Georgetown says NAY to BZA

By the

August 30, 2001

An organization most students haven’t heard of, much less thought about, has the potential to change student’s lives here at Georgetown. The Board of Zoning Adjustment, a governmental body which determines land zoning in the District, has created several conditions which the University must meet before Georgetown can continue with the 10 Year Plan. The 10 Year Plan includes building projects such as expanding McDonough Gym and a new Science Building and Business School facility (see “How the BZA will decide Georgetown’s future,” page 8).

These conditions include the collection of student license plate numbers and requiring that any violation of off-campus student conduct be reported to the landlord and also to parents and guardians. One of the BZA’s most disturbing conditions is that the University should “specify that off-campus housing is a privilege that can be revoked due to student misconduct, whether a violation occurs on or off campus.”

Singling out students and stating that they can have their housing revoked is clearly discriminatory. Under the D.C. Human Rights Law, students are a protected class and therefore can not be discriminated against. Singling out students by age is just as wrong as singling a person out for their race or class.

Most damaging to the University was the BZA’s denial of Georgetown’s request for an enrollment increase of 389, maintaining the cap of 5,627 students. Georgetown needs the revenue that 389 additional students would supply to afford the addition of the Southwest Quadrangle, which which would provide housing for 780 students and the Performing Arts Center. Both improvements will bring students back on campus and arguably reduce off-campus drinking as well.

Georgetown needs these campus improvements. Not only will neighbors be happier in the long run when more students live on campus rather than annoying them with all-night parties but the University needs to make these improvements to remain competitive. To draw top students, Georgetown needs to have better facilities. The BZA should not mandate unreasonable and discriminatory conditions that prevent the implementation of the 10 Year Plan and guarantee that Georgetown moves back instead of forwards.

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