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Georgetown neighbor outs party houses online

Jenna Johnson

Stephen R. Brown tried all of the classic methods of breaking up loud college house parties: Pounding on doors, trying to reason with his young neighbors, calling the cops, firing off complaints to the university.

No success. On Friday and Saturday nights -- and now that the weather is nice, Thursday nights, too -- Brown said it is impossible to sleep in his neighborhood near Georgetown University.

Exhausted and angry, Brown launched a Web site earlier this month, drunkengeorgetownstudents.com. The site features photos Brown has taken of the loudest parties on his block, addresses of alleged party houses, police correspondence, instructions for reporting problems and colorful commentary on the drunken exploits of his neighbors. Coming soon: Video.

Brown encourages his neighbors to take their own photos, as long as they can do so safely:

Be careful, drunken persons are frequently violent and unreasonable so "reasoning" with them isn't a great plan. Keep your distance! Also, make sure you document every incident as we need documentation to prevent our neighborhood from becoming another bar zone.

The photos online so far feature students drinking in a backyard lit by holiday lights, a group sunning themselves on a roof, a nighttime porch party, and police chatting with party hosts. Brown also recounts a Saturday afternoon pool party during which a young woman screamed, "woof, woof, woof...quack, quack ...."

The Georgetown student blog, Vox Populi, warns students to "be wary the next time you head out to an off-campus party" because their picture might show up on the site. An NBC 4 Washington online headline exclaims: "Website Documents Hoyas Gone Wild."

Brown said he wants the negative publicity to hurt the university and prompt some parents to reconsider sending their kids there. He said he has the right to take the photos and post them online, and that he has police reports to back each documented incident.

"If the university would let me have a night's sleep, I might take it down," said Brown, 62, a professional photographer, in an interview Tuesday. "The students call me a 'grumpy old man.' That's fine. I have been called a lot worse than that."

Jeanne Lord, associate vice president of student affairs, said usually neighbors air their concerns through "typical forms of communication" like phone calls. "I don't recall having seen something like this," she said of the website.

In 2000, the university started a community hotline so neighbors could report problems to the Student-Neighborhood Assistance Program (SNAP). Often a university staff member and private security guard will venture over to parties and break them up before the police arrive. Lord said a "vast majority" of the time there is not a second violation at that location.

Students who live off-campus are required to attend an orientation program. And the best thing students and neighbors can do is talk to one another, Lord said.

"It's the easiest and most direct way" to address problems, she said. "We tell students, 'Go over and say hi. You don't have to take over a plate of cookies, but if you want to, that's fine.'"

Student drinking and administration crackdowns are a generations-old problem, The Hoya reported Tuesday, and last week the university e-mailed students reminding them of the school's alcohol and drug policy. Violations are punished on campus "by judicial sanctions that range from fines and essays to prosecution and suspension from the university," The Hoya reported.

The university is preparing its 10-year plan for campus growth, which has to be approved by District zoning officials. Neighbors have questioned why the university plans to add more than 3,000 graduate and professional students but not any more on-campus housing. A Georgetown spokesman said the university has on-campus housing for 84 percent of traditional undergraduate students, one of the highest rates in the region.

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By Jenna Johnson  |  April 27, 2010; 4:22 PM ET
Categories:  Night Life  | Tags: Georgetown University, Hoya, Vox Populi  
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Comments

You know, I'd be more sympathetic, but it's not like Georgetown is some new little college that got big quick. It's rarely even ranked as a "party school".

Everyone who lives around here knows that unless you are well, well away from campus, you run the risk of having students in your neighborhood. It's annoying, but this is what college students do. And if you believed your realtor when they told you it was a quiet neighborhood, then I've got a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you.

And as an Internet professional, I'm telling Mr. Brown he needs to improve his graphic design if he anticipates getting any positive reaction from this site. It's difficult to read and there's too much text. He just looks like a cranky blogger, even if he does have a legitimate complaint.

Posted by: Chasmosaur1 | April 27, 2010 6:19 PM | Report abuse

Sounds like Stephen Brown needs to reassess his living situation. If he can afford to live in Georgetown, he's capable of living almost anywhere else in town; places where there aren't college students acting normal.

