Charles Nailen/The Hoya ANC2E Commissioner Justin Wagner and Junior Class Representative Trey Street address the D.C. MUSA meeting Wednesday.

Representing over 55, 000 students throughout the District, student leaders voiced support for the Student Bill of Rights passed by the Advisory Neighborhood Commission at a meeting in the Leavey Center Wednesday.

In order to draw additional attention to the issue of student discrimination, the D.C. Metro Students Alliance also agreed to support a letter to D.C. Mayor Anthony Williams that opposes recent Board of Zoning Adjustment rulings that limit the number of students residing in the District.

The letter cites recent BZA rulings that limit the number of college students residing in the district, claiming they create “conditions that egregiously violate our fundamental rights to live in the community.”

Junior Class Representative Marty LaFalce (COL ’03), who presented MUSA with the letter, said the rulings have violated the D.C. Human Rights Act, which states, “every individual shall have an equal opportunity to participate fully in the economic, cultural and intellectual life of the District and to have an equal opportunity to participate in all aspects of life.”

Also included in the BZA rulings were ideas to help disseminate student information to police and neighborhood councils which would address issues of neighborhood violations.

Organizers said the role of MUSA is to address the positive role that students play in D.C. They claim students are integral to the diverse community by enriching the area culturally. Students throughout the District also organize and volunteer at over 400 educational enrichment programs at public and private schools in the area. Overall, members of DC MUSA said they want to improve university-neighborhood relationships through the city by opening discussion that would lead to cooperation and mutual respect between the two parties.

At the meeting, leaders also reported on their school’s responses to the Sept.11 attacks All the schools in attendance expressed grief felt on their campuses by students and faculty alike.

Students said each school did what it could to help with relief efforts. Most schools held blood drives and collected donations to the Red Cross. Each university also worked to boost the morale of their student body by quickly holding prayer services and vigils, and later organizing movie showings and intramural sporting events in order to unite the student body.

GUSA President Ryan DuBose (COL ’02) spoke of the strong sense of community he felt at Georgetown in student and faculty responses to the events of Sept. 11.

He mentioned the sight of students and faculty gathering in front of Healy for the bell toll, of students wearing yellow ribbons and of the more than $3,000 raised for the Red Cross at events which brought the campus together.

“I have never been prouder to be a part of Georgetown University than I was [during the week after the attacks],” DuBose said.

George Washington University Student Body President Roger Kapoor spoke about students who were concerned with the proximity of campus buildings close to the White House.

He said the International Monetary Fund/World Bank meetings, which were later canceled, also proved to be challenge. The campus had been scheduled to close down last weekend but chose to remain open in response to students’ travel plans. GWU also received bomb threats, as did American University.

Both later turned out to be prank calls from students.

MUSA proposed fundraisers, including a charity ball or concert to be held later in the year, to benefit the Red Cross.

American University Student Body President Ken Biberaj also suggested a MUSA-sponsored scholarship for students who demonstrated excellence in leadership and community involvement.

DuBose brought up the topic of lobbying the federal government for tax-free textbooks. The idea came about in response to legislation passed in California and in New York that allows students to pay for textbooks without paying taxes.

The MUSA meeting concluded with an agreement to aid and support the University of Maryland as its recovers from tornado damage if the need arises.

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

Comments are closed.