Last weekend’s homecoming at Georgetown University has apparently strained town-gown relations.
Maybe it had something to do with the school’s victory. On Saturday, the Hoyas defeated the Columbia University Lions 17-14, bringing their season record to 3-0. But even before kickoff, some Georgetown students and alumni seem to have been pregaming a bit too hard. Residents have complained to the school about public drunkenness, trash, and general commotion. One community member, Michelle Galler, wrote to Georgetown that this year’s homecoming was “one of the worse I have ever endured over the 10 years that I have lived here,” adding that her neighbors were “dismayed by the crowds of loud, disrespectful drunk students outside of their homes, sitting on homeowners’ front stoops and crowding the sidewalks.”
“This Homecoming Day became another excuse for University-sanctioned, blatant public drunkenness of their student body, including lots of obvious underage drinking on the streets,” Galler wrote in an email to the school. “In one case, I was told by a wobbly, blonde undergrad in slurred tones that I should have expected this before I moved here! Ironically, the neighbor I was speaking with has lived here before that cheeky brat was born.” (Galler said she had called SNAP—the university’s rapid-response team for off-campus rowdiness—a few times that day.)
On Tuesday, the director of Georgetown’s Office of Neighborhood Life apologized to residents via a community listserv for “some of our student (and alumni) behavior.” Evidently, the university was surprised: Cory Peterson said this homecoming was “qualitatively different” than those in previous years.
“We were definitely caught under resourced,” the director wrote. “This was a learning experience for us—and a mistake we will not make again… Without getting into specifics, I can share that multiple students will be referred to our Office of Student Conduct for their misconduct over the weekend. [Available sanctions] are not insubstantial.”
In his message, Peterson committed to mobilizing more SNAP responders earlier in the day for homecoming, requesting “multiple reimbursable detail officers” from D.C. police, and readying extra facilities workers to help with post-game clean-up.
The tension comes as zoning officials consider the university’s 20-year campus plan, which was brokered in partnership with its neighbors and puts a cap on student enrollment.