Administration to barricade Copley Lawn on Georgetown Day

Friday is not Georgetown Day. On Friday, there will be free food and drinks, an awards ceremony, and performances by various student groups, but it will not be Georgetown Day.

In an email to the student body that would make Orwell proud, the “Georgetown Day Planning Committee” announced that Copley Lawn will be barricaded on Friday. No liquids will be allowed to pass through the metal barriers, which will be monitored by the fun police hired security guards, DPS officers, University administrators, and student volunteers. Presumably the barricades are to keep fun in, not out.

While Coca-Cola is a sponsor of the event, that doesn’t mean you’re allowed to bring their products onto Copley Lawn. Woe betide anyone who attempts to drink a carbonated beverage on Copley Lawn Friday afternoon. The Committee also gleefully warned that anyone who attempts to climb over a metal barricade to access Copley Lawn will receive a citation from the fun police.

While the “all-student planning committee” sent the email, this group has existed for less than a month, and the email itself was sent from The Division of Student Affairs’ email address. It was the head of Student Affairs, Jeanne Lord, who expressed concern in March about the transformation of “a celebration of the campus community” into “a celebration by…the student community.” Students can celebrate the end of the school year, but only in University-approved ways. Even if the University has approved of the standard Georgetown Day celebrations for several years, they’re not going to fly this year.

The metal barricades and the University’s recent decision to eliminate the fun parts of Georgetown Day notwithstanding, the Committee insists this year’s celebrations will be the “best ever!” and the “best yet!”

Our ultimate aim is to celebrate Georgetown – its ideals, values, institutions, its teachers, staff and students.

Until this year, Georgetown Day did celebrate Georgetown. At the end of a long year, community members came together to have fun and celebrate their accomplishments over the previous two semesters. When GAAP weekends have coincided with Georgetown Day, potential students were attracted, not put off, by the carnival-like atmosphere.

Originally a memorial celebration launched by students after the death of David Shick (MSB ’01), who was killed in an altercation with a fellow student, Georgetown Day has transformed over the past decade into what it has been for the last several years, with the administration’s acceptance. If the administration would like to return Georgetown Day to its roots, then it must face its own demons.

This year’s Georgetown Day will celebrate the other side of Georgetown: an administration that, except for a few sterling individuals, maintains a fundamental disconnect with the student body. An administration that punished the student found responsible for the assault that led Shick’s death with a 10-page reflection paper and a suspension that was never carried out. An administration that fought Shick’s parents tooth and nail to prevent any information about the “punishment” from becoming public.

On Friday, Hoyas will allowed to be on Copley Lawn, but they will be surrounded by metal barricades, subject to arbitrary inspections, and barred from bringing any liquids into the funclosure. Congratulations, administration, Georgetown Day has successfully been scaled back.

33 Comments on “Administration to barricade Copley Lawn on Georgetown Day

  1. “An administration that fought Shick’s parents tooth and nail to prevent any information about the “punishment” from becoming public.”

    Jackson: For the record, are you in favor of the University publicly disclosing all student disciplinary information? If not, please state where you draw the line between “should be disclosed” and “should not be disclosed.”

  2. In addition to memorializing Shick, Georgetown Day was created (maybe not officially) to replace the former Block Party, which was also ended by the administration.

    I feel very bad for the current students, especially the seniors. However, chances are that something like the Georgetown Day of old will pop up again in the next few years, albeit in slightly diminished form. I have full confidence that Georgetown students will find a way to once again have a good end of the school year party.

  3. From what I understand, the altercation with Shick involved Shick being out of control and inebriated, and the accident that unfortunately killed him was an act of self defense.

