Dear Dr. Olson

With Georgetown Day quickly approaching, Vice President for Student Affairs Todd Olson sent an email to the student body pairing gentle rhetoric with a familiar message: “We acknowledge that Georgetown students do not cause all the disruption and noise in the community,” Olson wrote. “In the interest of bettering our shared community we want to remind you of university policy.”

What the email actually says? Students, shut up.

Too often in this debate, the administration caters to the unrealistic demands of Georgetown residents, placing arbitrary and unnecessary restrictions on students living both on and off campus.

Such a stance is unjust, with both sides to blame.

This shared community of administrators, neighbors and students should seek an atmosphere at Georgetown where they do not look at each other as faceless masses bent on making the other’s lives more difficult.

This is a relationship that cannot simply come to be through arbitrary meetings and representatives. It requires a fundamental change in the way both sides consider each other. Looking specifically at each side’s perspective, it is of course reasonable to expect Georgetown students to curb excessive noise during the hours when it can cause the most disruption to other members of the community, but bettering a community is a two-way street, not a one-way bulldozer.

Thus, Dr. Olson’s “brace and hold” stance when spring arrives and student activity outside ramps up has never proved successful at maintaining civility without angering either side.

Many residents undoubtedly hold some contempt for the student body and expect that students are nothing more than a noise-generating nuisance.

The students voiced their concerns in the campus plan debate partly by electing a satirical ticket as president and vice president of the Georgetown University Student Association. It is clear that the current relationship between the two parties lacks respect.

We are asking the university and adjacent neighborhoods to meet us halfway: We are not a horde of rowdy delinquents, and you are not the neighborhood police tasked with corralling us every weekend.

The bettering of our shared community is an overused phrase but holds much truth; moving beyond mutually antagonistic roles is the first step toward this goal.

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One Comment

  1. How does the election of a satirical ticket relate to a lack of respect between the neighborhood and the university?

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