During the first of the two meetings, the group discussed ways to alleviate off-campus tensions, such as mandatory off-campus party registration and University-facilitated meet-and-greets between students and residents.
According to Fitz Lufkin (COL ’11), who attended the meeting, Olson and Lord reached out to students to discuss relationships between students, residents, and the University.
“[They] wanted to know any ideas about how we could deal with the concerns from the neighborhood while still taking the side of the students, while making sure students weren’t thrown under the bus.” Lufkin said. “Dr. Olson and Dr. Lord steered the conversation towards solutions, not complaints.”
The search for solutions will have a significant impact on the University’s campus plan, which has yet to be filed with the D.C. Zoning Commission. (The University expects to submit the plan later this year.) Residents and University officials have squabbled for months about the specifics of the plan without reaching a compromise.
“Right now, everything is on the table. Are [Olson and Lord] considering a police state? No.” Lufkin said. “They’re looking for solutions that please everyone involved and address students’ concerns.”
Although neither Olson nor Lord did not respond to requests for comments, Director of Media Affairs Andy Pino told Vox that plans are still up in the air.
“Administrators are in conversation with students about a range of possibilities, one of which could be a change to off-campus party registration,” Pino wrote in an email. “At this point, however, there are no definitive plans for specific policy changes or a set time frame.”
The students at the meeting, who responded with “significant, if not unanimous” opposition to the off-campus party registration, also proposed alternate ways to get students involved with the plan.
“Instead of a town hall meeting where 4 or 5 people might show up, we suggested that they go to existing club meetings instead,” Lufkin said. “They seemed pretty amenable to that idea.”
Additional reporting by Holly Tao.