GU Likely to Gain One Seat on Redrawn ANC
Published: Thursday, January 19, 2012
Updated: Friday, January 20, 2012 03:01
The D.C. Council recently redrew the map of the District's Advisory Neighborhood Commissions in a move that could increase Georgetown's representation in the local ANC from one to two seats.
Ten years ago, ANC 2E contained two districts composed primarily of Georgetown students, according to ANC 2E Vice Chair Tom Birch. That second seat was lost during the 2001 redistricting process, when it was reconfigured to include a greater mixture of students and residents.
Today, the majority of Georgetown students are grouped within one single-member voting district, SMD 2E04, a constituency currently represented by ANC commissioner Jake Sticka (COL '13).
The new guidelines, which were delivered in a ruling late last month, create an eighth ANC 2E commissioner position, one Birch says will most likely go to a university student when commissioners are elected in November.
"I think it's quite a given because that new SMD that the new plan creates is almost 100 percent student residents," Birch said.
Birch added that he approves of the new plan because the new boundaries are more equitable and consistent with D.C. regulations, which place the number of residents per single member district at 2,000.
"I think what it does is it attempts to create districts that have some cohesiveness to them but also to adhere as best we can to the target number of residents in each single-member district," he said.
Despite the added seat, some believe that the size of the campus warrants further representation for university students.
Sticka has long advocated a greater number of seats for Georgetown students. The initial redistricting proposal filed by ANC 2E would have created two constituencies with 2,581 students each, which provoked protest from students who complained that the proposal packed too many students into the districts.
Sticka and John Flanagan (SFS '14) put forth an alternative proposal that would have allowed a third seat to be contested between Georgetown students and residents.
While Sticka considers the increase from one to two seats to be a step in the right direction, he expressed disappointment that a third student seat is not a possibility.
"I think that these districts are better than those that were in place in the last 10 years but still not completely equitable. … Considering that each ANC district is roughly 2,000 people in size and that Georgetown has over 6,500 undergraduates in the community, in addition to many graduate students, it strikes me that a plan that would allow for three students to be elected would be equitable and fair," Sticka said.
Alykhan Merali (SFS '13), co-chair for the Georgetown chapter of D.C. Students Speak, also maintains that a third district should have been drawn in a way that would allow Georgetown students to contest the seat.
"Some of the dorms are being separated in a way that would make it impossible for students to get [an additional seat]," he said.
Sticka said that while the second student seat on the ANC is unlikely to bolster Georgetown's position in neighborhood politics, the two elected students will be an important resource to one another.
"I think on a commission of eight it would be overly optimistic to say that a second seat will change the overall dynamic," Sticka said. "But having an additional commissioner will be powerful to both [of the student commissioners]. Knowing that there's someone else on the ANC that will support them, collaborate with them and talk with them about ideas in advance of meetings will be helpful to future commissioners."
Hoya Staff Writer Braden McDonald contributed to this report.