By Heather Burke Hoya Staff Writer

The annual spring Block Party will be held on Friday, April 28 from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m., despite Dean of Students James A. Donahue’s refusal to lend university support in the wake of David Shick’s death. The Advisory Neighborhood Commission, whose support planners needed to go forward with the event, voted 4-3 in favor of the Block Party at a meeting Feb. 29.

The vote came after a vocal debate among residents, students and commissioners over the Block Party itself, the university’s alcohol policy and what Commissioner Peter Pulsifer called a “culture of drinking” that is present at the university.

According to Block Party organizer Mike Owens (MSB ’00), the event will take place on the 1200 block of 37th Street, between N and Prospect Streets. For a $10 admission fee, students over 21 with proper ID will receive tickets for three 16-ounce cups of beer, with additional beer costing $1 per cup.

All of the Block Party’s proceeds go to various charities. Last fall’s Block Party raised over $18,000 in profits that went to groups such as Sursum Corda, It’s For the Kids, Hyde Elementary PTA and Habitat for Humanity.

Metropolitan police officers and Alcohol Beverage Control officials will be on hand at the event. In addition, Owens said some bouncers from The Tombs, known to be “meticulous” in checking IDs, would help with carding at the Block Party to help prevent underage drinking.

“We are prepared once again to ensure all methods for it to be a safe, successful and positive experience for all,” Owens said.

The Block Party is an event independent of Georgetown run by an independent foundation registered in the district as a nonprofit group. Its objective is to raise money for charity. Nevertheless, traditionally Donahue has written a letter to the ANC pledging the university’s support for the Block Party. However, in a letter from Donahue read to the commissioners by Assistant Dean of Students Jeanne Lord, he said that, at a time when the university is mourning Shick’s death, he cannot support the Block Party. He offered his office’s support to plan an alcohol-free charity event.

Shick died on Feb. 22 from head trauma after a parking lot fight with other students in which police said alcohol played a factor. The D.C. Medical Examiner’s office ruled the death a homicide and a D.C. grand jury continues to investigate the case.

Commissioners and residents opposed to the event claimed that supporting the Block Party would send a bad message in the wake of Shick’s death. Earlier in the evening, the commission had unanimously passed a resolution sponsored by Commissioner Barbara Zartman, who voted against the Block Party, extending its condolences to the Shick family from the community and pledging to do everything possible “to prevent any other family from experiencing such pain.”

According to Owens, the organizers have acquired the required percentage of signatures of those who live within a 500-foot radius of the block needed to hold the Block Party. They must now acquire permits including an ABC license. Owens said that in the past the ABC has granted a license and, with ANC approval, he does not foresee a problem.

Related Links

 University Withdraws Support for Block Party (Feb. 29)

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