  4. Why does georgetown hate its students? Got out just in time.

  5. So whats going on with Healy Lawn then?

  6. The administration and the students who planned this have created a perfect storm for pissing off the neighbors, days before a Zoning Commission meeting on the campus plan. Mild weather, lack of beer garden for seniors, and strict policing of liquids on Copley lawn will inevitably push the lion’s share of drunkenness off campus into Burleith and West Georgetown. Neighbors do not care if you puke on Copley Lawn. They care if you puke on *their* front lawn. The short-sighted policies being enacted are bad for everyone–students, neighbors, and the entire university.

  7. lol I don’t regret my decision at all not to donate to the Senior Class Fund

  8. Also, Jake is right on the money, except that this year chances are Stephen R. Brown and company were going to be heading over to campus to photograph/videotape/otherwise document drunk students regardless. I think the thought process is that this way, at least, the University can credibly claim that it instituted numerous measures to keep things under control, so any wanton drunkenness is not their fault. You can look forward to numerous new entries on Brown’s website and the Georgetown listserv regardless. The Zoning Commission isn’t accepting new submissions from non-parties at this point, and it’s not clear to me that the ANC or CAG would want to pile on more evidence of college students’ fancy toward demon rum.

  9. My favorite part of the email was the university making sure to let everyone know that there’s going to be water on the lawn. Basically, LOL YOU’RE ALL GOING TO BE EVEN MORE HAMMERED THAN USUAL BECAUSE WE’RE NOT LETTING YOU DRINK ON THE LAWN AND YOU’RE GONNA PREGAME… so stay safe and be hydrated, k?

  10. Why don’t students just freeze their beverages of choice before entering the barriers and then wait patiently for the phase transition?

  11. For this entire year, we have worked hard in classrooms, labs, recitations, and meetings. We have volunteered with the underprivileged and served the needy. We have collaborated with faculty and found mentors for life. We have grown as individuals and become better friends, sons, daughters, and Georgetown students. We have prepared ourselves to succeed. And I believe after all of these achievements, we deserve to have an unadulterated celebration of all we have achieved.

    For the past few years, our University officials have appeased neighbors by stifling any form of social outlet in hopes of passing a neutered Campus Plan. They hired 14+ MPD officers this year to patrol the very small off-campus area and the campus. They have limited alcohol consumption, believing students are not responsible enough to control their own alcohol intake with the single keg rule. They have required that parties be registered so that we can be monitored like animals in a zoo when we attempt to blow off the steam built up from weeks of work. They have changed this place from a college campus into a militaristic institution.

    Now, they have stifled our chance to celebrate with rules, regulations, and threats of punishment. Georgetown Day is our day. WE are Georgetown–the administration is only here because WE are. Do you really believe that they should be able to dictate exactly how we are to celebrate? Do you believe that we should be fenced in on Copley Lawn? Do you believe we shouldn’t be trusted with bringing our own beverages onto the lawn? Will you be happy with food and performances on the caged lawn OR do you want to really let go for one day to unwind from the year?

    The decision is yours, but one thing is certain: I won’t let this administration ruin my Georgetown Day. I missed last year’s and fully intend on celebrating this Friday to the FULLEST extent. Take this as an invitation to join me. Stephen Brown be damned.

  12. So they’re trying to get students to hang out on the lawn, fenced in, with no alcohol? How is that appealing in any way? Doesn’t it seem like the strongest message students can send to voice their displeasure about this would be to completely avoid Copley Lawn, and show that unlike the administration’s claim that Georgetown Day is “a celebration of [all] the campus community,” without the students, Georgetown Day simply is not Georgetown Day?

  13. This is totally unacceptable. As a recent alum, hearing this is very disheartening. Georgetown Day is a tradition that should not be changed or at the very least limited to this degree. If Georgetown understood anything about raising money, they would realize that you have to create a personal connection between the person and the school, including fond memories (Who doesn’t want to re-live the glory days after all). What better way than Georgetown Day???

    To the Georgetown administration: you are making a very poor decision. You are creating animosity and negative associations at the END of the school year, sending the class of 2012 off without a proper Georgetown Day. I would be willing to bet you see a statistically significant drop in giving over the next 5 years pulling this stunt.

