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

Neighbors Claim GU Inaction

Complaining about disorderly students and university inaction, neighborhood associations once again submitted position papers to the Board of Zoning Adjustment regarding the university’s 10-year plan on Oct. 23. This round of papers included testimonial letters from area residents.

Representing the opinions of neighborhood associations, the papers responded to the university’s Oct. 6 submission that attempted to address off-campus students’ impact on the community surrounding the university.

A decision on the 10-year plan will be presented Wednesday morning by the BZA. The university’s plan calls for the addition of several new buildings on campus as well as an increase in enrollment.

Compiled by 2E04 Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner Barbara Zartman, the position paper maintains the university’s supplemental information submitted on Oct. 6 fails to meet the BZA’s request for a pro-active plan. Zartman cites GUSA’s Oct. 17 resolution not supporting new off-campus student affairs programs as well as skeptical opinions of the newly created Alliance for Local Living’s efficacy as reasons for the BZA to weigh heavily the input of neighborhood organizations.

The community response included a point-by-point response to the university’s Oct. 6 submission arguing that an enrollment increase is unfounded, saying new measures implemented by the university to curb off-campus misbehavior do not sufficiently address the community’s concerns. The university argues the great cost of implementing programs in the 10-Year Plan infrastructure will necessitate an enrollment increase to raise funds through tuition. Neighborhood organizations maintain, however, that a rise in university net assets from $668 million to $1.05 billion in five years is “a picture not of need but of prosperity.”

Applauding Vice President for Student Affairs Juan C. Gonzalez’s attempts to move Block Party on campus, the neighborhood organizations correlate “outcry resulting from the block party cancellation” to a need for increased on-campus student life.

The neighbors’ position paper decries several facets of Georgetown’s off-campus housing program, calling the recent changes “an expansion or extension of existing programs – programs that have decisively failed to remedy the problems.” The paper describes the existing off-campus program as reactive instead of proactive and primarily punitive.

The paper calls ALL “grossly misrepresented” in the university’s submission. Calling for the university to take steps to improve its own culture, the paper does not support a community-wide program.

The paper also raises concerns about leniency in the student code of conduct, citing that a student punished by a co-curricular sanction may be suspended from a campus activity for only a short time.

Zartman included several letters and photos in the submission testifying to repeated acts of student misconduct, excess trash and noise and district law violations in the neighborhoods surrounding the university, one authored by Tom Schneidermann and Julia Falconer. Schneidermann and Falconer have filed suit against the university for $100,000 in punitive and compensatory damages alleging physical and emotional distress caused by student misconduct in the area of their home, located on the 3600 block of O Street.

On Oct. 20, the university submitted a reaction to the neighborhood organizations’ Oct. 6 submission to the BZA. The university’s submission asked the BZA to remove the Oct. 6 neighborhood submission from the record, since the BZA “asked for a position paper on appropriate student conduct from ANC 2E, not from the parties in opposition to the application. The Oct. 6 neighborhood submission, also compiled by Zartman, asked the BZA to require the university to release a list of off-campus student addresses as well as students’ automobile license plate information. The Oct. 6 paper also asked students to sign a waiver allowing their parents to be notified if they transgressed off-campus policies.

This Oct. 20 submission from the university also included tributes to the university and its students from area residents. While many of the letters did mention instances of student misconduct, the authors said the benefits of students’ presence in the neighborhood outweighed sporadic unruly behavior and that the university was helpful in rectifying complaints.

Many of the letters urged the BZA to ignore the neighborhood communities’ recommendations in their Oct. 6 Position Paper on Student Conduct. “Mrs. Zartman purports to represent all of the parties in this case, including the Citizens Association of Georgetown [CAG],” Georgetown-area resident Grace Bateman said. “As a member of CAG, I do not think Mrs. Zartman’s recommendations reflect the views of [that] organization.”

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