Signs opposing Georgetown’s campus plan were found burned on the front steps of a Burleith residence Monday morning.
Glen Harrison, a resident of 3726 T St., found the signs at about 11 a.m., but said that his neighbor had already seen them around 8:30 a.m. He estimated that the incident occurred between 11 p.m. Sunday night and 8:30 a.m. Monday morning. He found melted plastic on his bottom step, indicating that the signs had been burned there, Harrison said.
The signs read “Oppose GU Campus Plan” and “Our Homes, Not GU Dorms.” Of the three destroyed signs, two belonged to Harrison and the third to his neighbor, Harrison said. As of Tuesday afternoon, the signs had been replaced.
Harrison filed a report with the Metropolitan Police Department, which is investigating the incident. Harrison said that officers responded to the scene to take pictures and conduct a follow-up interview.
“They are treating this as a very serious issue,” Harrison said.
Burleith Citizens Association President Lenore Rubino expressed dismay about the incident.
“It was illegal and inappropriate,” she said. “I just think it’s the wrong way to go about expressing your feelings.”
According to Rubino, similar signs have been stolen, thrown out and slashed consistently since they first went up over the summer. Harrison said that he had owned his signs for a year and a half. They had previously been slashed and stolen, but this incident was the first that he reported to police because of its more serious nature. The signs were in his hedge and garden rather than near the sidewalk as they had been before. He said that the trespassing and burning involved caused him to report the incident.
Neither Harrison nor Rubino would speculate on the identity of the vandals.
“It just seems like somebody didn’t like the signs,” Harrison said.
The incident is the latest in a contentious battle over the campus plan. Georgetown’s campus plan, which the university submitted to the D.C. Zoning Commission on Dec. 30, provides no new on-campus housing for students. This has caused concern for neighbors who believe they may have to share more space with students living off campus even though the university does not plan to increase undergraduate enrollment. Neighbors have also recently clashed with the university over issues of noise and trash and all of whichRubino believes to be symptoms of the housing policy.
Harrison had expressed his opposition to the campus plan at community meetings. He shares Rubino’s concern with the university’s treatment of these issues.
“It doesn’t seem like Georgetown has put forth that effort,” he said.
Harrison was not sure, however, why the vandals had targeted him. He said that his opposition to the campus plan was not out of the ordinary, and that he had not taken issue with recent student noise violations.
“I’m just trying to make the neighborhood a more diverse and interesting place to live for everybody,” he said.
The MPD incident report is not yet available to the public.
—Hoya Staff Writer Caitlin Mac Neal contributed to this report.