Fake paper sparks policy review

WASHINGTON, D.C. ' A proposal at Georgetown University would curtail the right of students to publish works anonymously or under a pseudonym.

A committee comprised of four students and four faculty members drafted an addendum to the university's policy on speech and expression, giving the vice president the ability to confiscate anonymous publications.

The proposed addition to the policy says anonymous publications that 'target identifiable individual members of the university community may be taken from public distribution places.'

'It does not expand existing authority of the vice president,' said Anthony Arend, faculty member on the committee. 'It only clarifies it in one particular instance. ' It's a very, very narrow set of circumstances.

The existing policy prohibits publication and distribution of 'grossly offensive' works.

The committee is now gathering feedback from students and faculty. It is unclear if the proposal will be adopted as official policy.

The proposal was developed partially in response to a controversial anonymous paper distributed on campus last spring.

A satirical replication of Georgetown's student newspaper, The Hoya, was printed and distributed anonymously throughout campus. Some university officials were attacked in the publication, titled 'The Super-Secret Fake Hoya,' sparking debate about its appropriateness. President Leo O'Donovan referred to the content as 'hurtful and offensive,' in a statement in May.

There has already been opposition concerning the proposal's implications. The Georgetown Academy, a monthly independent student magazine at Georgetown, has offered to print the contents of any anonymous work regardless of its viewpoint.

reports, Winter 2001-02