    To the current Georgetown students: do your best to resist

  14. Let’s get something clear. Georgetown Day is not a right. If you want to argue on the grounds that “M C/O 2011″ or “Jake ’12” did, that it’s in the university’s own best interest to continue the previous atmosphere of Georgetown day, fine. There’s plenty of debate to be had.

    But to argue that the university has an obligation to expend large amounts of resources (in lawn maintenance, planning, and most of all increased safety presence) to allow students, most of them underage, to drink to excess, often skipping class or recitation to do so, is silly. If you truly “have volunteered with the underprivileged and served the needy… collaborated with faculty and found mentors for life” and expect that the ability to drink large amounts of alcohol is your just desert, then you have learned nothing from your Georgetown education.

  15. *dessert… Guess we’re not the only ones who have learned nothing, eh?

  16. No one is saying that Georgetown Day is some kind of sovereign right that we earn for having valuable educational and spiritual experiences. Those are rewards in themselves that teach you valuable lessons about life. In fact, one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned by doing volunteer work and taking classes with Jesuits and world-class faculty is never to take myself too seriously. Which is why I plan to drink beer all day on Friday whether or not there are blow up castles on the front lawn.

  17. **desert. Check your facts before you call someone out. Kind of embarrassing bro, you look pretty dumb now.

  18. Seriously…? Desert = dry region composed primarily of cacti and sand, Dessert = scrumptious and delicious sweets. I promise it’s not that complicated. Here’s a helpful trick: you want more desSert because it’s yummy, so add an extra “s.” Moving on…

  19. “Desert” = the quality or fact of meriting reward or punishment.

    That being said, Doug’s a jackass for thinking that it should be up to the administration to benevolently grant us permission to drink when they see fit.

  20. first of all i think this discussion board is hilarious and secondly i think it is an outrage that we can’t drink in public places, i mean there are so few days of the school year where it’s socially acceptable to be drinking out on the front lawn, georgetown day should totally be a part of that, but for god’s sake, what does the administration think its doing by having us not drink on copley lawn? if this makes one less georgetown student drunk i would be supremely surprised. either way i plan on having more fun than i will be able to remember. also, as a third party, it’s just deserts. Just desserts is the name of a bakery.

  21. As someone who graduated last year and got to celebrate georgetown day all four years, it breaks my heart that the administration took this away from you. My suggestion: pregame and have bbq parties at your friends’ houses off campus on Friday and then on Saturday go drink/revel on copley lawn when all the security measures have been dismantled. That way, the administration will learn that if they try to take things like this away from students, students will fight back and have TWO days of day drinking and fun :)

  22. Jake ’12: You’re missing the point. Drink whenever you want. (As long as it’s legal.) But the ability to do it on University property, with university-provided protection, in a venue that affects the reputation of the university, should be a decision left to the university.

  23. It totally SUCKS that Georgetown Day is dry and that it is being turned into something that can’t possibly be fun. HOWEVER, don’t pretend that a significant number of students won’t get very drunk, loud, sick, unruly, etc. The argument made by students every time there is an alcohol related decision by the University is that they are adults and should be treated like adults. But, they never admit that there will be significant problems caused by an event that includes alcohol. (And, yes, there will be just about the same level of drunkeness and bad behavior without the University providing the alcohol. But, that’s the bad position the University is in. GU has to avoid being the cause, even if the outcome is the same. That’s not an easy position to be in.)

