A Response to Penn State: Ethical Principles at Georgetown University

Dear Members of the Georgetown University Community:

Recent events at Penn State University have caused all of us to think deeply about how our society cares for children and the most vulnerable among us.  I know we all share a very deep sense of sympathy for all those who have been victimized.

As we reflect on the recent reports, I also thought it an appropriate moment for all of us to consider the important ethical principles that guide us as members of the Georgetown University community.  I would like to take this opportunity to remind you of the resources and procedures in place for community members to report concerns. 

As detailed in the Georgetown University Code of Ethical Conduct, Ethos Statement, and Code of Student Conduct, we as a community are committed to fostering a safe and healthy environment for all. We are all expected to uphold community values of respect, care, honesty and concern for each person that are exemplified by our grounding in the Jesuit principle of cura personalis. At all times, we are responsible for complying with all relevant laws, regulations and policies.

If you know or reasonably believe that a child has been or is in immediate danger of being mentally or physically abused or neglected, you should immediately report it to the Metropolitan Police Department (911) or the Child and Family Services Agency at (202) 442-6100.  In addition, we encourage you to notify the University, either through your supervisor, through our confidential Compliance Helpline at (888) 239-9181, through the Department of Public Safety, or through one of the University resources available here.

I am grateful to you for taking the time to review this important information and for your dedication as we carry out Georgetown’s mission.


John J. DeGioia