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

Fight to Maintain GU Social Scene

Georgetown’s unique social atmosphere is of fundamental importance to the character of the school. Likewise, the ramifications of altering this atmosphere are widespread and would affect every aspect of the school’s culture – academic, extracurricular and social.

The new alcohol and party regulations, though well-intentioned, have already spurred negative consequences to our once vibrant and inclusive social scene. Still, we recognize that Vice President for Student Affairs Todd Olson’s intent in reshaping the previous policy was in no way aimed at creating a less inclusive environment nor making the student body less safe. We commend the administration for their wholehearted attempts to increase education and awareness, especially with the creation of the new party training system.

While we earnestly anticipate a formal dialogue between the students and administration regarding these changes, we will continue our efforts to promote the best interests of the student body until that day. That said, our main arguments against the new policy are: they promote much riskier socializing and more dangerous drinking habits by all students, they have drastically restricted our freedoms and privileges without any substantial warranting factors, and they were enacted with wholly insufficient student input on any matter other than the keg restrictions.

As evidenced by nearly one quarter of the student body that has signed our petition protesting the regulations, the students of Georgetown are greatly displeased with the policies. We recognize that the drinking age is 21 and is likely to remain that way. That in mind, we want to discuss how the new policy and its implementation result in a wide array of unintended consequences harmful to the student body.

One main goal of the policies stated by the administration is reducing underage drinking, binge drinking in particular (loosely defined as 4 or more drinks in a night for a female or 5 or more for a male). By implementing a party policy that requires a majority of a residents be 21 – coupled with occupancy restrictions at all on-campus parties – the university has made small group binge drinking much more prevalent, as registered parties have become much more exclusive and non-registered parties feature more hard alcohol consumed by small groups. Similarly, the increased registration regulations have drastically reduced the number of residences eligible to play host to a party, which has unmistakably pushed the party scene off-campus.

With the lack of an on-campus party scene, it seems more students are traveling to bars on M St. and Wisconsin Ave. and to off campus parties in the Burleith area. This greatly increases the chances of attacks on students traveling home late at night and is surely far from appreciated by our non-student neighbors. The few blocks outside the front gates used to be a wonderful place for all Georgetown students to enjoy a safe and responsible college atmosphere, where one could enjoy numerous parties on a given weekend. The new policies have all but eradicated this dynamic.

Furthermore, we believe that these changes were unwarranted. In recent years, no serious injuries or deaths have occurred due to the party atmosphere, nor has any Georgetown student been responsible for any incident so serious that it would warrant a such drastic policy changes. The only three events the several RAs I have talked to have cited when asked to explain the changes are the floor collapse in Alumni Square, the Final Four celebration, and the attacks against students and DPS officers by several visiting students near Henle. As to the floor collapse, the administration has only itself to blame for failing to properly reinforce its infrastructure; the Final Four celebration was remarkably sane and harmless, especially when compared to other common Final Four celebrations in which cars have been flipped and students arrested; even the Henle incident did not result in a single Georgetown student detained by DPS. Rather than fixing a system that is not broken by allocating a substantial funding increase to the Office of Residence Life to convert apartment managers to RAs, we feel the administration would have more effectively used those funds to improve the Safe Rides program by expanding routes and making shuttles available every day.

Finally, a significant portion of the student body feels as though we had neither the opportunity to voice our concerns over these changes, nor were we effectively notified of them until they had taken effect . In an e-mail sent to the student body on Aug. 27, Olson wrote that, “student voices were instrumental in shaping the conversation that led to these changes and your actions will be important as we move forward this year.” Based on student reactions in the first week alone, it seems that too many of us were ignored in the formation of these policies. Now, we choose to act to get them reversed – or, at the very least, modified – to restore the social atmosphere we all used to love. We will simply do everything we can to peacefully bring back the social scene we enjoyed in the past.

This is our school. This is our home on the Hilltop. We need to change these policies and return Georgetown back to being the environment we used to enjoy. We reserve the right to protest and will exercise it until we see change. We are simply fighting for our right to party – safely and responsibly, as always.

Matthew Hammel is a sophomore in the McDonough School of Business, and Joseph Kemper is a junior in the College.

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