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

Residents Urged To Videotape Students

Andreas Jeninga/The Hoya Signs throughout Georgetown, including this one at Prospect and Potomac, serve as a warning to students.

Amid tensions between off-campus students and Georgetown residents, leaders of the Citizens Association of Georgetown at an Alliance for Local Living meeting encouraged neighborhood residents to use video cameras to document unruly student behavior.

These tapes would then be turned over to the university, local media or law enforcement in order to bring attention to disturbances caused by the students.

Mike Glick (COL ’05), the sole student commissioner on Georgetown’s Advisory Neighborhood Commission, expressed disappointment with the latest response to problems caused by what he deems a very small minority of the undergraduate population.

“This will only serve to foster greater animosity and disrespect among the students and neighborhood residents,” he said. “It’s an unrealistic and intrusive way to achieve change, and I hope that many citizens of Georgetown will see how over-the-top this is.”

According to Glick, conflict in the community still centers on recurrent issues such as house parties, late night pedestrian noise, trash and vandalism. Glick said that community leaders frustrated with the situation are looking to a “more sweeping and draconian way to solve their problems.”

Ray Kukulski, president of the Citizens Association of Georgetown, declined to comment on plans to videotape students but expressed his desire to find common ground with students.

“We have been in productive discussion with Georgetown University to address the few problem student houses,” Kukulski said. “As always, the aim of the Citizens Association of Georgetown is to promote harmony in the neighborhood for everyone.”

Various programs have been put in place by the university to achieve this end. The Office of Off-Campus Student Life co-sponsors periodic community clean-ups with citizens associations in Georgetown and Burleith.

The university also hosts a monthly meeting of the Alliance for Local Living where students and neighbors can address issues and work toward solutions.

Jeanne Lord, interim associate vice president for student affairs, said that programs such as these show that Georgetown University has a long-standing commitment to working with area residents on issues with students.

“Naturally, there are going to be some tensions and issues about which we may disagree,” she said. “However, there are many things we can work on together.”

In an effort to soothe tensions, Glick recently distributed letters to all student houses in West Georgetown. The letter warned students of increased police crackdowns on students and offered suggestions on how to avoid clashes with the MPD and residents.

“I think the solution lies in continued education and a greater understanding about what it means to live in a mixed neighborhood [and] the responsibilities and the challenges that come with that,” Glick said. “This is going to be more an evolution than a revolution, and we must approach these issues with a sense of practicality, of decency and of patience.”

Lord also expresses hope that a solution between students and residents can be found in the near future. She stressed the need for an open dialogue to help the two groups work through the current problems in the community.

“I can’t emphasize strongly enough how much Georgetown students can contribute to good relations with our neighbors if they’re willing to make the effort,” she said. “What’s encouraging to me is that, increasingly, this message is getting to students from their fellow students.”

These recent conflicts come on the heels of a Dec. 4 ruling by the D.C. Court of Appeals which said that an enrollment cap enforced by the Board of Zoning Adjustment that attempts to discipline unruly off-campus students was inappropriate.

University President John J. DeGioia said he was pleased with the decision.

“We think it is a reflection of the depth of commitment that this institution has made to improve the quality of our relationships with our neighbors [and] almost 15 years of countless work by people . who have really committed to ensuring the quality of those relationships day after day after day,” DeGioia said.

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