ANC ANC Addresses Safety, Town-Gown Relations By Mark Romaniw Hoya Staff Writer

Advisory Neighborhood Commission representatives and Campaign Georgetown members discussed safety, student space issues and town-gown relations Sunday night at a town hall meeting.

Members of the ANC voiced their support for using the cafeteria at New South as a space for student activities. The New South space will be vacated with the completion of the Southwest Quadrangle Project’s cafeteria, slated for Fall 2003.

The Southwest Quadrangle will also free the space currently used by the Jesuit Community in Healy. A centralized campus ministry office on the first floor with faculty and administrative offices on the upper floors will fill the vacated area.

“We’re fairly dedicated to this idea and support that the available space be made for students,” commission member Scott Polk said.

Polk also spoke of newly-elected GUSA President Kaydee Bridges’ (SFS ’03) campaign promise to devote more on-campus space to student activities. “It’s an issue I always thought about and it rang a chord in the community,” he said. “It’s not that we don’t like to have students out in the community, but we would like to make sure there was a venue that was available to students to have a college experience.”

Bridges is lobbying to allot a portion of the prospective vacancies in New South and New North to student groups and to make areas such as Gaston Hall more accessible and affordable to students.

“As far as New South, our intention is to make that a student union,” Bridges said. She added that a tentatively-titled New South Core Planning Team is “already meeting with [Vice President for Student Affairs Juan C.] Gonzalez and others to get that space when it’s available.” The first meeting occurred last week.

The student union, Bridges explained, would be a combination of a study area, a lounge and a small cafe possibly modeled after student unions at other universities. She said that “we want it to be student run” and have the proceeds go directly back to the student union, but added that they haven’t worked out the details of whether some student groups – or possibly an independent stu

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dent board – would run it. No formal plan has been drafted for New South yet, according to Bridges.

ANC Commissioner Justin Kopa (COL ’03) said that, as far as he knows, University President John J. DeGioia has not made a definite commitment to making New South’s cafeteria student space. “There’s a commitment – it’s been said that we want to make student space, but it’s not written in stone,” he said.

“We understand that it’s a commitment, it’s not something in writing – but we hope that it will be used for student activities,” ANC Chair Peter Pulsifer said. “What we heard tonight,” he said, referring to a tour the representatives had taken of the university, “was that it was not guaranteed [the cafeteria] would be student space, and we would like to, first of all, make sure that it is guaranteed.”

But Marty La Falce (COL ’03), a member of the Core Planning Team, said that there is little debate over whether this space will go to students. “For the most part, this space is going to go to students,” he said at the town hall meeting. What is still being discussed, he said, is for what activities the space will be used.

ANC representatives declined to provide a specific recommendation as to how to use the cafeteria once it’s vacant. “I don’t really think we can dictate what you’re going to do here,” Polk said, explaining that the debate is between students and their student organizations and the university. Kopa called the use of that space “completely a student issue.”

Pulsifer explained that the ANC wants to push the student cause at the university because the university has all kinds of constituencies on campus. “I’m sure a lot of faculty members would love to have that space as offices, or that other university activities would like to use that space,” he said.

Polk explained that the ANC’s primary concern was for student safety. Returning to campus via Prospect Street is “an opportunity at one in the morning, two in the morning, to become a statistic,” he said, stating that walking around on campus was significantly less dangerous.

Relations between the neighborhood and Georgetown students is improving, the representatives said. “I would say that this year we are seeing a positive difference in the attitudes of the non-students who live on Prospect Street,” ANC Vice-Chair William Starrels said, noting residents’ increased cooperation with the university. “Numbers that used to be up at the ceiling in terms of incident reports are down hovering around zero or one,” ANC Commissioner Justin Wagner (COL ’03) said, crediting the drop to both the ANC and the university. However, he said, the primary credit goes to the students.

“The students have really found ways to have fun and act responsibly without bothering the community as much.”

Campaign Georgetown organized the session.

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