—was there something at least somewhat comparable for the arts? The open mic’s ambience was a place of comfort and community centered around a common love for art and performance, creation, and sharing. The experience shattered my belief that Georgetown—and Georgetown students, at that—wouldn’t be capable of putting on such an incredible event, the kind of romanticized experience I had only seen in coming-of-age movies. This was what I had been searching for at Georgetown. I knew I had found a home. From its beginning, GUCCI was created to represent Georgetown’s free-spirited, non-conformist population. “In a school like Georgetown, it serves as a sort of pseudocounterculture community, in a way,” Barnitt said. “You know, you’re walking across campus and you see somebody dressed like you, or you see somebody at a
concert that you recognize, and you’re sort of longing for this art community at Georgetown that, unless you find GUCCI, doesn’t really exist.” She articulated exactly what I had been thinking: There were hundreds of Hoyas yearning for a space to be creative together, away from the harshness of the established campus culture. Barnitt found herself in charge of GUCCI by her sophomore year, as most of the founders were seniors at the time and needed someone familiar with running events to carry on the tradition. She ran GUCCI almost entirely out of her own house in Burleith, which functioned as a sort of “DIY show space,” complete with basement concerts, showcases from touring bands, and a developing upstairs venue. “We were very much working as this sort of rogue art group,” she said. Existing in a space away from university constraints gave GUCCI the freedom to thrive as an art community on its own, built by and for student artists to collaborate and resist conformity. That freedom, however, also came with consequences, mostly stemming from the scarcity of resources. “It was amazing, but I kind of came to realize we can’t really be reliant on the availability of a backyard, or a basement, or an on-campus apartment,” Barnitt said. “We needed a sort of stability that would last beyond me being at school.” Anticipating this turnover, Barnitt and her roommate Kayla Hewitt (COL ’21), who has since graduated from Georgetown but is still marginally involved with performances, began the process of New Club Development, eventually being approved for official status in the spring of 2020. University recognition allowed GUCCI access to campus spaces, rentals, and funding—game changing for the organization, but unfortunately timed. Just after this pivotal point in GUCCI’s growth as an organization, COVID-19 disrupted all aspects of campus life, particularly affecting the arts through the abrupt shift to an online environment. Consequently, Barnitt was forced to reevaluate GUCCI’s future. The club tested the waters with a few Zoom open mic nights but quickly found that it diluted the organization’s purpose as a collective. “We took a really big hit from COVID,” she said. “And, you know, we ran events, and we had things going, but the real heart of GUCCI, it’s about people gathering. It’s about being there for people and seeing each other’s faces, and being able to yell for them in the middle of a crowd,” Barnitt said. “You can’t do that online, and we kind of became of the mind where we didn’t want to act like we could, for better or for worse.” Since its return to Georgetown, GUCCI has made an effort to better market itself as the on-campus arts collective to incoming students. Changes in the student body have forced the club to evolve along with the artists and performers they hope to cater to; Barnitt was surprised to learn while tabling that underclassmen rarely use Facebook anymore, limiting GUCCI’s original point of contact, which had been conducive to managing a looser collective with more decentralized posts. “We’re constantly redirecting,” she said. Now that Georgetown has resumed in-person classes for the semester, GUCCI has resumed its live open mic night concerts. Amanda Estevez (COL ’23) was one performer at the October open mic who blended their powerful vocal and keyboard skills with haunting lyrics and melodies for a performance that left the audience in awe. “I’ve been performing since I was 10 years old, so I knew that coming into Georgetown, I needed to find a community
where I could still continue that part of myself,” Estevez said. “Because it’s integral to who I am.” I’ve felt a similar way during my time at Georgetown; as a student musician, there’s an ever-present longing for community in creation and performance. Tightly organized campus groups such as the jazz band, a cappella groups, and others don’t quite scratch the same itch as a space designed for creation and fluidity. That need can’t be stifled by a competitive campus culture, or even a pandemic. Estevez and I commiserated in admitting we hadn’t put much work into our own music during the pandemic and that coming back to Georgetown to find a home with GUCCI was both sensational and necessary. “[GUCCI] helped me find a way to keep balance again, and to try to reconnect with a version of myself that I had not connected with in over two years,” Estevez said. But GUCCI faces another problem even with the resumption of in-person concerts: that of transition. Barnitt is in her last year at Georgetown and has been organizing GUCCI almost entirely by herself. Much of the focus now is to find ways to consolidate responsibility and identify new leadership while retaining an open community. And, Barnitt believes, club recognition by Georgetown may not be the best vessel for achieving that goal. “I think we’re really struggling with our identity, to some degree, as to whether we want to stay with Georgetown or not,” she said. “While we’ve enjoyed the fruits of Georgetown accessibility, we don’t enjoy them that much. We don’t get that much money.” She confesses GUCCI’s direction is a bit unknown, with the club struggling to retain artistic autonomy while still beholden to the university bureaucracy for support. “We’re kind of readjusting right now, and it’s hard, and it’s confusing, and it feels very unartistic, but it’s what’s going to keep GUCCI going, and it’s what we’ve got to do.”
Despite the challenges, Barnitt remains optimistic about the future of GUCCI and its role in shaping the underground artistic movement here on campus. Maya Cassady (COL ’23) is poised to succeed Barnitt as GUCCI’s president. She hopes to maintain the position with the spirit with which it was originally established: not as any sort of imposing authority, but as an anchor for community. “The whole idea of GUCCI is to not have any direct leadership, which has been really refreshing for me to take over the club, in the sense that it’s really community-led,” Cassady said. “We provide the date and the space, and then everyone else brings their own little magic.” Cassady plans to use the club’s new official identity to provide a place of respite for students looking to escape campus’s intense hustle culture. “I think so often in a competitive environment like Georgetown, even in the arts community, it can feel like there’s only so many spots,” she said. “The whole idea is that with a community of people, you can grow in ways you didn’t know were possible.” Georgetown can be overwhelming and merciless at times; providing a counterculture like the one offered by GUCCI is essential in diffusing the academic and professional tension that can seem inescapable. “I think GUCCI kind of whispers in your ear and goes, ‘This isn’t the real world, don’t take it too seriously,’” Cassady said. “And that can be such a nice moment to have at Georgetown, and I think it’s something more Georgetown students need to hear.” On her way out, Barnitt has big dreams for GUCCI, though ones she acknowledges may not yet be plausible. Her biggest goal for the club, and for the university as a whole, is to come into possession of a so-called “art home”—a house that is “consistently rented out with a good basement [and] inherited music equipment,” for Georgetown musicians and creatives to call their own. A Magis Row house could provide that space for artists to collect and create, providing direct vitality for GUCCI and its mission to continue far beyond current membership. This concept has been discussed within the Black creative community on campus, to cement an art collective within Georgetown’s physical ecology for marginalized student artists. On a smaller scale, Barnitt just wants GUCCI to be more recognizable to the student body. “My big dream is to walk by a Blue and Gray tour and hear somebody talking about GUCCI, because I feel like a lot of people don’t come to Georgetown because they don’t know stuff like this exists,” she said. “Up and beyond is what I hope for GUCCI, because we have so much room to grow, and I really hope we can take advantage of that.” Such a trajectory is what I see in GUCCI’s future as well. At GUCCI’s most recent open mic night in November, I had the pleasure of seeing both Estevez and Cassady perform original songs for an intimate audience. Barnitt was even able to convince me to perform some of my own music for the crowd towards the end of the event—something I hadn’t done in years, but something I felt like I was meant to do that night. And that’s exactly what GUCCI is for me and so many others—a flourishing community for creation and joy, performance and emotion, love and music. I can only hope that any student like me, searching for a place to call home, can find their way to GUCCI to be part of a truly radiant family of fellow creatives. G Full disclosure: Egan Barnitt was a former Cover Editor, Maya Cassady is a Staff Contributor and Kayla Hewitt was a former Multimedia Editor of the Voice. DECEMBER 3, 2021
Georgetown needs to better embody cura personalis with potential applicants BY SARAH ONG
s everyone on campus knows, applying to Georgetown is a tough process. Georgetown’s separate application is more consequential than just an additional barrier: It lacks a key element present in other applications for students facing unique external circumstances. This failure is easily rectifiable, but its persistence is a deviation from the value of cura personalis it holds so dear. For most of the high school class of 2021, it was clear that college admissions understood the context behind lower grades and higher absences; after all, admissions officers were living through the pandemic themselves. And for those that wished to explain any extraordinary elements of their circumstances, colleges within the Common App offered students a text box to include specific information that wouldn’t be found in their required essays or transcripts. For students applying to Georgetown, however, the process was not so understanding. Unlike the Common App, Georgetown applicants can only submit three writing pieces—two prompt-based essays and a personal statement—leaving no additional space to explain external circumstances. Though applicants can upload supplemental materials, this function is not tailored towards articulating extenuating circumstances. Even when the pandemic ends, there will always be students facing external circumstances that cause their grades to suddenly drop or their absences to suddenly skyrocket. Georgetown’s failure to provide an opportunity to account for these circumstances flies in the face of one of its central Jesuit values, cura personalis, which promotes care for the whole person. Without the world burning so brightly in the background, college admissions officers are likely to no longer have the initial sympathy the pandemic brought about. No matter the context around applicants’ dropping grades and heightened absences, with no chance for a student to explain their circumstances, those numbers alone can be enough for colleges to toss aside someone’s application—especially schools as selective as Georgetown. But is that really enough information to base admissions decisions on?
