The student group stood to lose its funding and recognized status
A student group at a Catholic university that advocates traditional, man-woman conjugal marriage won a victory in front of the school’s student activity board last night, spurning attempts by LGBT activists to have the group defunded and stripped of its official status.
Love Saxa, the group that had come under fire for its advocacy of orthodox Catholic teaching on marriage, appeared before Georgetown’s Student Activities Commission last night, where the commission’s members voted “to recommend no action against the group in response to a complaint alleging the group’s stance on marriage fosters hatred and intolerance,” as reported by The Hoya, Georgetown’s student newspaper.
“A majority of the 12 voting student members of the commission agreed that the group did not violate any university standards by advocating for a view of marriage as existing only between one man and one woman,” The Hoya reports.
The vote came after a two-hour private deliberation following a three-hour public meeting.
Love Saxa was on trial due to LGBT activists asserting that the group “violated university standards for student organizations by promoting its view of marriage as existing exclusively between one man and one woman.” That advocacy, the activists claimed, promoted “hatred and intolerance,” in violation of Georgetown’s student code.
[Chad] Gasman and [Jasmin] Ouseph also cited instances in which Love Saxa invited speakers to campus who spoke against LGBTQ equality. Their petition to SAC asked the university to remove Love Saxa’s university funding and officially recognized status. Love Saxa receives $250 annually in university funding, and as a recognized student group, it also has access to university resources, such as the use of classrooms for events.
The committee’s vote is not binding — it constitutes a recommendation to Amanda Carlton, the university’s director of student engagement, who is free to accept, amend or reject it. The committee’s recommendation can also be appealed by either party within two business days to Carlton, whose decision can in turn be appealed to Vice President of Student Affairs Todd Olson.
Ouseph and Gasman said they plan to appeal the recommendation. Ouseph said the commission disregarded their substantive arguments against Love Saxa’s purpose and activities.
“I’m both unsurprised but also a little surprised, because the basis of our complaint was pretty firmly rooted in the organization’s standards,” Ouseph said.
Campus spokeswoman Rachel Pugh declined to “take sides” in the debate, according to The Hoya; instead she stated: “Love Saxa is one of many groups operating on campus with positions that affirm the teachings of the Catholic Church. Through [SAC], the University supports more than 100 co-curricular student organizations with access to benefits, including Love Saxa.”
“We strongly support a climate that continues to provide students with new and deeper contexts for engaging with our Catholic tradition and identity,” Pugh went on. “We also support a climate that is welcoming to all students and supporting of our LGBTQ communities.”