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

Meeting Aims To Address Concerns

Students living off campus met with Juan C. Gonzalez, vice president for student affairs, to speak about their experiences in the Georgetown community and offer suggestions for improved relations in the neighborhood.

The Tuesday evening dialogue come on the heels of a $100,000 lawsuit brought by Georgetown residents against the university because of on- and off-campus noise. The suit threatens to shut down on-campus events on Healy and Copley Lawns and restrict students off campus.

The meeting with Gonzalez was the first of its kind during his tenure, which began at the beginning of this academic year.

“It’s absolutely what needs to occur more often,” Gonzalez said of the reception, held in the Copley Formal Lounge. “I benefited a great deal from the dialogue, the give and take between students.”

The topics of discussion focused on how students can work with the university to bring about a better community, both on and off campus. Student alcohol consumption and the continued complaints from the local neighborhood generated a great deal of debate among those in attendance.

Gonzalez acknowledged that while the vast majority of the student body is within reason, it is the small minority of irresponsible drinkers that continuously receives negative attention from the community.

“The reality is that students at Georgetown drink. As a pragmatist, I think we need to provide information to make them responsible. If they know what is and isn’t appropriate, they can prevent each other from stepping over that line,” he said.

Gonzalez described last weekend’s tailgating as a step in the right direction.

“It was definitely a success. Students were thinking about the consequences of their actions,” he said.

Laura Murray (COL ’01) agreed with Gonzalez’s approach. “It is not necessarily drinking that is creating these problems, it’s the behavior that comes along with it,” she said. “Students need to take an active role in setting appropriate boundaries for themselves.”

Off-campus residents also held different opinions about the severity of the noise problem in the surrounding community. While some claimed that they observed little or no problem, others expressed concern.

“I personally can sympathize with the neighbors and their complaints from a public safety perspective,” Jon Zimmer (SFS ’02) said. “Georgetown is a really nice area and the university could make better choices to improve the situation.”

In their meeting, administrators and students discussed the recent lawsuit brought by residents living across from Alumni Square on O Street.

“I wish that people from the community could hear what the students had to say here tonight,” Director of Off-Campus Affairs Jeanne Lord said. “It’s been very uplifting. I think that they would be inspired and encouraged by the conversation.”

“We have to work together to find solutions to these problems. It’s a shared responsibility,” Gonzalez said. “Students can have more of an impact by getting involved with the Advisory Neighborhood Commission.”

Several students offered additional suggestions to resolve the issues.

“Increased dialogue among everyone will foster more trust within the community,” Frank Salamone (COL ’01) said.

Wendi Wright (SFS ’01) proposed reconvening the Community Culture Task Force to continue discussion between the university and its neighbors. “We also need to make everyone aware of the consequences at all times. A one hour talk at the beginning of freshman year just isn’t enough,” she said.

Related Links

More Neighbor Problems for GU (9/22)

Neighbors File Suit Over Noise (9/22)

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