I am a student who played the numbers game well: great GPA, perfect attendance. But Yasmeena, a close friend of mine from high school and the person who introduced me to the idea of attending Georgetown in the first place, was not so lucky. With an intense passion for global health and international relations, Yasmeena had dreamed of attending Georgetown ever since middle school, when her father introduced her to the university. In the midst of her sophomore year of high school, however, an accident left her father unable to work and in need of constant supervision. As the eldest of three daughters, she was frequently required to miss school in order to take care of her family. Despite her absences, she worked hard to keep her grades up, coming in whenever she could to make up missed work and tests and submitting whatever homework she could get on time. Her grades only dropped slightly—almost a miracle considering that she would miss school an average of three days per week. Yasmeena thought that her family circumstances would be considered alongside her essays and transcripts. However, upon researching typical Georgetown admits and finding that no one seemed to have gone through a similar situation to her, she felt disheartened. Yasmeena’s worry had little to do with her ability to articulate her experiences and more to do with the underlying structure of Georgetown’s unique admission process, which limited her from holistically articulating both her situation and other facets of her personhood. Yasmeena said she attempted to write about her external circumstances within her personal statement. When I asked her about it, however, she felt that the prompts did not allow her to explain what she wanted without losing track of the original prompt or making it sound like she was basing her personality around her circumstances. Without space to specifically note extenuating circumstances, Yasmeena had to devote valuable real estate in her writing to explain material that would be better communicated somewhere else. When college decision letters arrived, she smiled as she told me she didn’t get in, holding her rejection letter in stark contrast to my acceptance letter. She showed me nothing but support, and even when I insisted she could be upset,
design by connor martin
THE GEORGETOWN VOICE
she simply said she’d try to transfer and promptly started preparing to take the two tests she missed because she had to take her father to physical therapy. Yasmeena said she understood that most students that were admitted to Georgetown were at the top of their class. However, she says, and I concur, that it is “unrealistic to expect students to keep up with their attendance if they have circumstances that don’t allow them.” Georgetown’s application needs to explicitly include a section to contextualize students at home facing adversity and how their performance may develop on-campus. Yasmeena also points out that “most other institutions have a section about external circumstances in their application. So, it would have only made sense for GU to have one too, considering their Jesuit affiliation.” And she’s entirely right. Thankfully, she was able to get into another college— but if anyone deserved to get into Georgetown, it was her. And, had she had the freedom most students do to use her personal statement as she saw fit rather than being forced to spend it describing her particular hardships, there’s a much greater chance she would have. If Georgetown is serious about the holistic approach it promises to uphold—and should uphold—within its Jesuit traditions, there should be more opportunities for students to explain external circumstances without having to sacrifice space in the essential essays they need to show themselves as a person. As Yasmeena states, students’ circumstances don’t define who they are, but they do affect other parts of their lives that change what the college admissions officers see. Embodying cura personalis means not only focusing on one’s academic self but also one’s emotional and spiritual well-being; Yasmeena had to sacrifice her academic self to take care of other parts of herself. This sacrifice begs the deeper issue of equity, especially when it comes to Georgetown’s application and providing a “fair playing field” for all who apply. At the very least, if Georgetown really promoted cura personalis and promoted care for the whole person, it’d do the bare minimum of adding another text box to their application. G
Why online liberty must be preserved BY JAMES GARROW
t’s not a great time to advocate for limited government. Despite Bill Clinton’s famous 1996 declaration that “the era of big government is over,” it never really ended. Conservatives have failed to roll back growing welfare programs, while government spending and the national debt reliably increase no matter who’s in power. At a minimum, the federal government’s power will remain the same; more likely, the government will continue to expand its reach. That expanding scope is evident and concerning for increasingly important issues of online regulation. The federal government is currently attempting alarming intrusions into online finance and speech with ill-advised regulatory efforts. In both cases, elected officials assure the public that they’re just trying to protect Americans even as they consider cementing government power over our daily lives and most basic rights. Lawmakers’ misguided attempts at internet regulation could stifle Americans’s financial liberties and freedom of speech as the internet grows increasingly vital to expression of these freedoms. Supporters of limited government should therefore shift their attention from failed fiscal battles to more fundamental questions of online liberty. Few issues exemplify the present conflict between the federal government and liberty better than cryptocurrency (crypto). Essentially, cryptocurrencies are decentralized digital currencies that use blockchain technology to verify transactions. Currently, they’re entirely free from political influence since central banks can’t manipulate crypto. Crypto’s appeal primarily stems from justifiable distrust toward the federal government and the financial system, based on a history of the Fed’s failure to control inflation and its fueling of a potential market bubble. This distrust is increasingly driving Americans to invest in and use cryptocurrencies, a groundbreaking opportunity that flawed regulation efforts could stifle. The government’s motives behind a crypto crackdown are based on preserving government power, not protecting the people. While crypto’s critics emphasize its potential use in money laundering, its transfer of monetary controls to ordinary crypto owners could liberate monetary policy from government monopolies. Criminal uses of crypto are legitimate concerns, but the rash cryptocurrency ban promoted by Rep. Brad Sherman, D-Calif., would harm investors in the name of a nebulous greater good. Sherman and his supporters claim they want to protect investors, but their ill-advised ban would erase billions of dollars invested in crypto, preserving the government’s exclusive control over monetary policy while hurting millions of American crypto investors. Regardless of crypto’s merits or lack thereof, regulation should serve the people’s interests, not the government’s self-interest. In addition to self-interested crypto regulation, online speech regulations pose an even more expansive threat to our basic freedoms. Free societies depend on
free speech, which now lives mainly on the internet. The democratization provided by the internet has given ordinary citizens increased political clout while reducing traditional media’s stranglehold on information. It allows us to access a wealth of information and engage in ways unimaginable just a few decades ago. Despite the toxicity of social media, a free internet is now indispensable to free discourse—and by extension, a free society. To date, the government has largely left the regulation of online speech to individual companies. This approach isn’t without its flaws, as social media companies like Twitter and Facebook have a poor record on policing speech. Consequently, critics on both sides of the aisle are calling for increased regulation of tech companies, with conservatives slamming Big Tech’s perceived liberal bias while liberals decry rampant misinformation. But that’s no excuse for government involvement, a dangerous step that would only exacerbate online speech issues. And although Democrats have often focused on online hate speech, many of their bills would go well beyond this concern. Politicians have found a workaround to the constitutional pitfalls of direct speech regulation: They threaten to change crucial liability protections, hoping companies will change speech moderation policies in response. Those protections, ridiculed by politicians as handouts to Big Tech, enable both free speech and content moderation online, and their repeal would likely lead to greater online censorship. That’s still a de facto regulation on speech, albeit an indirect one, as companies aren’t legally compelled to make changes. Worryingly, the inherently political process of tweaking these protections could give politicians across the political spectrum, from Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., to Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, a say in what you can communicate online. This underhanded approach has been fueled by Biden’s claims that Facebook is “killing people” through COVID-19 misinformation on its platforms, Trump’s constant complaints of Big Tech’s political bias, and a raft of legislation in Congress that could muzzle free speech online. Their ultimate objective isn’t protecting Americans or preserving the basic right of free speech, but ensuring partisan control of speech. All this is based on a deeply misguided and reductive view that
credit graphic by sean ye; layout by alex giorno
