Lizzie Griesedieck
Lizzie Griesedieck

This academic year flew by in a whirlwind of memorable highs and lows. With its culmination, the Editorial Board presents the annual Cheers and Jeers.

 

Cheers to Putting DMT Behind Us

When a DMT lab was found in a Harbin dorm room on Oct. 23, the integrity of the Georgetown community and its students was immediately called into question. National media outlets speculated about an underground world of drugs, Harbin residents barely on campus for two months chose to leave the Hilltop because of the scandal and the rest of us waited with bated breath to see what would happen next.

Fortunately, the answer was quite simple: nothing. Subsequent investigations did not lead to mass arrests, and the Georgetown community refused to allow this one anomaly to supersede its centuries-old identity. Former School of Foreign Service freshman Charles Smith and his friend, former University of Richmond student John Perrone, were quietly charged with lenient sentences while Smith’s acquited roommate has been able to assimilate back into campus life this spring. Life on the Hilltop has returned to normal.

While the DMT incident will forever remain in the memories of those who were here to experience it, it has faded into just that — a memory. The campus community has not let the incident define the Georgetown experience, and that in itself is a victory.

Jeers to a Rise in Crime

Crime levels this academic year have effectively debunked the Georgetown community’s false sense of security.

With laptop thefts in areas like Village A and Lauinger Library totalling over 45 and the most recent horrifying instance of Georgetown students being tied up as they were robbed in their Burleith residence just over two weeks ago, crime in Georgetown become more apparent this year. Burglaries have risen 65 percent and violent crime in Georgetown is up 13 percent since the beginning of the academic year, according to the Metropolitan Police Department crime map. By comparison, burglaries in the District have increased by only 29 percent and total violent crime is down 7 percent.

Though Georgetown remains an affluent neighborhood, the location no longer guarantees security. The careless attitudes of some students and local residents are partially to blame, but the Department of Public Safety and MPD have also failed to respond effectively and implement adequate preventative measures.

One recent DPS attempt at crime prevention was the installation of surveillance cameras outside each residence hall, announced in late March. This measure was simply too little, too late as the cameras do not seem to have done much to curb the rising crime rate and failed to address off-campus crime. An increase in attention to the West Georgetown area in DPS patrols also seemed to yield few results.

It’s safe to say that this academic year has not ended on a high note for DPS and MPD, but hopefully the recent infractions will be sufficient catalysts for the innovation and vigilance needed to ensure security on the Hilltop once more.

Cheers to Easing the Money Allocation Headache

Participating in student activities, like much else at Georgetown, is an experience often tainted by bureaucracy. But things got a little bit easier this year as students reformed both the amount of money available and the guidelines controlling the use of that money.

The first change came this fall when Georgetown University Student Association decided to revamp the Student Activities Fee, which the university automatically charges all undergraduates. GUSA calculated that funds available to groups would double if 100 percent of the fee was allocated to clubs along with increasing the fee from $100 to $125 the first year and to $150 the next.

Spurred on by the rise in funds available to clubs after SAFE reform, group leaders united against the Student Activities Commission this spring to demand more of a formal role in making allocation decisions. After vigorous debate, open letters and a town hall, SAC agreed to alter the funding guidelines that it had implemented in the fall. With the revisions, club leaders can create ad hoc events by using funds previously allocated to other parts of their programming arc.

We applaud GUSA for asking students to give a little more in return for improving the experience many students will undoubtedly have in the future. We also commend SAC for creating more transparency, cutting down on bureaucracy and seeking to truly help the clubs it claims to serve. Both efforts this year will be instrumental in funding a brighter future for Georgetown student activities, the soul of student life of campus.

Cheers to Grace Under Fire Abroad

Calling it a rough semester for the Office of International Programs would be an understatement. The overthrow of Hosni Mubarak’s regime in Egypt and the catastrophic earthquake and tsunami in Japan effectively ended many students’ semesters abroad, but OIP successfully ensured some students’ transition to foreign studies at other, less crisis-ridden locations. Others chose alternative options for the semester, and the remaining students who opted to return to the Hilltop for a full semester of classes found the shift seamless, thanks to university assistance.

Georgetown has proven it has a superior ability to deal with these types of crises. With university resources in the Middle East, Georgetown was successfully able to remove the students from the tumult as well as provide them with alternative programs in locations like its Doha, Qatar campus. Likewise, the devastating earthquake in Japan forced Georgetown to cancel all spring semester programs in the country, leaving students to seek alternative plans for the semester.

Although current events did not work in some students’ favor this time around, Georgetown acted swiftly and effectively to mitigate such danger. All members of our community should be reassured by the university’s vigilance and take comfort that Georgetown students near and far are guaranteed to return safe and sound under OIP’s watch.

Jeers to Deteriorating Town-Gown Relations

Washington, D.C. is making it very hard for Georgetown and its students to feel welcome.

The D.C. Noise Ordinance implemented in February brought with it a 10 p.m. to 7 a.m. ban on excessive loudness; violators of the law could face arrest, a $500 fine and a marred permanent record. Once it was enacted, students concerned by the law’s potential to affect their late-night plans saw the worsening of an already-tense relationship with their neighbors.

The effects of the noise law, however, were minimal in comparison to the heightened debate over the university’s 2010 Campus Plan this year. The university’s battle with its neighbors came to a head earlier this month, when the District’s Office of Planning called on Georgetown to house 100 percent of its students on campus by 2016. Now Georgetown finds itself at a juncture with the surrounding neighborhood.

While the university already guarantees two years of on-campus housing, requiring an entire extra year would mean at least 1,500 additional students on campus. It is time that the students make their presence felt as they face a movement against the campus community.

Georgetown students must begin to take an interest in their campus’s future and their own well-being. That any loud noise after 10 p.m. warrants an arrest is an egregious violation of rights in itself. Georgetown also currently does not have the space to house these students, short of buying out all of Burleith or West Georgetown. Such a demand is entirely unrealistic and poses a threat to the advancement of Georgetown as a university. It’s high time for students to step up in support of the university moving forward so that we have a neighborhood to call home.

Have a reaction to this article? Write a letter to the editor.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*