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

Party Rules Worry Locals

Local residents have stepped up complaints against student conduct in the wake of enforcement of stricter alcohol regulations on campus, and the Metropolitan Police Department has cracked down on party violators in recent days.

Many neighbors – mainly residents of Burleith and West Georgetown – have complained recently about a late-night parties in houses rented by students living off-campus, Ed Soloman, chairman of the local Advisory Neighborhood Commission, said.

Six people were arrested this weekend near the university, five for the possession of an open container, according to Andrew Solberg, commander for MPD’s Second District, which includes Georgetown. Solberg did not specify how many of the arrestees were Georgetown students.

In recent weeks, MPD has begun arresting students for party-related violations rather than issuing citations, as has customarily been done in the past. Solberg said that there have been more complaints from local residents this semester, adding that it is likely that the rise in complaints from local resident was related to the new alcohol regulations on campus.

“Warning and slaps on the wrist aren’t working,” he said.

Solomon said that although there is typically a significant number of off-campus student parties in September, the ANC has seen “immeasurably more complaints about noise and parties” in the areas surrounding campus in recent weeks. He added that both neighbors and students are concerned about new alcohol and party policies implemented on campus, which could drive parties into the neighboring community.

Thirty officers were stationed in the area around campus over this past weekend. Solberg said that the increased MPD presence will remain in future weeks, although there may not be as many officers around campus as were present this weekend.

Solberg added that plain-clothes policemen would be stationed around the community surrounding campus.

The new restrictions for on-campus residences include a one-keg per party limit, guest restrictions, hosting restraints (at lease two hosts must be 21 or older) and earlier registration requirements.

Solomon said that the ANC was not notified by Georgetown about the new rules in advance.

But Jeanne Lord, the university’s associate vice president for student affairs, said that the university spoke to ANC members in recent months about some of the policy changes, and that the Office of Student Affairs intends to “make an effort to maintain open lines of communication with neighbors.”

Bonnie Hardy, a resident of Burleith for 30 years, said that she is frustrated that the university has not kept residents better informed about policies on campus. Hardy, who has attended numerous meetings of the Alliance for Local Living – a group formed by the university that meets monthly – in the past year, and she said the new alcohol and parties policies, other than the keg limit, were never mentioned. Hardy said that she is “concerned about the future of Burleith.”

Hardy said that the past two weekends in Burleith have been “just crazier.” She added that she had hoped that the new university restrictions would apply to off-campus housing, but instead houses in Burleith and West Georgetown have become a more popular option for parties.

The new alcohol policy has been a point of contention between many students and the university’s administration over the past few weeks. More than 1,540 students have joined the Facebook group “Work Hard Play Hard – GU Students for Stopping the adness,” whose creators have spoken to the administration about their objections to the rules.

The ANC endorsed in February a resolution for the university to extend the keg limit to residences off campus, but Vice President for Student Affairs Todd Olson chose not to follow the recommendation.

Soloman said it is important that representatives from the community are involved in decisions that will affect their neighborhood and that in the past, “communication between the university and the community has been good.” The university had an open discussion with the community regarding the new and expanded shuttle service that would run through Burleith this year, and Lord said they have also been involved at Citizen’s Association of Georgetown and local zoning board meetings.

In the coming weeks, the ANC hopes to get together to “express our views about the policy” and also seeks to arrange a meeting with Olson, Soloman said.

Lord said that the university and MPD are working to inform students about school policies and local law. Lord said that it is important for students to understand local law.

“We want people to socialize and have a good time,” she said.

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