Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Cheers and Jeers for 2009-2010

**Cheers to Surviving Snowpocalypse**Students got an unexpected winter vacation as Washington, D.C., was hit with record snowfalls during the second snowiest year on record for the District. The university was closed for four full weekdays not including days with liberal leave.

While students were celebrating their newfound free time and exalting the postponement of tests and assignments, facilities workers were working long hours to ensure that Georgetown could operate effectively through the storm system that paralyzed all of the District, including the federal government. Thanks to the tireless efforts of university employees, Georgetown remained well plowed throughout the storm while workers at O’Donovan Hall kept everyone well fed.

ost importantly, Lauinger Library, “that beacon of our commitment to learning,” according to University Provost James O’Donnell, stayed open and welcoming, staffed by students. Though we’re sure that many on campus are hoping for a repeat next winter, we also recognize the strain the surprise vacation put on administrators and professors. Overall, the campus handled the situation very capably.

**Jeers to Safety Jitters**

Campus safety took a hit this academic year as a wave of crimes swept the university area. Despite measures enacted last year to decrease assaults, such as the establishment of the LGBTQ Resource Center, the fall saw a recurrence of assaults motivated by bias against the gay community, along with a string of sexual assaults, burglaries, graffiti and a gunshot during Midnight Madness, all on or near campus. The aftershock of these incidents has spurred a greater concern for personal safety among some students.

Although the total number of crimes may not have increased from past years, the number of crimes against persons rather than property did rise. The Department of Public Safety has begun several measures to improve student safety, including the Rape Aggression Defense program and enhanced student guard training as well as assigning a hate crimes and LGBTQ-related crimes officer and hiring a new crime prevention coordinator and a supervisory investigator.

The measures have done little to quell the sense of unease on campus. When we return in the fall, we hope that campus safety is strengthened and that students will once again be at ease in the university community.

**Jeers to Town-Gown Tensions**

The student-neighbor dynamic in Georgetown has traditionally been less than congenial. This year, however, town-gown relations deteriorated to a level below civility. The university’s 2010 Campus Plan sparked uproar among some residents who feel that it threatens the integrity of the Georgetown community.

The university presented the final draft of the campus plan to representatives of the community last month. Both the Burleith Citizens Association and the Citizens Association of Georgetown were vocal in their opposition to proposed construction outside Healy Gates and the potential expansion of off-campus housing. Some residents went on the offensive, raising funds to hire outside consultants to counter the proposals of the plan.

Student nightlife was also a target for increased neighborhood action. Residents mobilized for the closure of Philly Pizza & Grill, a popular stop on many students’ weekend itineraries. One neighbor pulled out all the stops by launching a Web site to document what he considered disturbing student behavior. He was ultimately forced to edit his site due to legal concerns, but his continued attempt to be a vigilante blogger is a telling cap to a year of increased student-resident friction.

**Cheers to Composure Amid Facilities Chaos**

Perhaps New Student Orientation staff should add an informational segment this August on not starting fires in dorms or one on coping with floods. Many members of this year’s freshman class learned how to handle both foes the hard way.

A deluge of water hit Harbin Hall in March when an air conditioning pipe burst. Since then, another floor of Harbin has experienced a leaking ceiling.

A Harbin resident also caused a small oven fire in April after a pizza box ignited in a common room oven. That fire followed an earlier electrical fire that broke out in New South Hall.

The responses from both the university and city firefighters were consistently quick and thorough. Residents affected by the New South fire were efficiently relocated to temporary housing. In addition, facilities staff eliminated any residual traces of flood damage in Harbin. Despite the university’s successful reaction to the barrage of facilities emergencies, we hope fires and floods aren’t part of every new student’s experience.

**Cheers to Streamlined Funding**

The intense debate surrounding this year’s funding reform bill polarized the campus community. Nonetheless, the spring revisions took a much-needed step toward remodeling an inefficient club funding process.

The Georgetown University Student Association senate bill abolished the Funding Board, which had previously allocated club funding to the various campus advisory boards. The overhaul gave unprecedented control to GUSA over student funding. The reform also demanded further transparency for the funding process. Most importantly, it bolstered accountability by putting club money in the hands of elected officers as opposed to appointed funding board members.

It’s too soon to tell whether the funding reform will accomplish everything it was intended to. Ultimately, the victory of the bill was that it got everyone talking. GUSA’s modification isn’t perfect, but the needed reorganization improved student life. With new dialogue opened, more improvements are bound to be on the way.”

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