Keep it down: MPD to issue noise citations to Georgetown students

Georgetown’s student body didn’t exactly receive a warm welcome back in their inboxes this Wednesday. In a campuswide email and in typical no-notice style, Georgetown administrators told student that the Metropolitan Police Department “are again authorized—and intend—to issue 61D Citations for excessive noise”—which land for any rowdy students unlucky enough to cross MPD with a fine and an arrest record.

When they say “again authorized,” they mean of course the MPD crackdown that accompanied the administration’s monstrously harsh alcohol policy last September. The crackdown included a flurry of alcohol and noise violation citations. But where did the pressure for MPD to resume handing out noise violations come from?

On the one hand, being hard on students may just be MPD’s style. But recent ANC coverage over at Georgetown Metropolitan reveals that Denise Cunningham, president of the Citizen’s Association of Georgetown and arch-foe of student noise, made an appearance at Tuesday’s ANC meeting to insist against extending some Georgetown bar hours for inauguration. Metropolitan also suggests that our neighbors are getting hotheaded about all the noise we make.

With inauguration bringing the issue of noise into critical focus for our neighbors and police force, perhaps it was an optimal time for them to push for greater sanctions against noise–with results.

8 Comments on “Keep it down: MPD to issue noise citations to Georgetown students

  1. Noise is, should be, and will continue to be, a health issue. Not to mention the increasing prevalence of noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) — in medical and workplace documentation, NIHL is increasingly mentioned — noise is also a concern for those who suffer from hyperacusis. According to Timothy C. Hain, MD., 8% (almost every twelfth person) of the population report hyperacusis (hypersensitivity to noise). And it would seem to me that noise can and should be a concern in the university setting, as study demands concentration and thus much of the student population would seem to benefit from enforcement of noise at the university and its surroundings. Plus, according to the 2007 article, the MPD has stated that “the unprecedented number of complaints from neighborhood residents merits the change in policy.”

    As to whether students should be arrested and the severity of the penalties, I would think that it best be explored on a case-by-case basis. I have not seen actual police reports with respect to students and the MPD. (And I suspect no one is allowed to make them public.)

  2. As for police reports, sections of incident reports actually are matters of public record in the District. My guess is MPD doesn’t file them under aggravated hyperacusis. The typical neighbor objection is “it’s three a.m.”

    And I’m not sure I can agree with you when you talk about study settings. MPD will be writing up violations off campus–not where the bulk of students do their studying.

  3. I’m sure they have looked at the data and it’s not just one guy who’s complaining, and this has given the MPD reason to stringently enforce the noise codes. Again, according to the 2007 article, the MPD has stated that “the unprecedented number of complaints from neighborhood residents merits the change in policy.”

    “The policy is putting Georgetown students through a horrible risk,” Joye said. “One moment I was standing next to a crackhead, and another moment I was sitting next to a homeless man in one of the cells.” With all due respect to him, isn’t there something wrong here: how did he find himself standing next to a crackhead? (Just a thought.)

    You asked, “But where did the pressure for MPD to resume handing out noise violations come from?” I would answer: regardless of any pressure, or exactly who the pressure is coming from, why should that in and of itself preclude law enforcement from enforcing the law?

  4. Fair point. However, asking where the pressure comes to enforce the law harshly from isn’t about questioning the legitimacy of law enforcement enforcing the law. If a student finds himself in a holding cell with shifty characters, I think it’s entirely fair for him to wonder who among his community felt that was an apt ramification for him to have to face for having left his apartment with a beer on a Saturday night.
    On that, I think that any community members who are satisfied with the direction in which MPD is moving need to reconsider whether an arrest record, which can compromise a student’s future, is an appropriate consequence for loud talking.

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