the internet is an irredeemable threat to society, rife with malice and misinformation. That critique isn’t meritless, but it’s far too pessimistic. Though the internet may not be a friend to democracy, it’s a sworn enemy of tyranny. The internet remains a potent asset for freedom, democracy, and resistance. Online censorship and internet shutdowns are part of the authoritarian playbook for good reason—the internet allows for the free exchange of ideas. In just the past year, we’ve seen government-sponsored internet shutdowns in Myanmar, Cuba, Belarus, and elsewhere as oppressed people around the world fight for freedom. That’s because activists have organized their movements online while alerting the world to these regimes’ atrocities. While I wouldn’t imply that advocates of stringent internet regulation support these extremes, their efforts to regulate online speech constitute an alarming step toward authoritarian restrictions on speech. A free internet is the backbone of a modern democratic society, and it’s a crucial safeguard against authoritarianism here in the U.S. Let’s make sure it stays that way. The fight for limited government is hardly lost, but it should take on very different dimensions. Americans desperately need to understand both the stakes and the threats involved. Free societies are founded upon freedom of exchange, both financially and politically. When that freedom wanes, democracy grows vulnerable. Social Security and paid family leave don’t threaten our freedoms, but arbitrary crypto crackdowns and political restrictions on speech certainly do. That’s why we need to fight back against needless government intrusions, no matter how well-intentioned they may seem. To resist a slow drift toward authoritarianism, don’t defund the bureaucracy—defend the internet. G
DECEMBER 3, 2021
2022 D.C. Mayoral Elections
hough less than 2 percent of Georgetown students are from D.C., all are impacted by the laws made by the city’s elected officials. In the absence of congressional representation, D.C. residents’ primary democratic power rests in their ability to elect a mayor. Residents have the chance to cast a ballot in the biennial general election for the mayor and municipal positions. The Voice sat down with several candidates to guide students through the upcoming 2022 mayoral election. The U.S. Congress exercises nearly absolute control over the District, from regulating its political system to its funding. Due to the city’s status as a federal territory, the mayor assumes many of the responsibilities of a governor— overseeing police and fire protection, and running public agencies and the public school system. The D.C. Council is tasked with formulating the budget, setting tax rates, and forming District agencies. Congress retains veto power over actions that threaten federal interests and approves budgets with a majority congressional vote. This year’s election is especially fraught, as the District emerges from the worst impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, a housing crisis affecting thousands of residents, and some of the highest rates of gentrification in the country. This mayoral election cycle will also be the first under new campaign finance regulations. The District’s Fair Elections Program is a new campaign finance option for qualifying candidates meant to make elections more diverse and financially accessible. Instituted in 2018, the program rewards candidates who have collected a certain number of small-dollar donations from D.C. residents and eschewed corporate contributions. Those who comply receive an initial lump sum to kickstart their campaign and will have any small donations from 8
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residents matched five to one. The program aims to lower entry barriers, expand the slate of candidates, and reduce the scope of corporate funding in D.C. politics. In the last election cycle, the program distributed nearly $4 million to candidates. The primary for the mayoral election is set for June 21, 2022, and the general election—which includes the mayoral race, the attorney general, two at-large council seats, and the council seats for Wards 1, 3, 5, and 6—is set for Nov. 8, 2022. Because D.C.’s population is nearly 76 percent Democratic, the primary has always determined the mayoral election outcome. Although the election is months away, most of the predicted big players have announced, and as candidates start campaigning, here is your guide to all the names you’re going to hear.
Meet the candidates Likely the most recognizable name on the list of candidates, current two-term D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser announced she would seek a historic third term in office on Nov. 4. “There are still challenges for us to tackle, and we have more work to do,” Bowser wrote on Twitter. “That’s why I am running for reelection to be your mayor of the greatest city in the world, my hometown, and soon to be the #51stState.” “We really have to focus on our [COVID-19] recovery for the next four years. We’re not done,” Bowser said in an interview. She highlighted the increased size of the metropolitan police force, D.C.’s relatively successful vaccination campaign, and the increased education rate as successes under her leadership. Her 2018 reelection campaign saw her win with nearly 75 percent of votes in the primary and general election. Her graphic by sabrina shaffer; layout by josh klein
citywide approval rate is currently 71 percent. However, Bowser faces criticism for rising homicide rates in the city (despite a decrease in violent crime since 2019) and slow progress on expanding affordable housing, despite having invested over half a billion dollars in housing programs. If she wins, she would be the first incumbent to win a third term since Marion Barry in 1986. Bowser did not respond for comment. Displeasure with the current administration has motivated other elected officials to oppose her. Trayon White, council member for Ward 8, chose by far the most unique method of announcing his campaign: “I’m running,” he commented on an Instagram post by the popular Washington Probs account about the candidacy of another council member, Robert White. Trayon White began his career serving on the D.C. Board of Education for Ward 8 and has acted as the area’s councilmember since 2016. He has criticized the Bowser administration for failing to maximize spending for low-income housing. His posts on social media have also created controversy. Although Trayon White is fully vaccinated, he has posted about not promoting the COVID-19 vaccine, in contrast to Mayor Bowser’s sweeping mask and vaccine mandates. He was the sole dissenting vote in a bill that would mandate council members and their staff receive COVID-19 vaccines. In 2018, White posted a video on Facebook claiming that a prominent Jewish family could control the weather. Throughout his time on city council, Trayon White has focused on gun violence prevention. Nearly 40 percent of gunfire in the District is concentrated in 2 percent of the city, predominantly Wards 7 and 8. White called for Bowser to enact a state of emergency to combat gun
violence in D.C., which she did not do. He has also helped to co-author bills aimed at preventing gentrification and ending the punishment of suspending driver’s licenses for unpaid tickets. While Trayon White has not clearly defined what issues he would tackle as mayor, he has been vocal about the affordable housing crisis. He took to Facebook to express his disappointment with a recent audit that found D.C. does not spend enough money on affordable housing projects. “It is no secret that D.C. has an issue with affordable housing,” he wrote. “The administration doubled down on the misspending and a lot of people got richer while poor families remained homeless and hopeless.” Another D.C. council member, one of the two atlarge members, and Ward 4 resident Robert White also is tackling issues of systemic injustice. A left-leaning Democrat, Robert White’s politics see him occasionally criticize and even oppose the more moderate Mayor Bowser. He has helped pass legislation imposing higher taxes on the wealthy, establishing paid parental leave, and advocating for reduced spending on law enforcement—over Bowser’s objections. White’s efforts to expand affordable housing and address homelessness in D.C. have conflicted with Bowser’s pilot program, Coordinated Assistance and Resources for Encampments (CARE), which aims to clear five large homeless encampments in the city and relocate the encampments’ residents into more permanent housing. Together with three other council members, White questioned the decision to clear out encampments during hypothermia season. “The goal of this program was not to house people, but to move people,” White said in a recent joint city council meeting, questioning the mayor’s intentions. Apart from Bowser and other council members, former Ward 5 ANC commissioner James Butler wants to represent a departure from the status quo. “Any other candidate besides me will be more of the same. You already know what they’re going to do,” Butler said in an interview with the Voice. “America is a bright beacon on the hill, the envy of the world, and our mayor should be the things emblematic of the best leaders in the world.” Butler ran for mayor in 2018 and lost the primary by nearly 54,000 votes. “I determined the minute I lost the primary that I was going to run again,” Butler said. Butler’s key policy focuses include combating rising rates of gentrification, providing expanded services to vulnerable populations, and supporting reparations for the District’s Black residents. “I believe in fairness. When I see families that look like me, forced from a city they’ve called home for multiple generations because of the gentrification and the rate they’ve been gentrified, someone needs to give them a fighting chance,” Butler said. “Sometimes you are that someone.” Butler highlighted his plans for reparations to the descendants of Black enslaved persons, which would work to create a public-private partnership with local universities to grant descendants tuition-free degrees. He is the only candidate to support reparations to the Black community. “A token of reparations would go a long way towards bridging the divide of racial gaps in this country, and the harsh feelings certain groups have towards one another,” Butler said.
