GUSA passes resolution against amended noise law

In Sunday afternoon’s Georgetown University Student Association senate meeting, the senators unanimously passed a resolution regarding the recent amendment to the District’s noise ordinance.

Introduced by GUSA Speaker Adam Mortillaro (COL ’12) and four other senators, the resolution condemns the law for “instituting unnecessary and unreasonably harsh sanctions for an infraction with an ambiguous standard of behavior.”

In addition, the resolution calls for GUSA to formally submit a letter of protest to the D.C. City Council requesting them to review their decision. GUSA will also request a clarification from the Metropolitan Police Department on its standards of enforcement.

Although not specifically cited in the resolution, GUSA has reached out to the American Civil Liberties Union. The ACLU is currently reviewing the case.

Steve Block, the recently retired legislative director for the ACLU in D.C., was a part of amending the law, submitting testimony and multiple letters. While Block supported revising the District’s disorderly conduct law, he objected to the proposed statute regarding nighttime noise.

Update: GUSA will hold a town hall regarding the law on Thursday at 6 p.m. in Healy Hall.

Full text of the resolution:

Introduced by: Senator Adam Mortillaro, Senator Greg Laverriere, Senator Colton

Malkerson, Senator Marissa Brogger, and Senator Sandy Glassberg

Georgetown University Student Association

In the school year 2010-2011

A RESOLUTION against the “Disorderly Conduct Amendment Act of 2010.”

WHEREAS, the GUSA Senate recognizes the Metropolitan Police Department as an important institution that protects students and residents of the District of Columbia and must take reasonable action in fulfilling this mission.

WHEREAS, Article 1, Section 7 of the GUSA Constitution mandates that the Senate “secure the protection of student rights, interests, and free expression”


CONDEMNS the Disorderly Conduct Amendment Act of 2010 for instituting unnecessary and unreasonably harsh sanctions for an infraction with an ambiguous standard of behavior.

EXPRESSES its belief that this new law is grossly unfair to students engaging in responsible social interaction as a part of the college experience

EXPRESSES its belief that this new law is unjustly intended to target college students in the District of Columbia.

RESOLVES to formally submit a letter of protest on behalf of the GUSA Senate to the District of Columbia City Council requesting a review of the law, requesting a clarification from the Metropolitan Police Department regarding its own standards for the enforcement of the law.

RESOLVES to take any possible legal action to challenge and overturn the act.

36 Comments on “GUSA passes resolution against amended noise law

  1. What we have here is a failure to communicate. Be quiet and behave, pick-up your garbage and don’t piss on the lawn. If you don’t start no trouble there won’t be no trouble.

  2. @Beltway Greg



    PS How the fuck am I supposed to do an umlaut in ReCaptcha?

  3. @Beltway Greg: Don’t you have better things to do than troll student media?

    I’ll also point out that individuals like Jack Evans don’t agree with you. He recently said even when students are well-behaved, they are not a welcome presence in the community.

  4. Sure, if you stop pissing on lawns and acting like a drunken fool the GU administration, the police, and yes, even Beltway Greg will go elsewhere. If you were in the military do you think your commanding officer would put up with your immature antics?

  5. @Beltway Greg,

    Oh, let’s play the “If you were in the military” game!

    If you were in the military, do you think anyone would give a flying fuck about what noises might “annoy” you?

    I wouldn’t suggest you call Metro on the officer shouting in your ear to drop and give him fifty. I don’t think he’d take kindly to it.

  6. And so continues the problem of painting with broad strokes….

    Anyways I think the real problems here, which seem to be addressed in the GUSA resolution, are the ambiguity of the new amendment and the disproportional aspect of the consequences. Does loud noise really merit potential jailtime? I don’t think anyone would agree to that. And although I can’t admit to being totally aware of all the specifics of the new amendment, from what I do understand there’s very little clarity as to how MPD will decide whether or not to enforce it. As it stands now, I don’t think there is any kind of warning system or wiggle room for one time offenders. When it comes to something as trivial and non-criminal as noise, there should be a more fair system of punishment in place

  7. Thing is…none of us are in the military. I’m not sure I see the relevance.

  8. Also, Greg – if you are suggesting that neighbors are the commanding officers of anything other than lawn furniture you are sadly mistaken.

