The one-keg limit for on-campus parties will be abolished effective today, Vice President for Student Affairs Todd Olson announced last night.

The decision comes just days after the Georgetown University Student Association senate passed a bill calling for the elimination of the keg limit. Olson’s decision seen as an extension of university efforts to encourage on-campus social life as outlined in the 2010 Campus Plan agreement.

“We were working to make sure, in response to the campus plan, we keep the vibrancy of Georgetown social life alive, even if it means keeping it on campus,” GUSA President Nate Tisa (SFS ’14) said. “It will allow on-campus life to be much better.”

In addition to input from GUSA, Olson’s decision to lift the limit was inspired in part by advocacy by the Department of Public Safety, the Georgetown Community Partnership and the Student Life Working Group.

“After hearing from students and other stakeholders, and consulting with colleagues, it seems clear that this is a reasonable and promising approach to bringing the center of student social life back onto campus,” Olson wrote in an email to The Hoya.

The one-keg limit was introduced in 2007 after a student referendum demonstrated overwhelming opposition to the Disciplinary Review Committee’s fall 2006 suggestion of an outright keg ban. The local Advisory Neighborhood Commission 2E also passed a resolution against the proposed keg ban at the time out of concern that it would cause students to move social life off campus.

ANC 2E Chairman Ron Lewis, who remained a significant source of what he has termed the university’s “objectionable impacts” — largely in the form of rowdiness and noise — throughout the campus plan negotiations, stressed that his interests are aligned with those of students on the issue.

“We want the same thing here,” Lewis said. “It’s never been clear to me what the justification for the keg limit was and I applaud the decision to get rid of it.”

GCP Safety and Student Life Working Group member Justin Mercer (COL ’13) said that the elimination of the keg limit would improve neighborhood relations by supporting on-campus social events.

“I think the lifting of the keg ban represents a move by the university to entice students to party on campus,” Mercer said. “It’s trying to bring students on campus and show neighbors that we’re trying to make campus a more residential campus so that students aren’t necessarily partying in the neighborhood but partying on campus.”

Lauralyn Lee, associate vice president for community engagement and strategic initiatives, supported Olson’s decision, but was hesitant to characterize it as a direct means of easing neighborhood relations.

“It’s mostly about satisfying our commitment to make sure on-campus socializing is as good as it can be,” Lee said.

A female student who had a party broken up earlier this month because of the keg limit and spoke on the condition of anonymity because of possible disciplinary repercussions, supported the relaxation of the keg rule.

“I think [the rule] is something that didn’t really make sense to begin with, and it is good to see it lifted,” the student said. “In a lot of ways, it’s a little bit of an arbitrary process because people can consume a lot more alcohol through shots than they can through kegs. It’s just the physical number of kegs … and that makes no sense.”

Tisa speculated that the change would shift DPS officers’ role in controlling on-campus parties.

“Safety is still a very important part of everything,” Tisa said. “I think this is a step in the right direction of having DPS just ensure safety and monitor without breaking up parties unless certain boundaries are crossed.”

According to Tisa, the swift university response to GUSA’s proposal was a testament to Olson’s willingness to engage in open discussion with the student association, especially in anticipation of Georgetown Day next Friday.

The student association also passed a bill calling for treatment of Georgetown Day as a weekend night in terms of disciplinary action. According to Tisa, this fall’s elimination of the party registration system will ensure that parties are allowed on Georgetown Day, whereas in past years, the inability to register a party until 5 p.m. has led to disciplinary consequences. Tisa said expectations for public spaces, including Healy Lawn, would be released in the next week.

“There was a real willingness to talk about this stuff,” Tisa said. “We were explaining the mechanics of beer pong to Dr. Olson and neighborhood representatives, talking in real terms. … There was a real push on the timeline.”

Tisa added that GUSA wishes to evaluate other on-campus party rules, such as outdoor space and quiet hours.

“One of the biggest plusses of having an off-campus house is having a backyard. We want to look at the way we use outdoor space in Village A and Nevils,” Tisa said. “We want to reassess and extend on-campus quiet hours to mirror reality. Bars close at 2 [a.m.], and right now quiet hours start at 2.”

Olson said he would consider further changes but would not discuss any at this time.

 

Hoya Staff Writer Emma Hinchliffe contributed reporting.

LEONEL DE VELEZ/THE HOYA
LEONEL DE VELEZ/THE HOYA

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