Students move off campus for a variety of reasons. Some are unable to obtain university housing. Others want to live with roommates of their choice, regardless of class or housing eligibility. Still others find an amazing house for a great deal and plan on living it up for the year. But many just want freedom from all the regulations that Georgetown imposes.

That freedom may be soon taken away if Jenna Lowenstein (COL ’09), the sole student commissioner on the local Advisory Neighborhood Commission, has her way.

Lowenstein presented a letter last week to Vice President for Student Affairs Todd Olson on behalf of the ANC recommending that the university expand its one-keg limit to non-university student housing.

The one-keg limit that Georgetown approved last month applies to all university-owned property – to residents of Village A, Henle Village, the off-campus university-owned townhouses and so on. Georgetown has jurisdiction over those areas, and for better or for worse, they may exercise it.

But when you live off campus in a private home or apartment, you are bound only by Washington, D.C. law, a housing agreement with your landlord (if you have one) and aspects of the university Code of Conduct not pertaining to residence halls.

There is currently no limit enforced by the city on the number of kegs a person can have. Yet our student commissioner, who is supposed to advance and defend our interests, would have Georgetown step outside its accepted areas of jurisdiction and tell students in privately owned houses that they may only have one keg at a time. She relies on an ambiguously worded sentence in the student Code of Conduct, which states that when off-campus violations of student conduct occur, “the University reserves the right to take appropriate action when . the alleged conduct has a negative impact on the University community.”

It is beyond me how having two kegs in a privately owned house would negatively impact the university. What’s next? Is the university going to apply its alcohol policy to all residents in the Georgetown neighborhood?

Beyond the simple ludicrousness of the resolution, however, is the problem of enforcement. The Department of Public Safety has no jurisdiction in off-campus areas, because it’s not Georgetown-owned property. And the Metropolitan Police Department can’t enforce such a limit because, again, it’s not a crime to possess two kegs in D.C.

This policy will only encourage neighbors to spy on Georgetown students and report them – and that certainly wouldn’t help out town-gown relations.

But above everything else, I’m mostly just shocked, because the first way I heard about this was by reading THE HOYA and The Voice. Commissioner Lowenstein said that she co-authored the proposal because it’s “unfair to levy restrictions on one segment of the student population, and not others” (“Keg Limit May Go Off Campus,” The Georgetown Voice, Feb. 1, 2007, p.6).

Has Lowenstein even consulted with any students to see how they feel about this? When I lived in Darnall Hall freshman year, I didn’t complain that my dorm was dry, even while Hoyas in Village A and Henle were allowed to have alcohol in their residence halls. Similarly, I doubt many students are falling over each other to denounce the off-campus students for not having to abide by the keg limit.

There are many concerns about this resolution that should have been addressed before the ANC voted, like jurisdictional concerns and trash issues if the limit should lead to greater use of disposable containers like cans. As our student representative on the local board, Jenna Lowenstein should have taken the issue to the students first – the ones she serves and supposedly represents – rather than forcing through a potentially momentous proposal with little or no discussion.

If you’d like to protest this decision, feel free to write Commissioner Lowenstein at 2E04anc.dc.gov, or attend the next meeting of the ANC on Tuesday, Feb. 27 (details are available at www.anc2e.com).

Matthew Stoller is a junior in the College.

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