We ran a story a couple weeks ago about Georgetown student protesters facing unusually severe sanctions. At the time of publication, those students were appealing those sanctions. Unfortunately, those appeals have been denied.
The activists objected to Georgetown’s partnership with Nike, a company that has not always treated its workers fairly. The school’s disciplinary body decided on punishments beyond the guidelines in code of conduct documents. The concern (or, my concern, at least) is that this relative severity isn’t in response to the content of the demonstration but the fact it targeted Georgetown and its business partner. To hear that the school isn’t budging on the sanctions is troubling.
Admittedly, the punishments aren’t exactly draconian, and Georgetown itself has presented the valid point that civil disobedience involves accepting consequences. But activists are less worried about the specific punishments than a trend towards criminalizing protest: One student told The Georgetown Voice “we are disheartened and scared for the state of student activism on this campus, that they are bringing such severe sanctions against us.” With proposed legislation against protesters across the country, this fear seems pretty founded.