His plans also include temporary housing, social services, and behavioral and mental health resources for people experiencing homelessness. Butler also aims to increase the number of police officers, enforce no loitering laws, create a gun violence interdiction unit to tackle gun violence, and change the income calculator to redefine affordability. Also new to the political scene, Corren Brown is running as a candidate from the Statehood Green Party. “My goal is to knock on every door in D.C. so that I can talk to every person and hit every voice,” Brown said in an interview with the Voice. “I’m not here to sell any false dreams.” Brown has lived in the city her entire life and has worked in District corrections for the past six years. She feels that being brand new to the political scene is a strength, not a weakness. “My perspective is way brighter. It’s newer, it’s fresher,” Brown said. Brown’s experience as a correctional officer exposed her to issues like criminal justice reform and homelessness. Brown added that for her, corrections was initially a profession of last resort—she needed income in order to raise a child. Now, she wants to influence how policing is changed. “Policing is a really tricky topic. I believe that new policies need to be put in place first and foremost,” Brown said. “The way that policing has been done needs to be changed, whether it’s a whole new, a whole new aura to it or if we upgrade it to a better system.” Educational equity also motivates Brown’s candidacy. Ward 8, which is predominantly lower-income and Black, receives the lowest funding and most severe budget cuts for schooling from the District despite having the greatest number of school-aged children. East of the Anacostia River, there are no schools with a specific priority, such as sports, arts, or academics. “I believe that the funds should be balanced because without true funding, how can we really excel the kids within that school?” Brown said. Another candidate new to the political scene, Michael Campbell, a pastor at Kingdom Driven Ministries, has been involved in gun violence prevention work in the District through his work as the D.C. chapter president of Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network. Improving educational equity, ending poverty and homelessness, fighting crime, and combating climate change are campaign priorities for Campbell. He is a supporter of a $20 minimum wage and building a “Tiny Homes Village’’ to provide transitional housing to those experiencing homelessness. Increasing the salaries of police officers is also a key part of Campbell’s platform for reducing crime in the District.
Rodney “Red” Grant, comedian and founder of “Don’t Shoot Guns, Shoot Cameras,” a gun-violence prevention program focused on teaching young people filmmaking skills, has also entered the race. His experiences growing up in the D.C. public school system compelled him to make educational equity a major platform of his campaign. He hopes to provide more artistic and humanities-based opportunities for students. “I am a product of the arts and humanities community and it has contributed tremendously to my success. Arts and humanities are a major component of education, and should be accessible to all young people, not just some,” Grant wrote in an email to the Voice. One of the earliest candidates to announce, Grant was motivated to run after observing a rift between D.C. residents and government policy. “I decided to run for mayor because D.C. is the city that raised me, and I saw a disconnect happening in our nation’s capital. Our government had become disconnected from the residents,” Grant wrote. Grant is one of the few candidates running without a party affiliation. “As an independent candidate, I am not influenced by party line politics. I am driven by the people,” he wrote. He strongly supports D.C. statehood and plans to create programs for individuals experiencing homelessness as well as struggling veterans, advocate for small businesses, and focus on the equitable distribution of school funding. Barbara Summers, a community organizer, also filed as an independent on June 25, 2019, but the Voice could not reach Summers or find public information about her campaign. Bowser, Robert White, and Trayon White are taking public financing through the new program, while Butler and Campbell are not. Summers, Brown, and Grant have not yet registered with the Office of Campaign Finance. Voting-age Georgetown students must be a U.S. citizen and forfeit their voting residence in their home state to vote in the D.C. elections. Students can register to vote in-person on election day or by mail. When asked how Georgetown students can get involved in D.C. politics, candidates overwhelmingly encouraged students to learn about the process, volunteer with different campaigns, and vote. “It is of the utmost importance that students at Georgetown be cognizant that many of them will return home at semester’s end to a state that is appropriately represented in Congress,” Grant wrote. “It is imperative [that Georgetown students] become more knowledgeable about the historical importance and implication of the D.C. mayoral election.” G
DECEMBER 3, 2021
Postponed bystander intervention trainings put students at increased risk BY MARGARET HARTIGAN
Content warning: This article discusses sexual assault and harassment. hen Rebecca Friedman (COL ’24) chose to attend a bystander intervention training workshop during the Summer Hilltop Immersion Program (SHIP), she learned strategies for effectively intervening when someone is misgendered. After Kiely Johnson (COL ’23) went to a training in Sept. 2019, she started paying more attention to her friends’ safety at parties—especially if they were drinking or left alone with another person. Prior to the pandemic, Bystander Intervention Training was required for all first-year and transfer students and focused primarily on sexual assault prevention. The training was made mandatory in 2017, meaning that in 2020, first-years, sophomores, and juniors had gone through the workshop. As of Dec. 1, however, no first-years and few sophomores or transfer students have completed the training. This fall, Health Education Services (HES) did not hold any Bystander Intervention Training workshops, which teach students how to safely intervene in situations of alcohol consumption, sexual assault, or harrassment. Workshops during SHIP were optional—because more in-person workshop sessions were planned for fall 2021—and addressed other types of harassment like repeated misgendering. Georgetown administration and HES pushed the workshops back to the spring 2022 semester without notifying students or providing alternative safety instruction. “Bystander training will be launching in January 2022, and will prioritize fall 2021 new first year and transfer students. Students will be notified when the training is available,” a university spokesperson wrote in an email to the Voice. The in-person training provides comprehensive strategies and support for students to understand their role as bystanders, equipping them both to intervene in situations of interpersonal violence and give proper consent, according to the Student Health Services website. The page has not been updated to reflect the postponement of workshops. Pre-pandemic intervention workshops trained around 30 to 70 students at a time, and were led by an instructing graduate student and undergraduate assistant, both affiliated with HoyUS. Students were asked to discuss and decide how to intervene in various bystander scenarios—including a theoretical situation in which a couple is in a heated argument and another where a person repeatedly misgenders a student. Though the bystander training was not a perfect solution to interpersonal violence, Campus Climate surveys show an increased rate of intervention in concerning or dangerous situations as a direct result of the sessions.
