The university is planning to collect data on April 28’s Georgetown Day conduct violations, including Georgetown University Police Department calls, leading the Georgetown University Student Association to hold a “Save Georgetown Day” event April 28 in an effort to encourage students to be more responsible.
GUSA President Kamar Mack (COL ’19) said the event was inspired by the administration’s desire to address the concerns of Georgetown Day critics, including professors.
“Stakeholders on the university side who do not support Georgetown Day primarily include professors. Classes are interrupted because students show up drunk and because there’s a lot of noise on the front lawn,” Mack said. “Jessica and I inherited a situation where the university expressed that they wanted to start events after 4:00 p.m., and they wanted GUSA to engage in some sort of educational event about alcohol and drug safety practices.”
Main Campus Executive Faculty Senate notes from recent years show discussions over the impact of Georgetown Day on classes, including the formation of a committee in fall 2016 to investigate the consequences of the day. In the March 17 notes, the committee says the university is evaluating Georgetown Day.
“The University will communicate to students through the Provost’s Student Advisory Committee, made up of student government leaders from across the Main Campus, that we are closely evaluating Georgetown Day this year with particular attention to excessive drinking and health and safety concerns,” the notes read.
The notes also suggest faculty should be allowed to reschedule Friday classes, and that “student government leaders will consider what efforts they may make as a group to increase education around the purpose of the day and the risks of excessive drinking,” and that these efforts will be monitored.
Member of the Main Campus Executive Faculty’s Georgetown Day Committee Reena Aggarwal said Georgetown Day serves as a uniting event for the Georgetown community.
“As the semester winds down, Georgetown Day provides a great opportunity for our Georgetown community to come together,” Aggarwal wrote in an email to The Hoya.
Mack said that while the university has not confirmed how it will use the data, students should be on high alert.
“The big goal is to make sure students understand the layout of this year’s Georgetown Day. It’s important to know the university is on high alert,” Mack said. “They’ll be tracking the number of GERMS transports, they’ll be tracking the amount of SNAPS calls, they’ll be tracking GUPD — how much they have to pay GUPD — they’re tracking all of this. What they’re going to do with this data is something we do not know.”
Part of the university’s tracking, which includes counting the number of student volunteers, is in response to changes in the Georgetown Day budget for this year. The GUSA Finance and Appropriations Committee, which appropriates the student activities fee, did not allocate Georgetown Day any funding this year after the organizing committee forgot to submit a funding request.
“Jessica and I have been able to get the university to commit to providing money from Student Affairs and the provost office, so we have funding,” Mack said. “What we don’t have is people to put the events on. The university is not going to give us money unless we have adequate volunteers and detailed program proposals.”
Despite the event’s billing to “Save Georgetown Day,” Mack said he’s not worried about the university cancelling Georgetown Day, but rather enforcing a different structure or making it harder for planned events to take place.
“The university can’t ‘cancel’ Georgetown Day. They can’t tell students, ‘Hey, no parties.’ By nature of the fact that it’s at the very end of the school year, it’s very difficult for the conduct office to adjudicate all the cases,” Mack said. “But what they can do is say, ‘We won’t throw in any money for food trucks, or we will shut down parties in a split second.’”
Mack said he hopes the event helps students prepare to safely celebrate the end of classes.
“Students are going to party regardless,” Mack said. “The goal is just to make the day as safe as possible and to make sure we have programming. That’s the difference between a day when people just party and Georgetown Day, as a tradition.”
Student Advocacy Office Director Jack Nalen (COL ’17) said he hopes the event will help students understand their rights and responsibilities as members of the university and neighborhood community overall.
“My goal for this event is to have every person in attendance walking out feeling a lot more confident in their rights as a student, no matter what living capacity they may be in, as well as their responsibilities as a student,” Nalen said. “We’re members of this community and it’s equally important for students to know how to politely stand up for their rights as it is for them to know how to avoid certain situations that are unbecoming to a Georgetown student.”
While SAO normally prepares their advocates for Georgetown Day, Nalen said this event will allow the office’s mission of student safety and appropriate conduct to reach a wider audience.
“This isn’t going to be any different from a talk I would give on Georgetown Day in the past, now there’s just more of an audience. This is the first time that there will be a large format for this talk to go on,” Nalen said. “I know that the event is organized under the ‘Save Georgetown Day’ banner, but I think that especially the conduct portion of it and the student health on that day is something that can be appreciated day in and day out.”
Clarification: This article previously stated the university would collect data on conduct violations, including Georgetown Emergency Response Medical Service requests; the university does collect data on GERMS requests, however, this data is not used for information on conduct violations.
Correction: This article previously named Georgetown Emergency Response Medical Service as the Georgetown Rapid Medical Service.