This weekend, an unprecedented number of people from around the country and the world will descend on the nation’s capital for the inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama. Authorities have estimated that two million people plan to gather at the National Mall and along the parade route next Tuesday.

Housing for the weekend is in high demand. Main campus, located only about three miles from the Mall, is certain to feel the effects of this sudden influx of visitors.

And on Dec. 12, the Offices of Student Housing made a move. Its inauguration overnight guest policy, designed to limit numbers and maintain safety on campus, is a sensible response to a situation that must be prepared for.

The policy specifically prohibits the renting or subletting of residences, allows for only two guests per student and requires the pre-registration of all guests online.

Some students have expressed reservations about the policy, and the pre-registration requirement and limitation on the number of guests have been criticized by at least one student as feeble, bothersome attempts at controlling the situation.

And while the concerns of disapproving students are heard – Georgetown’s housing policies are far from perfect, after all – for the university not to take precautions would have been neglectful in the extreme.

The university will not be able to track all traffic on campus over the inauguration weekend. But in considering that an unusual number of friends and family will be visiting, this policy is an evenhanded attempt at keeping any crises that may emerge manageable. Housing is allowing for a festive inauguration weekend while also reminding students of existing rules and implementing temporary ones.

The policy is also practical. By limiting the number of guests, the policy will help to prevent violations of the fire code, damage to university infrastructure and residence halls and overuse of campus resources like water. It ensures the inauguration will place a minimal physical strain on campus.

For a weekend, students are asked to pay attention to housing policies that are otherwise largely ignored or merely glanced at. The university deserves our compliance – a relatively small burden, compared to what is asked of students at other universities in the District.

ajor universities in the area are enforcing inauguration housing policies. Several of these policies are more serious in tone than Georgetown’s. Howard University – where visitors are only allowed during specified visitation hours – requires approval for all visitors. This is also the case at The George Washington University.

Georgetown’s policy is a moderate, necessary response to the demands posed by this historic weekend. The Offices of Student Housing have acknowledged the need for enhanced security regulations with reasonable expectations for an excited student body. Let’s hope all goes according to plan.

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