  9. Yes, if you were in the military and you walked around the company area pissing on the deck and keeping your fellow Soldiers/Marines/Airmen/Navy awake after a certain time you would be brought up on office hours or perhaps your fellow service members would make sure you stayed in-line. After all they police the area and take pride in their surroundings. “Some” college students, on the other hand, walk around looking like dirt bags and could care less about their surroundings. Fact is, many have no discipline or true pride in what you’re doing. Some of you do but a great number of you woke-up one day and you were in college. Why? You’re not sure. Ennui is the order of the day. If this isn’t you, fine. No doubt you do the right thing. The rest play little semantic games. “Does loud noise merit jail time.” If the noise continues it shows a certain lack of respect for order. If someone came into your community when you were a kid your parents would’ve done the exact same thing.

  10. @Greg

    I would argue that the vast, vast majority of the student body acts exceedingly respectful towards residents whom we share this community with. Keep in mind, Greg, that Georgetown University students account for the majority of the population of West Georgetown, and the vast majority of the actual area in question. You may think that you have the majority opinion, and you may think you are the \reasonable’ one, but you may be mistaken.

    There is nothing wrong with having a minority opinion, but eventually in democracy, the majority opinion will prevail. In this case, it would be little surprise if the ordinance was revoked purely based on majority opposition. Careful, Greg, with the sweeping generalizations and ad hominem arguments… it may sound like you are proving a point, but really you are just making yourself look unintelligent. (When you imply that the majority of students are determential the community on a University publication, you are lucky that I leave it at that)

    And I do own a home in Georgetown, and I can attest that the majority of West Georgetown residents, which includes most university students, oppose this amendment, and I am confident that we can revoke it.

  11. Typical GUSA, approve a resolution no one will read and hold a meeting no one will attend. If you want to be useful, use all that new money from SAFE reform to sound proof the Universities townhouses.

  12. @David. I agree that the vast majority of the student body acts respectfully towards the citizens of Georgetown and so it falls upon their shoulders to ensure that the others do not act in such a manner as to involve the others in these nebulous legislative
    charades. West Georgetown/Burleith is becoming a student ghetto and property values are negatively impacted. If the students were banned from the area property values will rise. As it stands absentee landlords allow their properties to fall into disrepair. Disrepair that has occasionally resulted in the death of students. You need to go back to your history professor and ask for some examples of moments in history when the desires of the majority were ignored because they simply were wrong. School desegregation? A couple of years ago on 35th St. a group of Georgetown students tried to circumnavigate the laws of the District by declaring themselves a religious order. Anyway, care to take a tour of the tons of garbage that will be discarded improperly next May when school ends? Personally, I think you’re BSing me in regard to home ownership unless of course you are indeed
    one of those absentee landlords.

  13. @Greg

    Any credibility you had was completely lost by the statement \property values will rise\ when 90 percent of the demand is \banned\ from buying homes. Look at the facts, Greg. Homes around the University are sold at a 200 percent premium, and more so as you get closer to the University. I experienced this fact first hand when buying my home last year. If students were all of a sudden \banned\ as you suggest, my home value would drop a 200 percent overnight.

    I think you are BSing me that you have been able to earn enough to afford a house in Gtown with the level of intelligence that you are exhibiting on this forum. I really hope that you are some student here that just likes to oppose the majority, because I can’t believe that you own a home given your lack of knowledge for basic economics that you have put on display here.

    And the fact that you suggest that students should discourage others to pursue legislative action is downright cowardly, and serves as quite a signal that even you question the amended law.

    I am profoundly more terrified that my home value will decrease because of the actions of a small minority of outspoke residents like yourself than even the most rowdy of students.


  14. @ Greg,

    “If someone came into your community when you were a kid your parents would’ve done the exact same thing.”

    I totally agree. Georgetown, founded 1789. Welcome to our community. Shut up, or get the f— out.

  15. @beltway greg,

    what military are you in that has “office hours”? Also, if you know anything about the military, leaders spend 90% of their time on 10% of their people who cause trouble. What is happening here could similarly be ascribed to a small population of students making noise or trash. I guaranteed you, any officer that is worth their pay grade does not punish the collective community without inspiring ire among all of his/her subordinates. Also, soldiers regularly make a rucous.

