This past week, one small Web site detailing the unruly behavior of Georgetown students off-campus garnered national attention (Saxaspeak [first reported](https://saxaspeak.thehoya.com/2010/04/27/drunken-georgetown-students474/) on the site Tuesday morning). While students have expressed outrage at its content, the site’s creator maintains that his target is not students, but rather the university administration.
“I couldn’t get through to anyone at the university. This is a cry for help,” Stephen Brown, the creator of drunkengeorgetownstudents.com, said.
The Web site was created last fall, according to Brown. After April 9, several posts, with photos depicting inebriated students on weekends and admonishing commentary from Brown, gained students’ interest as well as coverage by NBC, FOX and The Washington Post.
On Wednesday, the site’s original server, IBM HTTP Server, forced Brown to censor the site by blurring out faces of students on the pictures and deleting exact location references. Though Brown acquiesced, the server still closed the site at 7 p.m. on Wednesday. Brown said that there was no concrete reason offered by IHS. He then relocated the site to blogspot, another server.
Brown said he has the students’ best interests at heart, adding that the goal of the Web site is to pressure the administration into building more on-campus housing. He said that living conditions off-campus are often unsafe, citing the example of the house across the street from him, which is close to collapsing, according to Brown. Brown said that because there is not enough housing on campus, students are forced to move into unsafe houses owned by corrupt landlords, who are not abiding by safety regulations.
“This is not only about student behavior, but rather it is about Georgetown’s responsibility and the safety of its students,” Brown said.
Students expressed doubt that Brown is actually concerned for their well-being, however.
“Mr. Brown’s intentions sound noble if he actually wants to help Georgetown students get fairer housing, but somehow I don’t think those are his true motivations,” Taylor Lescallette (SFS ’12) said.
The university does not intend to alter its construction plans, despite Brown’s concerns. Andy Pino, director of media relations, said that the university was not planning to build additional undergraduate housing on campus. Eighty-four percent of undergraduates are housed on campus currently.
“We are not proposing to increase our traditional undergraduate enrollment over the 10-year period of the 2010 Campus Plan, and we have not seen any increase in demand for beds that would support the construction of additional undergraduate housing, particularly in light of several other competing projects including, for example, athletic, library and student activity facilities,” Pino said.
Brown opposed the campus plan vehemently, as well as the university’s lack of response to his queries. He said that only now, following the popularity of the Web site, was he granted a meeting with university administrators. Brown said the popularity of the site could prove detrimental to the university, and he was therefore putting pressure on the administration.
While Brown, a former professor at American University, maintained that he loves students, he distinguished between sober and drunk students and said he has no qualms with publishing information about the behavior of intoxicated undergraduates.
“Insisting on rights to privacy is silly. Stand up for your actions. Be proud of what you do. If you’re drunk on the street, then own that,” Brown said.
Brown said that he would continue publishing content on his Web site and students should be aware that when they are on the street, they are in the public domain and can be documented.
“When you see me with a camera pointing at you, expect it to be followed up with a call to the police,” Brown said.
Brown had no plans to put the photos back on the site in their uncensored version, saying he doesn’t have the time to deal with any potential lawsuits that may arise. He is, however, intent upon adding new content to the site, posting advice to other residents on how to best report students, including calling 911, and encouraging them to document students and submit pictures and other information to his Web site.
Walter Hillabrant, vice president of the Burleith Citizens Association, said he expects the site to continue growing, and that he plans to contribute to it.
“[The site is] provocative, interesting, [and] addresses a real problem but probably not in the best ways,” Hillabrant said. “Until a better forum is readily available, we need a way to document and depict and communicate the nature of gatherings that involve binge drinking and alcohol abuse, loud parties, public urination and other antisocial behaviors – all often occurring at late hours.”
Pino concurred that the site was not the best medium for addressing Brown’s concerns.
“We do not believe the site is a constructive attempt to improve safety or quality of life issues in our community, and we believe it runs contrary to the collaborative efforts we’ve engaged in with many of our neighbors,” Pino said.