Jennifer Altemus bashes virulent Vox comments in the Current

I hope you’re happy, students of Georgetown. Because remember that string of posts we ran a while back, about how the Citizens Association of Georgetown, led by President Jennifer Altemus (COL ’88), was raising funds to defeat portions of the 2010 Campus Plan? And how neighborhood blogger Carol Joynt thought Georgetown was too good for D.C., and should secede? And how Philly Pizza had been shut down? And then you guys were all like, “What?? These neighbors are so crazy!!” and one of you left Altemus’s home address in the comments section?

Well, thanks to that, you’ve gained yourself notoriety in the pages of the Georgetown Current, which recently ran a story about the fight that’s heating up around the 2010 Campus Plan (pdf, page 7). When interviewed for the piece, Altemus took the opportunity to point out that when students get riled up about town-gown issues, you are not very nice. From the Current:

“Over the hours of community meetings, the tone of conversations between residents and university officials has been fairly civil, with some exceptions. But online opinions went quickly negative after university news blog ‘Vox Populi’ covered the fundraising campaign.

‘I don’t know why they have to get so personal,’ Altemus said of largely student-written comments, which included, along with epithets, her e-mail address, Facebook page and — at one point — her home address, which an editor later removed.

‘I wonder if they even know what’s in the plan,’ said Altemus.”

Altemus has a good point, because neighborhood residents are never, never mean and nasty when they respond to our blog posts, right?

While a student might say something like, “Jennifer Altemus deserves every bad thing that ever happens to her in her life,” a Georgetown resident would never dream of saying:

“LOL! Protest? Please! You white trash kiddos can’t even find the address unless it smells of horse manure.
Let’s see how many present and future losers will show up. Wanna bet?”

or this:

“Your contribution to the neighborhood is negative and you don’t pay taxes. You are just a nuisance that needs to be controlled.”

or this:

“Just because some of us choose to live in Georgetown, doesn’t mean that we should give up the neighborhood to bratty ass GU students who think they can: 1) park anywhere they want, i.e., blocking private driveways, 2) urinate AND/OR vomit on people’s property, 3) sit on top of other people’s parked cars and 4) throw parties on side streets any given night till 3am. Oh yes and don’t forget all the trash that’s left on doorsteps and sidewalks because some of you can’t possibly be bothered to put your trash in the garbage cans ….

The only people who are responsible for Philly getting shut down are the people who caused it to be a neighborhood nuisance. You know who you are. So stop whining and just STFU.”

No, they are far too well-mannered.

Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner Aaron Golds (COL ’11) came to bat for us. He pointed out to the Current that while “disrespectful comments” fail to “foster a dialogue” that is helpful to anyone, neighbors have gotten negative in the comments section, too. Oh, and that the CAG Vice President recently told a Georgetown alum to “fuck off” in an e-mail exchange.

I know what you are, but what am I?

19 Comments on “Jennifer Altemus bashes virulent Vox comments in the Current

  1. I do know what’s in the plan, and I know what the neighbors’ responses have been. I am well-informed, and for that reason, I do strongly and personally dislike Jennifer Altemus. She is selling out her alma mater, its growth, and its student body for the good of her snobby, self-centered, irrational cohorts who dominate these superfluous neighborhood organizations.

    If Ms. Altemus would like to speak in person, I would be more than happy to provide her with my information and let her know exactly what’s wrong with her and those of her ilk. She seems to enjoy spending a lot of her time complaining about students. Here is where we get to complain about her.

    And as an olive branch, I will even add that as a young alum, I do understand that adults in the neighborhood want certain behaviors to stop. Sure, vandalism is ridiculous. Pissing on people’s homes, fences, etc. is out of line. Excessive and repeated loudness on weeknights or too often on weekends should be toned down and reasonable.

    But where do the neighbors come off saying “These are our streets. You can’t park here.”?! On what planet do neighbors have a right to call the police about a noisy barbecue at 5:00 on a Saturday? Since when did civility become a one-way street where students are expected to bend over for the neighbors, but the neighbors can’t make a simple “Hey, would you guys mind keeping it down” phone call?

    Jennifer Altemus is clearly either a bad person or she just chooses to present herself that way to the University community. Either way, she deserves what she gets in this forum and any other.

  2. and i will NOT moderate my tone.

  3. Okay, this post is just asking for trouble. Escalating things to a rhetorical pissing contest will not make anyone better off. Believe me, I think the neighbors’ attitudes are as irresponsible and destructive as anyone, but pointing fingers about who’s slinging the most mud is a contest nobody wins.

    And as a side note, I really have to say I’m fed up with each side taking the most extreme positions of the others as representative. There are plenty of Georgetown students who are perfectly good neighbors, not being too loud, picking up trash, and not engaging in public urination. I’m fed up with the fact that I have to be penalized for people who are. But we need to extend the same courtesy to the neighbors. Jennifer Altemus is not representative, and parading her around as an example of bad behavior is just as much an insult to the neighborhood as what they’re doing to us.

