Students need to grow up. And GW and the Foggy Bottom neighborhood need to let them.
Next week, the University Police Department will begin using a new procedure to address noise complaints involving students in off-campus housing. Previously, UPD officers have merely documented off-campus noise violations, rather than actively responding and resolving them as they now will. Although UPD officers will not enter private residences, repeat offenders may still face disciplinary action from Student Judicial Services if UPD obtains student names from building management.
This is absurd on several fronts.
First of all, choosing to live in off-campus housing means students should accept the responsibilities and consequences that come with the privileges. Students are signing these leases as adults and need to act as such, which includes policing themselves so aggrieved residents do not feel the need to call UPD.
Of course, we’re all college students and like to have fun, but simply moving off-campus does not mean that you are free to continue a college lifestyle in a new building. Be reasonable. Be an adult. If you want to stay up partying until 4 a.m. for four years, then live in on-campus housing for four years.
Any students who live in residence halls and attend off-campus parties should also take note. Know where you are. All of Foggy Bottom is not GW, so just be reasonable and aware. It will be to your benefit as well – off-campus penalties could mean a charge of underage drinking from Metropolitan Police Department instead of just a slap on the wrist and a visit to CADE.
In the same vein, neighborhood associations and residents should be treating students like any other residents and keeping UPD out of the picture. Whatever the procedure for that neighborhood or building, it should be applied to students as well. Calling the homeowners association, building management or even MPD are all viable options. Facing MPD at their door will be a definite deterrent for loud partygoers.
Another major concern is that the University and UPD are stepping into what should be an HOA or building management matter. Neither UPD nor SJS should be involved in these disputes. The only way the situation will improve is if students and residents learn to get along – constantly turning to the University is a step back.
We understand that GW is trying to promote better community relations and this page applauds their efforts. University President Steven Knapp has been reaching out to community groups and trying to address their concerns. But telling these neighborhood organizations that GW is going to take responsibility for resolving off-campus noise problems may increase tension in the long run.
Neighborhood groups may expect GW to further regulate its students’ behavior off-campus, and facing repercussions from the University, students may ignore residential regulatory groups to the detriment of the neighborhood. Off-campus housing should be beyond GW’s regulatory and enforcement scope.
Let students reap what they sow in their off-campus digs. Maybe then everyone will get their act together.