  24. I think we should all recognize that the university is in a tough spot here. That being said, it’s (at least partially) their own damn fault. They “allowed” (and tacitly approved of, but whatever) the tradition of a drunk-as-hell Georgetown Day to be established. For better or worse, Georgetown Day now is ingrained in the minds and memories of alumni and students (especially the older ones) as a day of revelry and awesomeness at least on par with Homecoming. Which the school ain’t doing away with anytime soon.
    On another note, it’s not like Georgetown is the only school with a spring day/weekend. Pretty much everyone has them. And each school deals with those days in different ways (I’m sure somewhere it’s even *gasp* worse than this year looks like it will be), but these “problems” are hardly unique to Georgetown.
    And I think the best argument here is that it’s not in Georgetown’s best interest to curtail this drinking. If it’s taking place on the lawn (as opposed to anywhere else), they can at least oversee it, make sure it doesn’t get *too* outrageous and control for the safety of the people paying $55,000 a year to go here. They can also make sure it doesn’t spill out into the neighborhood too much… which is where all the hateful old people live.

    Anyways, I guess what I’m saying is… STUDY PARTY ON THE ESPLANADE

  25. What really gets me is that Georgetown has not really considered the consequences of their actions. If they were trying to create an incentive to limit drinking or at least encourage safe drinking, they have failed outright.

    Pregaming is outright the most dangerous part of drinking, the concept of putting enough alcohol in your system in one sitting in order for it to last you an entire afternoon encourages students to test their limits so that they need not refill later. When students consumer large amounts of alcohol before they have let it run through their systems and begin to take effect, they are more likely to drink to dangerous levels. I would not be surprised if we saw a rise in instances of students needed GERMS this year.

    Also, the combination of a liquids free lawn, combined with a severe scaling back of events make no sense. If this is truly an event for the community, including faculty and their families, the fact there there are fewer student performances, few student run events and fewer activities in general is just a slap in the face that stinks of Georgetown trying to end the events in the coming years and has nothing to do with the family friendly atmosphere. If they were serious about this, they would be pushing students to contribute their talents and providing activities in order to create ways to celebrate without drinking. They are naive if they think that taking away a beer garden will quell drinking and are really doing more to disengage the nondrinkers(who do in fact exist) and casual drinkers of Georgetown day, while doing nothing to hamper the heaviest drinkers.

    Furthermore, by coming out hard against this event this year, Georgetown in encouraging its students to do what we do best, creatively find solution to policy problems. Georgetown is challenging each and every student to find a way to be drunk on the lawn, whether its pregaming, or sneaking alcohol in, or simply finding other locations that they can be drunk in public. Georgetown is motivating us to try to beat them out of spite of them ruining our fun and while that may not be an admirable way to think about it, I think it is entirely true. This event in the past was a great unifier of the administration and its students because they were willing to look the other way and create an event that we as students could enjoy. Prepare to see an uglier side of Georgetown come Friday.

    One last consequence that I can see having a huge negative effect on Georgetown is a huge exodus to off campus houses for events. Sometime in the last year, Georgetown created a policy that parties could not be registered before 5 PM. This means that our only options are to head out into other people’s communities and ruin their Friday afternoon. There are enough tensions and enough problems between the surrounding communities and students, and the university is having enough problems trying to assuage the surrounding communities so that they can continue to improve and prosper. this is a huge step in the wrong direction. Instead of giving people like Stephen R. Brown an opportunity to come to campus and look for proof of students inebriation, you are putting us all at their doorsteps.

    Get ready for one hell of a mess Degioa.

  26. The point is that students will drink. College students across the country drink. By shaming it and attempting to control it, by cracking down it, they’re jeopardizing student safety. We don’t live in a fantasy world where prohibiting something means that nobody will do it.

    Allow drinking on campus, in public spaces so that RAs, campus authorities, etc can make sure people are safe and not afraid to talk to someone if something bad does happen. Safety first.

  27. haha i can tell you’re a freshman based on your claim that georgetown day is “at least on par with homecoming.” georgetown day is bigger than homecoming.

  28. Actually a senior… but I completely agree (hence the “at least” part). Haven’t exactly polled anyone on it, so didn’t want to speak for everyone. Both days are awesome, although tomorrow looks like it might not be quite as much as it has been in the past.

  29. Whatever, I still sprayed champagne over John Carroll’s statue. Fortune favors the bold.

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