    Battle all you want over the moral high ground. Both sides have lost it at this point.

  4. @ Doug,
    I agree with the fact that Altemus is not representative of the neighbors generally. When I said “her snobby, self-centered, irrational cohorts who dominate these superfluous neighborhood organizations,” I should have added that those people make up a minority of the neighbors—probably a small minority. It’s just a shame that they’re also the vocal and active ones. They’re like primary voters.

    I’m sure they would say that those of us who come on here and blast off our opinions are extreme on the other side. But we’ve shown that we’re not. I think there are many concessions the school and students should make to the neighbors. But the crazy neighbors seem to want more and more and more, seemingly with the goal of strangling the University into submission.

  5. Doug, you’re right that you can’t take the most extreme positions of either side as representative of the entire group. But Altemus is president of the Citizens Association of Georgetown, which means the other members of CAG must not consider her a fringe figure.

  6. Just wanna say thanks to Molly for keeping it real. Most students who get highly-visible jobs here (GUSA senators, SAC commissioners, the ANC student representatives, The Hoya in general, etc.) turn pussy when faced with standing up to Gtown neighborhood groups and administrators. Too often they turn their backs on the students they’re supposed to represent and stand up for; like Benedict Arnold they sell themselves to authority members for pats on the back and networking opportunities. I can’t stand these people.

    But thus far Molly has been able to keep her priorities in check and know that the students are the ones who butter her bread, even if as the masses we can’t really offer her anything. She knows she’s supposed to have our back. And for that I think she should be applauded.

  7. If Altemus really wants “dialogue” with the students, then how about she ask GU to host an on-campus event DURING THE DAY where both students and neighbors can discuss what each side needs/wants/gripes, etc., rather than only do it with the university administration?

    Maybe then we could remind her that the GUTS buses don’t run because the students need them, but because the faculty and staff do.

  8. If Jennifer Altemus wants to have a real, reasoned, fair conversation with students and the University, I don’t know of anyone who is unwilling to have it. But if she wants to try and talk past student concerns, which are legitimate, and not treat us as actual residents and members of the Georgetown neighborhood, I say gird your loins, Madame President, because your hypocrisy, self-importance, and snobbery will not go unnoticed or uncontested.

  9. Thanks, Monbro! That’s very kind of you. It’s great to hear you say that the Voice is your outlet for straight talk about these issues, because that’s what we aim for.

    And really, half of what’s great about posts like these is that they never fail to bring out thoughtful but forceful comments from students. We’re always trying make sure there’s space for commenters like say Tim, above, to respond to others’ opinions, like Altemus’s, freely, loudly, and consistently, so it’s really gratifying to hear that you think we’re doing a good job.

  10. here here! keep up the good work molly and everyone on the vox staff!

  11. I’m happy that Aaron Golds defended us. A couple years back our rep, Jenna Lowenstein, tried selling us down the river by sponsoring a resolution at the ANC to create an off-campus keg limit or keg ban. We need leaders like Aaron and, yes, Molly to continue talking straight, as Monbro says.

    It’s ironic that Altemus decided to criticize the readers of this blog for being ignorant of the details of the Campus Plan or the neighbors’ objections since this blog has provided by far the best, most detailed, most balanced and most comprehensive coverage of the Campus Plan debate to be found anywhere. Vox is the best news source on this, and therefore its readers are the best informed. THAT, and the fact that neighbors constantly come on here to bait us, is why we come off as so upset. It’s HOW MUCH we know, not how little, that makes us frustrated with the neighbors.

    I bet you take the average Vox reader (or student in general) and the average neighbor and you’ll find a much, much higher level of education about the Plan on our side than on theirs.

    And yes Ms. Altemus, if you’d like to have a real, in-person debate on these issues, bring it on!

  12. ZOMG posting something from one publicly available place on the interwebs to another publicly available place on the interwebs!!! So personal, the horror!!!11

  13. @Greg: To be fair, our current ANC rep. has been there for us.

    And Tim, although I don’t agree with you about every comment you ever make, I’m totally with you on this one.

  14. Pingback: The Morning Metropolitan «

  15. Washingtonian magazine is now running their Best & Worst survey. As far as I can tell, the online version only lets you input the Best (, but if you get the print version of the magazine, the mail-in ballot (no postage necessary) lets you input some Worsts as well, including…”Local villain/villainess”

    I will be filling mine out soon and entering Madame Altemus as the local villainess. Fellow Hoyas, I encourage you to do the same. Purchase a copy of Washingtonian – or, if feeling particularly Tammany Hall-ish, go to Whole Foods and remove all the ballots (between pages 24 and 25) from the magazines – and send in your ballot ASAP!

  16. If she doesn’t want her info listed, maybe she should properly adjust her privacy settings and keep herself unlisted. Plenty of people manage to do that.

  17. Is it legitimate to use the state as a mechanism to enrich yourself? No. Is it legal? Unfortunately, yes. Be ashamed, douche property-holders of Georgetown.

  18. Pingback: About that Ten Year Plan… | The Georgetown Metropolitan

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