Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Sekou Biddle: The Key to Engaging Students in the DC Argument

After passing the now-infamous Disorderly Conduct Amendment Act in January, the D.C. Council proved that it had failed its student constituents by imposing noise laws that blatantly target the young adult demographic. Yet the upcoming April 26 election for an at-large member provides the golden opportunity for the council to save face if students cast the vote for Sekou Biddle.

Of all the candidates, Biddle has the most experience in town-gown relations and boasts the most active participation in social justice efforts around the District. The recent candidate forum sponsored by D.C. Students Speak highlighted Biddle’s understanding of students’ niche role as District residents. Rather than pander to student interests, Biddle was one of the few candidates whose platform revolved around engaging students as active citizens, not merely as voters.

Unlike other contenders, Biddle was one of the few at the forum who discussed the need for a balance between community and campus. The noise ordinance and the blatant gerrymandering of the Advisory Neighborhood Commission discriminates against students, granting the neighbors of the university undue privilege and fomenting voter apathy.

Biddle supports more reasonable ANC redistricting in the near future and stated his support for a respectful dialogue regarding town-gown tension. He stresses that it is unnecessary to use handcuffs and paddy wagons to deal with student behavior; as he advocates, the community and students must work on living respectfully side by side.

While not directly endorsing the campus plan, Biddle has avoided turning a zoning controversy into a game of political football. While council members Mary Cheh and Jack Evans have shamefully denounced the university’s 2010-2020 Campus Plan, students should rest assured that Biddle takes a more balanced approach to the issue of university expansion. Biddle called upon the zoning commission to help mediate the situation, without letting any one interest have a greater advantage than the other.

As the executive director of Jumpstart for Young Children, Biddle shares a common commitment with students for real social justice that creates tangible results. Biddle has time and time again reiterated his support for reformers like former D.C. Public Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee, who shares a sense of urgency to address real problems in real time. Moreover, Biddle advocates for an effective government that works to balance the needs of a wide variety of citizens. Reducing red tape within city agencies, distributing budgetary burden and making tangible improvements to D.C. Public Schools are all at the core of his position.

For Biddle, students’ willingness to serve is unsurpassed in comparison to other demographics in the District. Through mentorship and active outreach as members of the greater D.C. area, students play a large role in making D.C. a more livable city for all. As such, Biddle’s position on the D.C. Council will ensure that students have the rights to permit a mutually beneficial town-gown relationship.

Biddle understands the current reality of the District and is one of the only true reformers to boast prior experience through his efforts with the Jumpstart program. Students must take time next Thursday to ensure that the D.C. Council has a member that best represents needs of a student population.

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