    If you want to talk about taking pride in your area and policing it up, look at your back alley and the disrepair it is in. Then look at the weeds you have growing in your front yard instead of actual grass. Then look at the ridiculous house extensions on the rowhomes with shingle sidings contrasted with the original brick construction. Then look at your neighbors who paint their houses all sorts of eye sore colors. If you want to live in a quiet truly village like area of DC, move to Kent or Spring Valley. I guarantee you that the “adults” who live in upper NW do not have similar complaints.

    This whole dispute would make for an excellent episode of South Park.

  16. @David, you’re serious correct? “Homes around the University are sold at a 200 percent premium?” To what a house in Hyattsville?
    “If students were all of a sudden banned your home value would drop 200% overnight?” So if your home is worth 800K it would be worth -800K assuming that a 100% drop would take it to zero “overnight.” Look, I bought my first property in 1991, still have it, and I currently own four homes. Two in DC and two in other areas of the country. I’ve owned homes/property outside of the US but that simply became too much trouble and I also own commercial property. Somehow having the students around keeps home values up? You could make the argument that having an extreme number of rentals limits the potential number of homes that could be sold but even that is an illusion. Overall, areas with a large number of renter vs. owner occupied housing depresses home values. Try to buy a condo in a building that has less than 50% owner occupied units. You can’t get financing. Sorry, moving all of the students onto campus would increase property values. Many of the houses and apartment buildings which are student occupied have fallen into disrepair.

  17. Ladies and gentleman of the jury, I have a real estate mogul who states that his property will decline in value by 200% if students are prohibited from living off-campus and I have a “frmr officer” who ignores a crime if it is perpetrated by less than 10% of the population. If you follow former GE Chairman Jack Welch’s advice you do something to modify the behavior of that 10%.

    Nevertheless, my original plan of action? If you can’t drink responsibly don’t. If you find yourself abusing others or destroying property you obviously have a problem with alcohol and as such should not consume it. I don’t care if you’re 18, 80, or live on campus or on the moon. Alcohol has destroyed countless marriages, lives, and organizations. So if you find yourself getting shitfaced and waking up in your own vomit or with someone you don’t know check yourself before you wreck yourself. Peace.

    I rest my face.

  18. On the subject of noise, as that was what this post was originally about: Last Friday night, a cop came to my friend’s house on 35th & T when she was sitting with her five housemates, eating pizza. Nobody else was in the house, and they weren’t having a party. At a meeting with Off-Campus Student Life to discuss whether or not they were going to have disorderly conduct charges filed against them for… eating pizza… they found out that the reason the cop was called in the first place was because a Burleith neighbor called the cops when the PIZZA DELIVERY MAN KNOCKED TOO LOUDLY.

    So, in the spirit of Beltway Greg and Proud Burleither, allow me to generalize about every Burleith neighbor: you’re all inane, reactionary, unhappy people who waste the time and resources of MPD on episodes like that and don’t want 22 year olds eating pizza on a Friday night. Generalization: made.

  19. Love the ALLCAPS response. Just shows that these kids are a bunch of entitled brats.

    Since their parents nor the Jesuits taught them how to be good guests, we are forced to enforce the rules of pubilc behavior upon them. Just wish we could use the Jesuits means of coropral punishment on these weasels.

    Remember, kiddies, you are visitors in our home.

    Behave, or be gone.

  20. Wow John Carroll is way creepier than I would have imagined

  21. I apologize for that outburst, sometimes my mouth says foolish and ignorant things that are obviously at odds with the Jesuit ideals I hold dear.
    Also, I’m a little bit perplexed as to how I know about ALLCAPS considering I’m from the 18/19th century.

  22. @John Carroll

    Wow, was that a response to my way long back comment because a quick lookup shows that I’m the only capslock fiend? #1 It was not in all caps, just the semi-satirical portion (damn do I really have to explain this?) #2 You’re calling me an entitled brat and then saying that I should be whipped or something? Damn, your perceptive abilities are off the charts since my minimal use of caps lock has allowed you to peek into my soul. What else did my anonymous comment tell you? Did my use of periods show you that I’m a sexual deviant as well? I’m not going to defend my credentials as a non “entitled brat” but I put myself more along the white trash spectrum of things which might be the opposite.

