Friendly Reminder: You still can’t park in Georgetown
There is a war on cars in D.C., but only in Georgetown, and only for students.
In a friendly email yesterday, vice president for student affairs/disciplinarian-in-chief Todd Olson officially gave us notice that we can’t park on Georgetown’s campus or on city streets.
“Georgetown University prohibits students from bringing a car to campus, obtaining an on-campus parking pass, and parking a car on neighborhood streets in West Georgetown, Burleith, and Foxhall Village,” Olson wrote. “When you return to campus this fall, please leave your car at home.”
Students knew that the change was coming after neighborhood leaders and top administrators agreed to it in last summer’s resolution on the 2010 campus plan—without student input. Now, a student parking his or her car on neighborhood streets is a violation of the student code of conduct.
In terms of parking, students—otherwise full citizens and, in fact, voters—are subjected to regulations that adults unaffiliated with the University aren’t. Though students can still park in designated rental spaces off-campus, this incident shows how students take a back seat on certain issues.
Even though the University is legally bound by the campus plan, the University didn’t make the change through the Disciplinary Review Committee, as it routinely does. Instead, Olson acted unilaterally in changing the policy.
GUSA summed it up nicely yesterday on Twitter: “The 2010 Campus Plan agreement, signed without students, bans students from having cars and puts them at fault for causing congestion.”
Students, always the scapegoats.
Update, 9:05 pm: Former GUSA Vice President Vail Kohnert-Yount (SFS ’13) tends to agree with Vox and wanted to add a few things:
First, I think this policy is likely in violation of the DC Human Rights Act. Students are a protected class under the D.C. Human Rights Act (see trait #14), and discrimination by educational institutions is prohibited in the District of Columbia.
As a private institution, Georgetown has the right to enact and enforce its own standards of conduct among its community members. … I imagine University policies on underage drinking, illegal drug use, and sexual assault apply to all members of the community and not only students (or at least I hope that’s the case).
However, the parking policy is not applied to all community members. It is only applied to student members of the Georgetown community, which is blatant discrimination based on matriculation status.
She goes on to clarify that, no, street parking is not a human right. Also, while admitting that this issue won’t affect most students, she says it’s a matter of principle: “It alarms me that the university administration is willing to discriminate against its own students to appease an external constituency, not to mention a constituency that has often proved itself to be uncompromising and unreasonable.”
Photo: Jonathan Thorne via Flickr