The University enacted a new set of party rules this month that could take the fun out of any campus-dwelling student’s weekend. And what’s more, it seems they timed the release to avoid the predictable student backlash: Making the announcement in the midst of finals, they new students would be too busy to actively oppose it, even as seniors—probably the most knowledgable and invested students at school—are leaving and in time to convince incoming freshmen that this is the way it’s always been. Rest assured that the Voice will be editorializing about and covering this issue heavily next fall; one hopes that prompt action from students and GUSA will result in a more acceptable set of rules, ala this school year’s keg ban debate. While parties may seem silly in light of all the other things students are up to, they’re an important part of the Georgetown experience and one of the few things we actually have some say over. See the letter from Dean of Students Todd Olson and some more commentary after the jump.
May 8, 2007
As you’ll remember, I communicated with you in January about several alcohol policy decisions I had made based on wide discussions within the campus community. These included a restriction on kegs to one per event and an increase in sanctions for alcohol violations, with a third violation generally leading to suspension.
At that time, I also mentioned that we would be discussing issues related to party notification and size guidelines for gatherings. That work is moving forward, and has included substantial student input, both from the position paper submitted by GUSA and discussions with GUSA leaders late last semester, and through meetings with student leaders during this semester. While some details remain to be worked out, I am writing now to inform you of the key changes that will go into effect at the beginning of the 2007 Fall semester.
1. We will require host training for students who want to host parties in campus apartments and townhouses. We’ll provide the training sessions in September, and fully implement this policy on October 1 of this year.
2. We will ask students to notify us of their party plans by 10 a.m. on Thursday – for parties that same weekend.
3. Out of concern for students’ safety, we will limit the number of students in an apartment or townhouse (for parties, other gatherings, or any purpose) to a number between 25 and 35 (based on the size of the apartment or townhouse).
Additionally, we will begin staffing our apartment and townhouse areas with 20 Apartment Resident Assistants beginning in Fall 2007, and believe that this will make those neighborhoods of our campus more welcoming and engaging.
I am grateful to the students, faculty and staff who contributed to the thoughtful discussions about these issues and believe that all of these changes will enable us to maintain a safe, respectful, and responsible social environment for students living in our community in the years ahead.
Vice President for Student Affairs
and Dean of Students
The main problems are the early notification and size limits (I can say from personal experience 35 is truly low for most Georgetown townhouses and apartments); one imagines that host training will be exactly as useful as peer education and other manadatory University training initiatives. The new apartment assistants might be welcome or might not, depending on which students get those jobs. But, as I said, more reporting and a better understanding of how these policies will be enforced will come in the fall. That’s something to look forward to, I suppose.
Posted by Tim Fernholz, Editor-in-Chief