    And on your last note, I am a renter in my own home. I am not a visitor in your home. I am laying on my bed in MY HOME. That’s right, I am a legal resident of a house in Burleith. My name is on the lease, my financial aid dollars are keeping some former resident rich through exorbitant rent, and I take responsibility for what happens in my home. I am not in your home, I am not a visitor, I am a resident and there is nothing that will alter that in the short term future. Whether or not I plan to live further in a neighborhood full of “entitled geriatrics” has no bearing on my status as a resident at the present. Get your vocabulary right and don’t you dare think the Jesuits would be on the side of rich white people who have no cares community, solidarity, or being good neighbors but just care about their property values or the fact that *gasp* some minority or poor or otherwise “not Georgetown (neighborhood) quality” student is living next to them. Remember, you’re a visitor on our blog, try to show some intelligence or be gone.


  23. @Rex, that was some strong retort. You’ve got him shaking in his Birkenstocks.

  24. Unbelievable. The ridiculous lack of self-awareness individuals like Beltway Greg show is unfathomable.

  25. @John Carroll — Again with the generalizations! I’m just going to move past the fact that you made the generalizations based on punctuation, which Rex has already kindly pointed out how idiotic that is.

    More importantly, when are people going to stop taking one response, or one person’s behavior, and take it to refer to everyone? Even 5 people’s behaviors — even 20! You’re still looking at such a minute portion of the population and you’re making slanderous, terrible generalizations from it. Even if 500 kids were pissing you off nightly (and I’m pretty confident that they aren’t), then that’s 8.3% of the overall undergraduate student body. So you write off the other 91.7%? You (not your next door neighbor, not Burleith as a whole, but YOU) disgust me.

  26. Your responses are merely an affirmation about (some) G’town students being entitled brats.

    You kids got all the answers – except for your indefensible acts of uncivilized behavior.

    Keep it coming. You really are living up to that Jesuit ideal, and really furthering your cause.

  27. Can I just point out that nobody in this thread is saying anything new/worthwhile/interesting?

  28. @ John Carroll

    You seem to be aiming your disgust at “kids” implying that they are under the adult age. If that is the case, it seems rather strange that you continue to insult and borderline threaten these “kids” because that is coming awfully close to something Chris Hansen would want to know about… (of Dateline NBC) it’s weird enough that you are posting on a University publication for the undisputed purpose of attacking the actual PEOPLE holding opposing point of view, not the point of view itself.

    For being such a supporter of insane laws that seem to lock people up for just about anything, I would think you would be more careful about this kind of behavior. Good thing you didn’t post your full name… oh wait. Keep it civil from now on, John, for everyone’s sake.


  29. And even if John is directing these assaults (see: Behave, or be gone) at adults, it is even more absurd because even he has admitted that students here have the financial means to bring about actions at law… he seems to forget that there are 1,000 Georgetown law students living in this area that are quivering with excitement as John continues to dig himself into a legal hole.

  30. What I want to know is what exactly Rex McGraw was doing when he was “I am laying on my bed,” online at 12:47 in the afternoon?


  31. @ Ignatius,

    The same thing you were doing while posting on a student blog at 8:54 in the evening. Jerking off . . . figuratively, of course.

    Don’t all of you pathetic neighbors have a family or anything better to do?

  32. I should have steered away from this blog when the Washington Post link to it read:

    “In a first step toward absolutely nothing, the Georgetown University Student Association votes to oppose the new noise law.”

    Good luck kiddies – all you got is a buncha noise. You kids got all the answers – except for your indefensible acts of uncivilized behavior/not “for just about anything:”: namecalling; litigious threats of how your daddy’s money will bankrole your adversaries into submission a laa Dan Snyder; that GU Law Cener students even know you exist; a presumption that a writer who lives around here is not a minority; and in David’s case, a role Chris Hansen fantasy that not even Rex would dream about in his stupor of afternoon delight.

    Keep it down. Your noise is okay here, but against the law in our neighborhood. You’re right, this crowd ain’t worth hangin with – Buh-bye.

  33. I don’t know what we’re yelling about!

    I love lamp.

  34. Pingback: Vox Populi » Students launch, distribute lawn signs

  35. Pingback: Vox Populi » Prefrosh Preview: Off-campus news you can use

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