In response to the contentious campus plan battles raging across the District, neighbors living near American, Georgetown, Howard, Catholic, and George Washington Universities have formed a District-wide group to advocate for neighborhood concerns.
The District-Wide Coalition of University Neighborhoods plans to incorporate as a non-profit advocating for stricter enrollment caps and neighbor-friendly housing policies at these universities.
Foggy Bottom Association president Asher Corson–a freelance political consultant, current ANC 2A Commissioner, and 2007 GW graduate–will help DCUN get on its feet. He attributes the group’s founding to the bitter battle over GW’s plan in 2007 in which neighbors spent $30,000 litigating against the university with little gains to show for it.
“GW really got away like bandits. Literally getting everything they wanted from the city,” Corson told Washington City Paper. “All these other universities saw that. You’re seeing conflict throughout the entire city, basically, because of these precedents that were set from GW.”
The Citizens Association of Georgetown, the Burleith Citizens Association, and the Foggy Bottom Association have all endorsed the new organization. DCUN wasted no time in slamming Georgetown’s Campus Plan.
“The proposed Georgetown campus plan is an example of aggressive University growth that if implemented will diminish the quality of life for the surrounding communities,” read a DCUN statement quoted in The Georgetown Dish.
Besides Corson, DCUN’s leadership includes Jacqueline Meers and ANC 3D Commissioner Nan Wells of Spring Valley (American), former ANC 5A Commissioner Phillip Blair Jr. and his wife Mary Pat Rowan of Brookland (CUA), ANC 1B Commissioner Tony Norman of Pleasant Plains (Howard), and CAG Director Cynthia Pantazis of Georgetown.
A panel of DCUN’s founding members will speak at the Foggy Bottom Citizen’s Association meeting at 7:00pm on Tuesday, April 26 in St. Stephen Martyr Church at 2436 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW.