At least three 61D noise violations, offenses that come with a permanent arrest record, were issued to Georgetown students last semester, according to university officials.
Anne Koester, director of off-campus student life, said last week the Metropolitan Police Department issued 61D citations to three students last semester, to the best of the university’s knowledge. Associate Vice President for Student Affairs Jeanne Lord said there was a possibility that the actual number could be higher.
“We’re supposed to be informed, but . it’s in [MPD’s] hands,” she said. “They’re the ones who control the whole process. So sometimes we get this information, but it’s entirely possible that other times we don’t.”
PD spokesperson Gwendolyn Crump said that six 61Ds were issued in Police Service Area 206, which includes the university and surrounding neighborhoods, from July 2009 to January 2010. She was unable to specify how many were issued to students.
Cory Peterson, area coordinator for upper class areas and Village A, sent an e-mail to residents of university-owned townhouses on Sept. 24, 2009, saying that MPD had issued six 61Ds up to that point in the academic year, although he did not specify the locations or whether they were issued to students. Director of Residence Life Stephanie Lynch said that based on information the university received after Peterson sent the e-mail, she believes that six were issued in “a particular area of D.C.,” but not necessarily to students.
Peterson declined to comment, saying he was unauthorized to speak to the press.
Jennifer Altemus (COL ’88), president of the Citizens Association of Georgetown, expressed support for increased measures against noisy students.
“We would love to see 61Ds stepped up,” she said. “We’d like the university to impose real sanctions.”
PD officers are authorized to issue 61D citations to violators of the District of Columbia Noise Control Act of 1977, which bans noise louder than 60 decibels during the day and 55 decibels at night in residential areas, as measured from the property line of the property from which the noise is emanating. Nighttime is defined as 9 p.m. to 7 a.m.
Although violators are not detained, they receive an arrest record in addition to a $35 fine. Violators can appeal the arrest, but if they lose, the citation is upgraded to a misdemeanor.
At least one student has appealed their 61D arrest and won this year, according to Georgetown University Student Association President Calen Angert (MSB ’11).
Although MPD officers have had the authority to issue 61D citations since at least 2000, 61Ds were not issued for several years until January 2009. Instead, violators were fined up to $300, but did not receive an arrest record.
Anne Koester, director of Off-Campus Student Life, said the university has no position on the issuance of 61Ds.
Angert, however, said the citations and consequences of losing appeals were unfair.
“As students, we think it’s ridiculous,” he said, speaking for himself and GUSA Vice President Jason Kluger (MSB ’11).
Advisory Neighborhood Commission 2E Commissioner Aaron Golds (COL ’11) said he remains unconvinced of the effectiveness of 61D citations.
“The university and I still receive complaints from neighbors regarding noise, but I don’t know if there [has been] a dramatic change one way or the other since 61Ds began to be issued,” he said. “I have always advocated, and will continue to advocate for, the use of 61Ds only in the most necessary and extreme circumstances.”
[Seventeen 61D citations were issued in MPD’s Second District from the first week of July through the last week of January](https://mpdc.dc.gov/mpdc/frames.asp?doc=/mpdc/lib/mpdc/info/districts/pdf/citywide_street_psa_2x2.pdf), according to Crump. In addition to the six in PSA 206, seven were issued in PSA 204, three in PSA 208, and one in PSA 207.”