Today, GU Fossil Free was deeply disappointed to see an editorial by The Hoya entitled “Get Off The Stage” criticizing GU Fossil Free’s recent banner drop at Jim Yong Kim’s speech on climate change at Georgetown.
However, we are also grateful to Vincent DeLaurentis, Hoyas for Choice member and one of the founders of Hoyas United for Free Speech, who wrote a letter in response to The Hoya editorial board. The letter follows below. Thank you so much, Vincent.
The Hoya Editorial Board’s recent criticism of GU Fossil Free’s action at Jim Yong Kim’s speech in Gaston, demonstrates a lack of understanding of basic organizing principles.
The Editorial Board criticized GUFF for what they saw as rash behavior in getting on the stage. The Board also called on GUFF to replace nonviolent direct action, like “stage storming,” with “town halls or open meetings.”
The funny thing is that GUFF has been holding open meetings and teach-ins for almost two years now. It is only after extinguishing all of these less-confrontational tactics that GUFF began to switch to nonviolent direct action. This is a completely valid shift when organizing a campaign, as doing the same thing over and over again without result is campaign suicide.
More concerning, the Editorial Board expressed fear that GUFF might have threatened Georgetown’s reputation and disturbed the community. Of course GUFF was threatening Georgetown’s reputation and riling the student body. By profiting off of fossil fuels, Georgetown propagates climate violence against the environment and poor and indigenous peoples. This is shameful and should hurt Georgetown’s reputation. If GUFF doesn’t pressure and shame the University on climate injustice, the University has no incentive to change its unjust behavior.
Politeness is the enemy of progress. This is a lesson Georgetown students need to learn, especially if they are interested in affecting [sic] positive change on campus. We as a student body need to shed the respect for authority instilled in us by our bourgeois education and pre-professional culture. We need to learn that circumspect pleading and gentle prodding never produce results. We need to be willing to mobilize our bodies, take risks, and be rude for justice.
If the Hoya Editorial Board wants to talk organizing tactics, they should get out of the office and into the streets.