A combination of factors, including staffing cuts (the interpersonal violence and education training specialist position at HES remains unfilled) and the pandemic-induced virtual learning environment led to the university’s decision to postpone training workshops. At the same time, the risks associated with being a student on campus, especially new students in the opening weeks of the semester, did not disappear. Coupled with reduced hours of operation for the Georgetown Emergency Response Medical Service (GERMS) and widespread mistrust of university police, scant resources were available to students in harmful situations involving alcohol or interpersonal violence this fall semester. As recently as Oct. 15, the university had asserted in a Campus Climate email that workshops would take place during this fall semester, but students never received information about when, where, and how they would be conducted, nor how to sign up. Despite multiple emails sent to first years, sophomores, and transfer students stating that the training needed to be completed before students could register for spring 2022 courses, no workshop dates or times were set this semester. In the past, students took the training early in their time at Georgetown—Johnson, for example, attended a workshop in the early weeks of her first year and Friedman attended one less than a month into SHIP. By spring 2022, first years, sophomores, and many transfer students will already be more than a semester into their in-person experience at Georgetown. For many, that means having already attended parties and experienced situations the bystander intervention workshop is designed to address. Spring workshops may be too late for those students. Sexual assault is more likely to take place during a student’s first semester—a time commonly referred to as the red zone—than at any other point during their undergraduate career. About half of all instances of undergraduate sexual assault take place between August and November. “[The person leading the workshop] talked about different events that could happen, and opened up to the group and asked, ‘What do you think you could do in this situation?’ Then she gave feedback on what we thought,” Friedman said of her voluntary training during SHIP. “I thought it was a really open and welcoming environment. I felt very comfortable.” Both Friedman and Johnson reported that they feel more prepared should a situation arise in which they were a bystander to an uncomfortable or unsafe situation. “If I’m at a social gathering, or a party nowadays, I’m more conscious of if I see someone leaving with
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someone of what kind of state they’re in. I feel like I’m always paying attention to that,” Johnson said. Despite its lateness, mandatory bystander intervention training remains essential. A 2019 survey of 33 universities, including Georgetown, estimated that 13 percent of undergraduate students and over a quarter of undergraduate women have been subjected to nonconsensual sexual contact during their time on campus. As of 2019, Center for Student Engagement policies also maintained a requirement for clubs to send a certain number of students to a “HoyUs: Leadership Bystander Training” to ensure club leaders had proficiency in hosting positive party environments and cultivating positive club culture. These trainings have also disappeared, arguably making social environments themselves more unsafe for students. In the absence of university guidance, student organizations have made efforts to adequately equip students with the resources they need for potentially violent scenarios. Sexual Assault Peer Educators (SAPE), for example, holds workshops centered on bystander intervention, consent, and interpersonal relationships for many of Georgetown’s clubs and organizations. Sexual Assault, Relationship Violence & Stalking Services (SARP) provides online and in-person resources about sexual assault, as well as legal help, medical care, and support to survivors. Hiring for the vacant HES training specialist position is a step toward being able to offer resources to students once more. According to the job listing, still open as of Dec. 1, the specialist’s roles will include implementation and administration of bystander intervention training workshops and other online education courses, such as the AlcoholEDU Canvas modules. “We know the important role this position plays, and finding an appropriate replacement is a top priority,” the Oct. 15 email read. The university has yet to communicate to students that the workshops will be taking place in the spring, and did not respond to Voice inquiries about the reasons why bystander training workshops have yet to take place. As of Dec. 1, the administration has not communicated any of this information to the student body. Many students—particularly those who have already completed workshops and understand the value of the skills it teaches—remain concerned about the lack of training and communication. “I feel like coming in as a freshman or like a new student, it should be happening,” Johnson said. “Especially if you’ve never lived in a dorm before and you’ve never gone to parties with big groups of people—I think it would make a lot of people feel more comfortable if everybody were educated at least somewhat.” G
Students demand improved dining after failed Leo’s health standards, limited Thanksgiving access BY MICHELLE SERBAN
health inspection revealed Leo O’Donovan Dining Hall is not in compliance with 10 of 56 D.C. health requirements for food service buildings, including cleanliness and food storage standards, according to a Sept. 23 report. The inspection was conducted in response to the September norovirus outbreak, although the report did not pinpoint Leo’s as the epicenter of the outbreak. The health inspector’s report was recently released to GUSA, who informed the Voice about the failed health standards on Nov. 15, about a month and a half after the initial outbreak. It investigated a wide range of categories, including supervision, protection from contamination, and proper use of utensils. Five of the 10 non-compliant practices were related to the temperature of the food and refrigerators. “Observed food items at the burger station and plant-based station above 41 degrees [Fahrenheit],” the report read. “There is no visible thermometer in the walk-in refrigerator.” Food items should have been stored below the 41 degree Fahrenheit threshold. One of the violations included rat droppings behind the oven at the sweets station. Georgetown has been plagued by a large rat population for years, with the rodents becoming more aggressive since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic as they search for new food sources. Clean utensils were also dried with cloth towels when they should have been air dried, and there was food debris observed under the sushi unit at Bodega. Back on Sept. 21, Georgetown’s chief public health officer, Dr. Ranit Mishori, sent an email to announce that approximately 12 students had reported symptoms consistent with norovirus, including stomach pains, vomiting, and diarrhea. By Sept. 27, that number had risen to 130 members of the Georgetown community, which many students attributed to the dining hall’s food. For weeks after the illness was first disclosed, students were hesitant to get meals at Leo’s, either cooking for themselves, turning to other campus dining locations, or going to restaurants. The norovirus outbreak forced many cautious Hoyas to spend money out of pocket despite paying for the mandatory meal plan.
“Especially when we hadn’t known it was norovirus, and it was all very confusing for us, myself and everyone I know avoided Leo’s because it was kind of scary hearing of all these kids going to the E.R. and having to wait there for hours,” Claudia Byun (NHS ’25) said. “Now that the heat has died down, I know some people and myself too don’t go to Leo’s as often as we did before the norovirus outbreak happened.” The health inspection of Leo’s gave the dining hall a risk factor of 4 out of 5, not due to the norovirus, but because food preparation is high-risk when it involves extensive handling of raw ingredients and advanced preparation requirements. Despite the violations, a D.C. Health inspection deemed Leo’s safe to remain open even after the norovirus outbreak, information that was immediately released to the student body in September. In response to the outbreak, the university suggested limiting social gatherings, instituted a quarantine meal delivery service for those with symptoms, and increased sanitization of rooms and frequently-touched surfaces. D.C. Health does not give a rating or grade for its inspections. It instead operates on a pass-fail system — so despite failure on 10 of the requirements, Leo’s passed the inspection overall. The health department gave the university between five and 14 days to resolve each violation and provided recommendations for corrective actions. The report required Leo’s to acquire proper temperature-monitoring equipment for food, refrigerators, and the dishwasher machine. It received a follow-up inspection on Sept. 29 to ensure that all violations were corrected. “Hoya Hospitality has rigorous cleaning protocols as part of its daily operations,” a university spokesperson said. “In response to COVID-19, additional cleaning measures were put into place including but not limited to increased frequency for high touch surfaces, specialized cleaning chemicals designed to protect against specific viruses, and utilization of a Clorox360 mister to sanitize all public spaces and employee locker rooms.” A large portion of Georgetown’s student body relies on the food at Leo’s, especially since there is a requirement to live on-campus for three years, and all residential students are required to be on a meal plan. This dependency creates potential for food insecurity, as the norovirus outbreak is
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not the only time students have been unable to reliably access safe food at Leo’s. Most recently, per usual university policy, the dining hall closed over Thanksgiving break, meaning students staying on-campus for break had limited access to food. “The eating that I would normally do is not possible with Leo’s being closed,” Ava Uditsky (COL ’25) said. Of those remaining oncampus, many are lower-income and international students who cannot return home for Thanksgiving due to economic and logistical constraints, making closing an equity issue. For first- and second-year students, the lack of communication over closed food options so close to break felt especially frustrating. Byun said it is important to give workers a break the same way students and faculty are given one, but the way Georgetown handled the situation exacerbated student food insecurity. “We all were in agreement that, of course, the workers deserve a break as well, but it also felt like the students were left to fend for themselves,” Byun said. This late in the semester, many students on the meal plan— Uditsky and Byun included—do not have many flex dollars left on their GoCard, limiting their ability to pay for meals at Epicurean and Company, the only food location open over the entire Thanksgiving break. There were a few meals available throughout the week, including a grab-and-go Thanksgiving dinner on Wednesday and Thursday and a dinner offered by the Corp at its Hilltoss location on Friday. The Hoya Hub, a pantry located in Leavey 418, was also stocked and open throughout the break. Georgetown Mutual Aid tried to offer students remaining on campus a chance to request financial aid to buy necessities. However, since Georgetown Mutual Aid is reliant on an inconsistent flow of community donations, it was unable to fulfill all the requests it received. Byun received a grocery grant from the Georgetown Scholars Program that gave her the chance to pay for groceries. Moving forward, students like Byun hope the university prioritizes food security during breaks and food preparation practices. “I felt abandoned, not in a severe way,” Byun said. “But I felt like definitely not the workers, but someone in admin, didn’t give students a lot of information.” G
