The university’s ban on vehicles for undergraduates, instituted this summer, has been minimally implemented, with administrators relying on the ban itself rather than any methods of enforcement this semester.
“The goal here is not to make this a disciplinary issue; the goal is to manage the impact from the number of student cars in the neighborhood,” Vice President for Student Affairs Todd Olson said.
The ban was part of the 2010 Campus Plan agreement Georgetown negotiated with its neighbors in July 2012. Although the Code of Student Conduct now explicitly prohibits students from parking vehicles on campus or on residential streets in Georgetown, Burleith and Foxhall, no disciplinary sanctions for violation of this rule are listed.
“We don’t plan to make any formal changes at this point,” Olson said.
In lieu of any administrative punishment, students cited because of the ban discuss the issue with administrators.
“I’d say at this point that what we have done is just had follow-up conversations about how to resolve the issue with students and that’s been our focus,” Olson said, declining to provide a specific number.
Georgetown University Student Association President Nate Tisa (SFS ’14) emphasized the low priority of the ban for student government representatives.
“What we have been doing is focusing on transportation issues in general and just making sure that students have ways to get around,” Tisa said. “At the end of the day, how do you tell if a car is a student car? I haven’t heard of anyone having any issues with the policy.”
Possible enforcement systems to identify student cars could bring up concerns about labeling students.
“If the neighborhood or the university were to somehow label student cars as student cars, I think that you would be completely treating students differently than any other citizen of the city,” formerGUSA President Clara Gustafson (SFS ’13) said.
According to Student Advocacy Office Co-Director and Disciplinary Review Committee member Ben Manzione (SFS ’15), the Student Advocacy Office has not been involved with any cases involving the student vehicle ban.
Olson additionally stated that there has been a very low number of students that have had to speak with the Office of Student Conduct.
“We’re dealing with the cases that come to our attention. In the Office of Student Conduct, there are not very many that have come to our attention. It has been just a very small number,” Olson said.
In addition, there have been exceptions made to the ban for a few students. Olson noted that some of the students that they have had conversations with due to violations of the ban have been some of the same students who have received exemptions.
The low number of cases seen by the SAO and the Office of Student Conduct has led students to believe the ban is informally enforced.
“At the very least, I think it’s fair to say they are not harshly enforcing the ban, simply because we haven’t seen cases, but that has to be taken with a caveat,” Student Advocacy Office Co-Director Michelle Mohr (COL ’15) said. “Just because we haven’t seen cases doesn’t mean they don’t exist.”