Lawn Barricades Nixed Following Public Outcry
Published: Thursday, April 26, 2012
Updated: Friday, August 3, 2012 00:08
In a last-minute decision, the Georgetown Day Planning Committee announced Thursday night that Copley Lawn will not be barricaded during today’s Georgetown Day festivities.
The announcement, dubbed by the planning committee the “Copley Compromise,” came in response to widespread student backlash about the plan to cordon off the lawn. A Facebook event created Wednesday night in light of the proposed barricades urged students to gather in protest at Leavey Esplanade on Georgetown Day and had over 1,600 confirmed attendees on Facebook as of late Thursday night.
The planning committee voiced students’ concerns regarding the barricades during a scheduled meeting with university administrators Thursday afternoon, according to Georgetown Day Planning Committee member Greg Laverriere (COL ’12).
“Ultimately, the group came to the conclusion that it was best to reorganize the day by removing the barricades,” Laverriere said.
According to an email sent to students late Monday night, the original security plan involved the enclosure of the Copley Lawn activity area with metal barricades so that Department of Public Safety officers, hired security guards, university administrators and student volunteers could ensure that no outside liquids would be brought into the space.
“I think it’s a situation where students work constructively with administrators to get a change done,” Laverriere said. “I think over the past few weeks, there’s been a lot of misinformation circulating, and it’s important to remember that without the planning committee, the day would not be held.”
Despite the change, alcoholic beverages are still not permitted in public parts of campus, and students found to be in possession of alcohol will be required to either assist with cleanup or pay a $75 fine, a number that has increased by $25 from last year.
In an email sent Wednesday night to the senior class, Senior Class Committee Chair Chris Butterfield (MSB ’12) addressed the altered characteristics of this year’s Georgetown Day.
According to Butterfield, changes were implemented because of several offenses committed by students during last year’s festivities. Individual students toppled a Port-O-John, punched a security officer and threw full beer cans.
“As a student community, we have to address these incidents; they are a part of our behavior we have to own,” he wrote.
Butterfield emphasized the importance of community and students’ responsibility to respect how their peers choose to spend their day.
“Whatever it might be, I feel the emphasis should be that we’re all together on that day,” he wrote.
Former Georgetown University Student Association President Mike Meaney (SFS ’12), who was also a member of the planning committee, urged students to recognize the committee’s efforts despite ongoing dissatisfaction with particular aspects of the day.
“I think the portrayal by certain students of the planning committee has been remarkably unfair and quite petty,” Meaney said. “I don’t think there has been ample recognition of the hard work these people did given [the event’s] complicated past, and I think the Georgetown student body is better off for all the work these students did.”