DECEMBER 3, 2021
Beyond the Lights sits at the intersection of commentary and theatre BY AJANI JONES
t’s five minutes to show time on the opening night of Beyond the Lights, and nobody knows exactly what to expect. The air buzzes, electric with barely contained enthusiasm and anticipation. The audience’s excited chatter drums into a final cheer going off backstage as the cast finishes its last minute preparations. Then it’s time. Following a blessing for a spectacular performance from co-producer Jada Snyder (COL ’23), the lights dim and the show begins. A commentary on the Black experience in America, Beyond the Lights: A Night of Black Musical Scenes is an hour of non-stop heart and energy that had its audience hooked within minutes. Its collection of timeless classics highlight the show’s commitment to paying homage to the long and vibrant history of Black musical theatre. Georgetown’s Black Theatre Ensemble (BTE), in collaboration with Mask & Bauble Dramatic Society (M&B), produced this insightful intersection of director Samuel Oni’s (MSB ’22) original story and Black theatre’s most iconic staples—songs from Dreamgirls to Sister Act II to The Wiz. The show is an interactive experience through use of comedic conversations and vibrant calland-response with the audience. The sheer charisma of its cast, excellent use of lighting, and powerful renditions of musical classics also made the show particularly engaging. Simultaneously, the production prudently comments on topical issues such as racism and what it means to be “Black enough.” The play opens with two friends, Rebecca and Sophia— played by Karen Samy (SFS ’23) and Winnie Ho (COL ’25), respectively—having a back and forth over their favorite movie musicals. When it is revealed that Rebecca has never seen Dreamgirls, the undoubtedly iconic 2006 musical, Sophia berates her and questions the legitimacy of Rebecca’s Black identity. This early exchange excellently centers questions about racial belonging into the play’s narrative. Despite the potentially good intention of sharing the cultural masterpiece of Dreamgirls with her friend, Ho’s character perpetuates the idea that one must meet a quota of experiences in order to identify with their own community.
Samy highlighted the show’s desire to address the idea that we should not gatekeep the identities of others simply because they have not taken part in a certain experience. “That’s kind of the message we were going for. There’s not one way to be one race or ethnicity,” Samy said. Beyond the Lights goes on to carefully address several other current issues facing the Black community, many of which pull from Oni’s own experiences. From racial prejudice in the classroom to dangerous stereotypes of the Black community, Oni’s script sheds light upon institutional problems that plague our society. The choice to tell these stories through music was deliberate—Oni recognizes not only the importance of music in Black pop culture, but also its utility. “I think music is a great way to tell stories,” Oni said. Through song choices like “Blackout” (In the Heights) and “And I Am Telling You” (Dreamgirls), Oni is able to maintain the serious subject matter of his production while seamlessly integrating both themes of hardship and triumph. As such, the music of Beyond the Lights helps to emphasize Oni’s story and add a layer of depth. In addition to its exceptional representation of issues faced by the Black community, Beyond the Lights does an outstanding job of keeping its audience entertained. “This show does a good job of being entertaining and also informative,” Shakeer Hood (COL ‘24), a member of the cast and the show’s assistant stage manager, said. The show’s duality is balanced through its scenes. In the second act, the cast recreates a Black church service with an energetic rendition of “Oh Happy Days” (Sister Act II). The number kept the audience laughing with its perfect integration of interactive and situational humor and also served as a narrative tool through the subversion of dangerous stereotypes. While allowing its audience to be fully immersed in the story it wants to tell and the issues it wants to address, the show also engages them with the lively and joyful side of Black musical theatre that often goes underappreciated. In choosing songs, Oni shared that while he wanted to ensure that key stories were being told, he also felt obligated to do justice to more than one facet of the Black experience.
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“I definitely want the audience to take away the contributions Black people and people of color have made to Broadway—the aspects of our experience that often go unheard from an actor, director, casting perspective,” he said. One of the possible downfalls of live performance is, of course, its susceptibility to error. Despite the narrative and directoral strengths of the show, it suffered several shortcomings—moments of brief technical failures and some hiccups with choreography and lines. The production’s setbacks can likely be attributed to time constraints and other unfortunate complications—including a directoral switch halfway into the show’s production—that occurred behind the scenes during the production. Cast members also highlighted the challenges that arose in making the show interactive and engaging while also complying with COVID-19 protocols. “It’s weird because we can’t even touch each other technically, so having a show that’s so focused on integrating the audience was a bit worrisome,” Cameren Evans (COL ’24), a cast member, said. “There have been a few difficulties in, ‘How far can we go? How far can we push the envelope?’ but also staying within COVID protocols.” In spite of health restrictions, the cast powered through each scene, delivering every line and lyric with unwavering spirit and unquestionable passion. The final number of the show—Evans’s rendition of “And I Am Telling You”—was utterly show-stopping. Her execution of this famously difficult classic was especially moving due to the sheer power of her voice and the palpable emotion she put behind this performance. Ultimately, Beyond the Lights perfectly balances serious subject matter with charismatic performances and excellent renditions of musical classics. Despite its short run from November 19-21, Beyond the Lights was a welcome breath of fresh air in the theatrical space and a perfect segue into future stories to be told. Excitingly, BTE has shared plans for a slew of upcoming performances in the spring that already show promise of the ensemble’s commitment to theatrical excellence. G
Dune, despite countless strengths, might alienate newcomers to the franchise BY HAILEY WHARRAM
s I prefer to do with most movies, I went into Dune (2021) with a blank slate. I didn’t know anything about the book or David Lynch’s 1984 attempt. In fact, I hadn’t even seen the trailer. All I knew about Dune was that a) it was a science fiction movie, and b) Timothée Chalamet and Zendaya were in the cast, and those two facts alone were enough to pique my interest. Based on the 1965 Frank Herbert novel of the same name, Denis Villeneuve’s Dune is a film that will likely make loyal fans very happy, but might unintentionally alienate
new viewers due to the story’s unconventional pacing for a first installment. At its root, there’s much to love about this movie, especially the curiosity that it manages to conjure within the viewer. Dune is a slow burn, as it is necessary to orient the viewer in this intricate fictional world while retaining an engaging plot. Leisurely world-building is balanced with edge-of-your-seat action to keep more impatient filmgoers entertained, all of which is accompanied by a bombastic score from the renowned Hans Zimmer of The Lion King (1994), Pirates of the Caribbean series (2006-2011), and Interstellar (2014) fame. Additionally, select moments when the editors choose to eliminate all musical scoring in favor of ambient noise (such as a crucial fight at the end of the movie) add a chilling tonal touch. Dune meticulously introduces its audience to a rich world of warring kingdoms and boldly undertakes the daunting task of explaining the Fremen people, the spice, the sand worms, and the prophetic significance of Paul’s dreams over the course of 2 hours and 35 minutes. Making exposition engaging is no easy task, but Villeneuve manages to keep the audience entertained by giving the viewer just enough information so that they can follow the story, though never enough to discourage their curiosity over the intricacies of this new world. This method is employed especially well while tackling the clouded mystery encircling the Bene Gesserit, a secretive group of women who possess manipulative superhuman powers and seek to bring about a prophesied Messiah through highly intentional genetic breeding. Though the ending of Dune still leaves the audience unclear on the murky methods and motives of the Bene Gesserit, an HBO series dedicated to delving deeper into the Bene Gesserit’s peculiar mythology is reportedly in the works, which will hopefully satisfy lingering questions. In the meantime, newcomers will leave the film instantly wanting to read the book to learn more. Dune’s star-studded cast of familiar faces such as Timothée Chalamet, Zendaya, Jason Momoa, and Oscar Isaac helps orient newcomers into such an unfamiliar world. Dune’s cast puts on a stellar performance. There are two emotionally charged scenes in particular between Paul Atreides (Timothée Chalamet) and his mother, Lady Jessica (Rebecca Ferguson), which showcase the acting chops of Chalamet and Ferguson. Whether expressing physical or emotional pain is expressed, the rawness of Chalamet’s portrayal of Paul Atreides leaves onlookers feeling everything he does. His capacity for establishing intimacy between himself and the audience through the silver screen is nothing short of commendable. Ferguson’s acting, on the other hand, is excellent because of its deceptively apathetic presentation, with her cold and reserved exterior conveying a vast amount of withheld depth. Her stoic performance should not be wrongly labeled as one-dimensional—rather, her subtle mannerisms contribute to a multi-layered performance. Even though a certain actor (cough, cough … Zendaya) feels painfully underutilized in this movie relative to her prominence in the promotional materials (à la Margot Robbie in Once Upon A Time in... Hollywood (2019)), the cast as a whole is strong enough to fill her glaring absence fairly seamlessly, and the movie’s ending alludes to her potentially fulfilling a more prominent role in the upcoming sequel. However, despite the immense potential for enjoyment, many newcomers could find fault with this film for one key reason.
