Friendly Reminder: You still can’t park in Georgetown

No ParkingThere 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

11 Comments on “Friendly Reminder: You still can’t park in Georgetown

  1. If only Vail had been this engaged when she was actually involved…

  2. Don’t forget that Todd Olson mansplained public transportation to us. My favorite!

  3. Olson wrote. “When you return to campus this fall, please leave your car at home.”

    Uh…why don’t YOU leave YOUR car at home. YEAH.

  4. After years of getting senselessly bullied around by the neighborhood groups, I think it’s time to launch an investigation into just why the University, the single largest employer in the entire city, concedes so much to a group of several dozen local residents.

    I would certainly not be surprised to learn of possible extortion or some sort of corruption within these neighborhood groups that allows them to command power far beyond what is reasonable by any measure of common sense.

  5. I don’t think it’s that evil of a conspiracy. They’re long-term voters, and therefore the only people the politicians that make the rules have an interest in protecting. It’s the same reason the university is able to ram down these idiotic rules on students every few years: they don’t answer to them.

  6. I rarely comment on this borderline communist website, but this I believe warrants one.

    I am a student, and I had my car last year and will be having it again this year, because frankly I just don’t give a shit. If you don’t realize, all of these policies are able to be worked around. Instead of throwing a bitch fit, citing some bullshit legal code, and demanding change when one of your “human rights” gets taken away, maybe people can realize that everything can be worked around. Its just science – get off your ass and figure it out.

    So therefore, I will continue to shamelessly take up neighbors’ parking spots, transport as many kegs my thirsty liver desires back and forth to Dixie, and drive my large gas-guzzling SUV. These neighbors, once again, are nothing but blue balled boners looking for something to bitch about. Todd Olson sending out this email is the equivalent annoyance of the cold natty I’m about to shotgun being one inch out of arms reach – I will get off my ass and figure it out.

  7. If we are paying rent off-campus & have a parking pass, how is this even legal? I’m not a law student by any means, but this just sounds ridiculous when you consider common sense. You can’t deny us our rights as DC students just because we are affiliated to the school. So if I am taking one class my senior year, I can’t park my car on the streets. But if I withdraw, I can suddenly park my car on the streets? I wasn’t planning on bringing my car down this year, but now I am, just out of the sheer ridiculousness of this new rule.

    And to the neighbors Georgetown is trying to accommodate through this campus plan: WE ARE A UNIVERSITY. WE HAVE BEEN HERE HUNDREDS OF YEARS LONGER THAN YOU HAVE. Isn’t real estate all about location? Why did you pick to live in a house that is next to a University? When you did, you agreed to live among students.. with students.. and to put up with students!!! When you were house-searching, you should’ve considered that. Any idiot who has ever read or heard anything about real estate has heard the phrase “location, location, location.” We are a well-established, prestigious college that cost s $63k a year to attend. Georgetown is our neighborhood. It is a COLLEGE TOWN. I’m sorry, but I could not care less about what these neighbors want.

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