University officials announced Wednesday in an e-mail to all students that the Metropolitan Police Department officers have been reauthorized to issue 61D citations to students for excessive noise violations off-campus.

According to the university e-mail, “Anyone who receives a 61D citation will be required to pay a fine, but most importantly, will have an arrest record. This record will appear on employer background checks.”

PD officers have had the ability to issue 61D citations to students since at least 2000. Neither the desk sergeant for the MPD’s Second District nor University Spokesperson Julie Green Bataille knew why the MPD reauthorized the use of these citations this month.

According to the desk sergeant, a 61D citation used to include a $300 fine, which has since been reduced to $50 for the first violation. The citation can be raised to up to $300 for multiple offenses or particularly severe violations of the noise code.

“We don’t have to give you a warning,” he said. “This is an arrest offence. We don’t bring you in handcuffs or anything; we write you the ticket and you have 15 days to pay it.”

These 61D citations can be given out to students breaking D.C. law which defines noise violations as sounds which might disturb others.

According to the Spring 2007 issue of Housing Off the Hilltop, the newsletter for the Office of Off-Campus Housing, “D.C. code prohibits acts which annoy or disturb others, including shouting or making noise outside a building at night. The Noise Control Act prohibits any noise an average citizen would consider unreasonably loud.”

According to the MPD, while noise offences are recorded as arrests, they are not considered criminal. The officer added that students could petition to have their records expunged.

University spokesperson Julie Green Bataille said in an e-mail that the university was not involved in the creation or reauthorization of the MPD noise policy.

“The e-mail sent was meant to inform students what we’ve recently been informed by MPD,” Bataille said. “This policy is not a university one but we want students to be aware of [it] and the implications of it.”

The university e-mail encouraged students to keep noise levels to a minimum both on and off campus.

According to the e-mail, “Whether you live in Burleith or West Georgetown, or are simply walking through the neighborhood, Georgetown students are expected to obey all local laws and ordinances. Failure to do so can result in sanctions from local law enforcement, as well as from the university.”

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