photo courtesy of warner bros. pictures and legendary pictures; layout by insha momin
As the movie poster’s tagline “It Begins” and the “Part One” on the title card suggests, Villeneuve has plans to make another movie covering the second half of the book. Now, the concept of splitting a book (especially one of such sizable length) into two film adaptations is nothing new. After all, we have seen Collins’ Mockingjay (2010), Meyers’ Breaking Dawn (2005), and Rowlings’ Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (2007) receive similar treatment in recent years. However, because they are adapted from only the beginnings of their respective books, the “Part Ones” tend to feel slower and more focused on preparing the viewer for the second installment rather than bringing about a feeling of satisfaction when their own credits roll. The advantage of films like Breaking Dawn - Part One (2011) is having large, established loyal followings willing to withstand a slightly more relaxed plot for one movie because of their faith in the series. Mockingjay: Part One (2014) can ride the coattails of the riveting thrills of The Hunger Games (2012) and Catching Fire (2014), as can The Deathly Hallows: Part One (2010) support itself on the firm foundation of all of the first six Harry Potter movies. However, unlike its aforementioned peers, Dune is not the second-to-last film of a major, multi-million dollar franchise; it is the very first installment of a new movie franchise. While the book series certainly does have a cult following within the die-hard science fiction community, it’s not as mainstream as its series-style counterparts. Additionally, even if the love of this pre-established fanbase could hold a candle to these other series, it would still not be enough to propel the movie series forward alone: Winning the hearts of brand new viewers is an essential piece of the puzzle. Prior Dune fans will not mind the slow and meticulous pace of a first film in the franchise because a) they know what the buildup is leading towards, and b) they will delight in all of the care that is being taken to pay faithful homage to the original work. New viewers may not be so lenient. Dune, despite its many strengths, might expect a little too much from its viewers who have not read the book. If the movie is not at least partially catered to winning new audiences over, then many may not be inclined to tune in for the sequel, which would be a colossal shame—the world that the first film has worked so hard to establish for the sequels to come is truly spectacular. Villenueve is undoubtedly taking a huge risk in packing the first installment to a new film series with so much detail. Asking audiences to readily absorb all of the intricacies of the complex setting and plot is fine—as long as there is eventual significant payoff for their heavy mental lifting over the course of the two-and-a-half-hour runtime. This is not to say that cutting the book into two movies was necessarily the wrong choice—it seems necessary to spend time building context around this complex, intriguing world. However, finding a more suitable stopping point for this first film was perhaps a missed opportunity. Dune could have better ensured that both newcomers and loyal fans alike were left feeling satisfied and ecstatic for the sequel if Paul Atreides was not still struggling through the infant stages of his journey to discover his role in the mysterious world around him by the end of the two and a half hour mark. Dune is a phenomenal film in terms of its atmosphere, acting, and score but might lean just a little bit too much on the patience of its pre-existing fan base rather than trying to hook new audience members. Even though Dune demands a lot of its viewers, future audiences should still answer its call so as not to miss out on this exciting new foray into an artfully constructed world of science fiction. G DECEMBER 3, 2021
Heartbreak Hoyas: Georgetown fails on the football field BY HAYLEY SALVATORE AND TIM TAN
ast season, the only sounds coming out of Cooper Field were those of construction. There were no fans, no Pep Band, and no players. COVID-19 shuttered the Georgetown football program. When fans returned to the Hilltop, they found a newly-renovated stadium in the place of the formerly dilapidated field. Regrettably, a new field did not lead to new fortunes. For the ninth consecutive season, the Hoyas finished with a record under .500, leaving fans to wonder what’s next for the squad. Rob Sgarlata has been head coach of the program since 2014. With a younger team and newly renovated athletic facilities, Sgarlata hoped the team would come back from their nearly two-year hiatus stronger than many of their Patriot League rivals. “The goal for this program is the goal for everything at Georgetown—it’s excellence. We expect to go out and compete,” Sgarlata commented in a preseason interview with the Voice.
Season recap After a disappointing season, however, Georgetown football has once again overpromised and under-delivered to its fans, finishing sixth in the conference, only above Bucknell University. Georgetown had an optimistic opening to their season against Delaware State University, coming back from a 14-point deficit in the second quarter and forcing the game into overtime. A blocked field goal by Georgetown’s senior linebacker Justin Fontenoux was the difference-maker, allowing the Hoyas’s junior running back Joshua Stakely to find the end zone for a walk-off win. Returning to the renovated Cooper Field with a win should have given the Hoyas an edge against Harvard, a team they hadn’t played since they went 4-6 in 2019. Instead, the Crimson trampled the Hoyas, 44-9. 14
THE GEORGETOWN VOICE
The Hoyas’s loss to Harvard set the tone for the rest of the season, as Georgetown dropped the next three games and eight of their last nine, including a stunner to Lafayette in late October. Their only other win on the season came against conference bottom-feeders Bucknell. Even this win did not come easily, as the Hoyas scraped a 2921 victory. The Hoyas ended their season with a 2821 loss to Morgan State University, their 17th season-ending loss since 2000. The Hoyas had a promising start, leading the Bears in the first half 14-0. In classic Georgetown form, the Hoyas lost steam in the second half, ultimately losing by a touchdown. The team’s struggle to integrate freshman and sophomore players has contributed to its challenges. With just over half the team never having played at the collegiate level, the Hoyas have fewer older players to rely on. “It’s the most unique team we’ve been around,” Sgarlata said about the team’s age composition. Sgarlata looked to his returners for leadership in bringing the team together. Graduate players Neal Azar, Joseph Brunell, Owen Kessler, and Ahmad Wilson stuck around for their extra year of eligibility and were named team captains. Pandemic restrictions on in-person gatherings hampered normal efforts at team-building. As restrictions lessened in the spring, the team held modified in-person training sessions, which about 80 percent of the team attended. “It’s been good to get in a normal routine as we’re getting prepared for the season,” Sgarlata noted at the time. Clearly, this routine wasn’t enough. Despite efforts to integrate new players, a season-long divide remained as many
younger players never saw time on the field or were overshadowed by the fifth-year players. At least younger players were able to get a feel for how college football operates, providing for a more confident group of leaders next year.
