At last Thursday’s special Advisory Neighborhood Commission meeting regarding Georgetown University’s 2010 Campus Plan, D.C. Students Speak—an advocacy group for students in the District—presented a petition to the commissioners in support of the plan.
As Scott Stirrett (SFS ’13) attempted to present the petition, Commissioner Jeff Jones questioned him about how legitimate the signatures for the petition were. He noted that when he had looked at map of the signatures there was an unusual amount of signatures from the same location in Kansas. Update: Commissioner Jake Sticka has informed Vox, and GoPetition has confirmed, that signatures without a listed zip code are classified as being from this location. This creates a credibility issue for these signatures in the petition, but negates Jones’ claim that all of them came from the same location in Kansas.
Stirrett said that although it is possible that this is true, a significant number of the signatures came from the Georgetown area—and included local residents—and many more signatures came in from across the country.
However, the D.C. Students Speak petition is not the only flawed petition in the Campus Plan debate.
The Citizens Association of Georgetown and the Burleith Citizens Association have a petition opposing the plan with 169 signatures as of this post, far less than the 805 signatures in support of the plan. Jennifer Altemus (COL ’88), president of CAG, noted at the meeting that this is not an exact number because they also use handwritten petitions.
Despite the official Campus Plan being filed in late December, the CAG/BCA petition remains the same as when it was created in late June. The petition includes references to the utility plant chimney and the 1789 block, both of which were eliminated in the final draft of the plan.
The D.C. Students Speak petition was created on January 2, a few days after the University officially filed the plan.
It is unclear as to how many signatures on the CAG/BCA petition came before and after the University acquiesced to neighborhood demands about the chimney and 1789 block. Unlike the petition in support of the plan, the CAG/BCA petition only allows the creators of the petition to see the signatures.