An experience I had this past Saturday leaves me with misgivings about administrative support for events and functions on campus that spin out of control and endanger campus residents. I also want to make sure that matters of this nature are approached in the most serious manner and involve all authorities on campus in order to ensure that it never happens again.

I am writing a description of the incident that occurred outside of my Village B window facing the front gates on 37th and O Streets on Sunday, Sept. 21 at approximately 2 a.m. On Saturday, Sept. 20, a party in Bull Dog Alley sponsored by the Georgetown chapter of NAACP was dispersed by DPS around 1 a.m. The participants in this event, most of which were not Georgetown students, walked to the front gates.

Cars parked on 37th Street started blasting music and a large group of students, about 50 to 60 people, were gathered around VB Stairwell 22-29, dancing, yelling, and cursing. There was a high probability many of them were intoxicated. At approximately 1:30 a.m., I called 7-HELP with a noise complaint and informed them that the number of people outside was growing and not only was it a disturbance, I was afraid it would get out of hand. The operator on the other end of the line was not helpful, asking twice “so what’s the problem?” although I had described the situation clearly. Finally he hung up with “OK, we’ll look into it.”

At that point I would estimate that there were more than 100 people outside. The street was full, traffic could not pass easily and I was surprised that the DPS car parked 24/7 at the front gate was empty. There was still no DPS presence at the scene by 2 a.m.

Since the majority of the people were loitering around the VB 22-29 stairwell (although none of them lived there), somehow a large group of people gained access to the front door and entered our stairwell. I assume that either they followed someone who lived in the stairwell, or that another VB resident led them inside.

Apartments 28 and 29 were subject to forceful banging on their doors, and my roommates and I were terrified. We double bolted our door; however, the door for apartment 28 has defective locks and so the crowd nearly burst into their apartment. I called the etropolitan Police Department, while in the meantime someone pulled the fire alarm inside the stairwell.

The operator, hearing the alarm, transferred me to the Fire Department after taking my report and I had to explain that it was a false alarm, but that there was a chaotic situation on 3700 O Street that DPS had not yet attended to. Metro was there within 7 minutes, around the same time that four DPS cars arrived at the scene. I had called DPS at 1:30 a.m., and they arrived at 2 a.m., probably more in response to the fire alarm than to my earlier call. The crowd was dispersed within 15 to 20 minutes, and everything was relatively calm again by 3 a.m.

As a resident of Alumni Square, I am both upset and angered by this incident. It was preventable, and the responsibility is on DPS to ensure that all campus residents are safe. Their role is to enforce community standards, enhance campus security and prevent confrontations or disturbances involving students.

Until now I had been satisfied with the safety conditions on campus and reassured by the visible DPS presence, particularly of the car at the front gates. Therefore it is ironic that it was that very car that some of the “partiers” were sitting on that night, without an officer in sight. No more security, particularly when my neighbors and I needed it.

The DPS officers have always been courteous and helpful in the past when I have needed assistance, but the event of this past weekend has not only made me lose faith in campus security, but also frightened me. I do not feel safe, despite the security precautions and lock restrictions for Village B. I find it further disturbing that the mob invaded a special living community – the Muslim Interest Living.

This is unacceptable. No student should have to worry about such a threat to their safety during their four years on campus. I will not overlook it as an exception – it could have happened during any of the past three weeks students have returned to school. This particular incident was unique in that it got out of control for no other reason than that DPS was not present to prevent it from getting to that point. Large groups of intoxicated people that do not attend the school and do not live in Village B will not have respect for the residents. DPS should be there to preserve such a respect for every individual.

Sofia Khilji is a junior in the School of Foreign Service.

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