New Cooper, same old Hoyas Despite the tough season, one unquestionable bright spot was the longawaited opening of the renovated Cooper Field. After several delays and funding challenges, the field promised to be a new and improved home for Georgetown football. A 2015 $50 million gift from Georgetown parents Peter and Susan Cooper allowed for the creation of permanent locker rooms and increased capacity to fit 3,750 people. “Between the Thompson Center and the Cooper Field additions and renovations, our facilities are as good as you’re going to find in FCS,” Sgarlata said. “All of athletics have a home, and I think that’s huge not just with our players, but with our players, staff, coaches as well to have a home and kind of build that community.” These renovations should have helped the team generate an energized home base to cheer their underclassmen-heavy team. The stadium was a draw, with home games averaging over 2,250 fans per game. But higher attendance couldn’t translate to onfield performance: The Hoyas failed to win at home even once this season. Looking ahead The 2021-22 season will be best remembered as a rebuilding year. Overall, the team finished well below its expectations. In the 2019 season, the Hoyas finished with a 5-6 overall record and were second from the top of the Patriot League. This season, design by dane tedder and allison derose
they were 2-8 and second from the bottom. The Hoyas’s performance wasn’t for a lack of senior leadership or individual talent, as they have both. Seven Georgetown players were named to the 2021 All-Patriot League teams, proving that this roster stacks up. Senior wide receiver Joshua Tomas makes history as the third Georgetown player ever named to the first team on offense after going for 732 yards and four touchdowns on the season. Tomas is joined on the first team by Wilson, who led the team defensively with 71 total tackles and an interception, and sophomore punter Conor Hunt, who topped the Patriot League with an average of 41.7 yards per punt. Three defensive players—linebacker Kessler, senior defensive lineman Ibrahim Kamara, and junior offensive lineman Talati Polamalu—were all named to the All-Patriot League second team, along with senior tight end Zach Jewell. “There are guys that stuck with us and helped us build this program to being one that is going to compete for a Patriot League title in the future,” Sgarlata said. “There were a lot of bright spots, but we did not finish on the scoreboard.” This season made clear that individual talent is not enough for the Hoyas to win. With a can-do mentality that supports their growth as a team rather than as individuals, the Hoyas can hope to come into the 202223 season ready to make some noise in the Patriot League. “Last game of the year is always tough, especially this year with the fifth-year seniors and seniors,” Sgarlata said in an interview after the loss to Morgan state. “We will continue to work with our young players. We are excited to get into the spring and start to reload everything into a normal year." G
Support your local youth sports club over elitist “super clubs” BY CARLOS RUEDA
t’s a cool Saturday morning. The air feels a bit crisper, and the sun is shining a bit brighter. It was a long week at school, but you can finally put that all to the side and focus on the one thing you’ve been looking forward to all week: your soccer game. Those feelings—the feel of the breeze, the camaraderie of the team, and the satisfaction of a well-played game—are core memories for many Americans who have a past with youth sports. The lessons, skills, and healthy lifestyles that come out of youth sports are invaluable, and they should be available for kids across America’s socioeconomic spectrum. But they’re not. As the nearly $17 billion business of youth sports grows, participation by children within families making less than $25,000 a year is declining, even while it rises for children of families making $100,000 or more, according to a study done by the Aspen Institute. The gap in youth sports participation between the two groups is growing: 34 percent for families making less than $25,000, and 69 percent for families making more than $100,000. Big business’ involvement in youth sports has established a system that is exclusionary, classist, and all too corporate. The problem? The “explosion of travel-team culture,” as Tom Farrey, executive director of Aspen’s Sports and Society program, describes. Rich parents can afford to put their kids in what he calls “super teams,” which are essentially the name brand, most competitive, highest quality, and best resourced programs in the wider area. “A lot of clubs nowadays are going into what they call ‘super clubs’— they go out and buy all these smaller clubs,” Ed Dawson, a coach with 20 years of experience at Town n’ Country Soccer in Tampa, Florida, said. “We’ve got our one little club. We keep our kids, they stay for a while until they’re offered something by one of these clubs who come in and say ‘We’ll offer you a chance to play in MLS [Major League Soccer], but you need to give us $4,000.’” Kids who aren’t in the top clubs feel that they have no future in their sports, given that they likely won’t be
noticed the same way players in well-off clubs will. In order to get recognized by college scouts, young athletes outside these elite clubs either have to work even harder in their sport or find different ways to get noticed if they want to play at the next level. Kids who end up not playing entirely miss out on the social and health benefits of youth sports as this culture sucks the enjoyment out of the game. This pay-to-play culture has also left more traditional and affordable local clubs with significantly fewer resources. The result: fewer players in local clubs, meaning less money, and even less support for the traditional clubs with overall dropping participation in youth sports. Meanwhile, regional elite programs monopolize their respective sport and charge higher fees, and participation concentrates among the upperclass who can afford it. Not only are youth sports dominated by the wealthy, but so are college athletics and even professional sports. The pipeline reproduces itself. “These clubs get in there to the parents, they offer things that really don’t happen, like the possibility to play in the Olympics and college soccer.” On top of that, the promises made to kids of more playing time and development aren’t always met. “When those kids want to go back, they can’t because they still owe money and a lot of kids leave the game,” Dawson said. “These are for-profit organizations. Tampa Bay United [a local ‘super club’] had a surplus amount of about $2 million,” he added.“While we were unable to maintain our fields with what we were able to charge our kids, they were getting new turf fields.” In the midst of all of this, the rising phenomena of expensive training camps and showcase camps have become another roadblock for kids in lower-class families. Much like elite clubs being prime recruiting spots, these expensive showcase camps have also become something that prevents players from poorer families from being noticed. Once again, many young athletes excluded from the system feel they have no future in that sport.
“Super clubs” are an issue of economic inequality and forprofit intentions taking priority over just letting kids play their sport. According to a study from the RAND Institute, the mostcited reason for why potentially interested youths from middle and higher income families did not participate in sports was that the time commitment was too high. On the flip side, lower income families primarily answered that it was too expensive. Kids should not be kept from playing youth sports because they can’t afford a “super club.” Frankly, there should not even be “super clubs.” The social and health benefits of sports, the joys and memories of thousands of America’s youth are being stripped away because of things totally beyond their control; even potential college and professional pathways are being taken away from promising young athletes. If young athletes have a will to succeed, they should have a way to succeed. The priority of the modern youth sports club should not be to monopolize its local area in order to increase its numbers, increase costs, and look more attractive to uniform sponsors like Nike and Adidas. Rather, youth sports should go back to what they were always supposed to be: a space for children to have fun, learn life lessons, and fall in love with a sport. The only solution is to open up the system. Make youth sports affordable andless corporate, and tone down the level of competitiveness forced onto kids so early. We do not need elite clubs or super teams to send our kids to the pros at seven years old, and families should most definitely not be forced to cough up $4,000 for lofty promises. The most important thing is that kids participate in physical activities they love. If the system doesn’t let everyone play and provide a level playing field for kids to pursue a future in their respective sport, classism is reproduced throughout athletic structures, and wealthy families prop up “super clubs” while the rest are left behind. Support your local youth sports clubs; change the narrative. “The best thing for youth soccer would be to keep these large corporations away from it. Just let kids be kids and play the sport and have fun with it,” Dawson concluded. “Just let kids play.” G
illustration by elin choe; layout by graham krewinghaus
DECEMBER 3, 2021