Brown thinks he's living Gran Torino, but instead of Eastwood he's Dean Wormer.

Mr. Brown, your blog worries me that you might be building bombs when you're not pooping parties.

Get a life bro. Or at least get some therapy or counseling.

Posted by: RFKFedEx | April 27, 2010 9:48 PM | Report abuse

I think Stephen Brown is not getting any.

Posted by: nativedc | April 27, 2010 9:53 PM | Report abuse

Those aged 18-20 are also adults and not "kids" or "teens", meaning they shouldn't be called those words. It's not good that the grumpy old man, Stephen R. Brown, can't get sleep because of parties composed of young women and young men. The SNAP program is tyranny by Georgetown University since that university sends a staff member and security guard to brake up parties whether or not the parties are rowdy or not. Young women and young men who live in the houses near that man need to be respectful that being too rowdy is not appreciated.

Posted by: LibertyForAll | April 27, 2010 10:45 PM | Report abuse

The area Mr. Brown is focusing on is just a few blocks north of campus. I do not know what he was expecting when he moved there, but I would never think a neighborhood bordering a large college campus would provide the peace and quiet he might want.

Posted by: empsg59 | April 27, 2010 11:03 PM | Report abuse

The pictures he's posted show 6-8 people standing on a deck. It hardly looks like a big, rowdy, noisy party. It looks like a few people standing around having a drink.

He tells readers to call the police if there's a student or "young professional" disturbance. So he doesn't only object to college students having a few friends over, he doesn't like it when adults do it either--at least adults in their 20s.

Posted by: lalalu1 | April 27, 2010 11:16 PM | Report abuse

Both sides have a certain amount of responsibility around this issue. I used to work in the GU Office of Student Affairs, and yes some students are loud, inconsiderate, and out of control with their drinking off campus. Neighbors should realize that they purchased their houses in a very crowded neighborhood down the street from a University established in the late 18th century---when you move next to a college, there will be college student noise.
The neighbors should probably try to have conversations with the landlords (their true neighbors who are making insane amounts of money with sky high student rents)

Posted by: powell2 | April 28, 2010 6:25 AM | Report abuse

Finally the word is out that this $50,000 per year college is a party school.

Posted by: postisarag | April 28, 2010 8:00 AM | Report abuse

@Chasmosaur1

He may be a cranky blogger, but you are just a huge tool. His graphic design isn't up to par? As a normal, non-technically inclined person, I don't give a darn. It's not like I'm purchasing anything from him. It's the Internets -- a democratic forum, if you will, for the spread of information. Even if that information is ugly, it's still out there, and that's what matters. Sheesh. I work on the business side of IT, and the technical folks just cannot/will not burst their little bubble to see the world outside what they know.

Posted by: cbr1 | April 28, 2010 8:54 AM | Report abuse

It seems that when Brown moved to Georgetown, he might have anticipated that the university would have students.

This is like moving to the beach and complaining about the sand.

Posted by: postfan1 | April 28, 2010 9:32 AM | Report abuse

I know you are rich living in Georgetown but that does not entitle you to unlimited cop usage. Get used to it Georgetown is a good school surrounded by lots of jobs. Kids want to go there. I am surprised the students dont start a picket in front of you house. Cops would be better utilized in the tough drug neighborhoods... U want quiet? move to my neighborhood.

Posted by: jercha | April 28, 2010 11:33 AM | Report abuse

Many of us moved into these neighborhoods when student enrollment was less than it is now -- and much less than what the University proposes. The character of the neighborhoods is changing, with more and more homes becoming rental houses that are poorly maintained and host to more and more parties. While we have adjusted to a neighborhood in decline, one thing never seems to change: many students feel entitled to ignore their responsibilities as neighbors.

Posted by: Anonymousxx | April 28, 2010 11:41 AM | Report abuse

Mr. Brown's methods may be a little different. But I think his point was that he tried traditional ways to solve the problem and it didn't work. Also, not everyone living in Georgetown is "rich"-- there are families who rent here too, not just college students. I personally like being near the students and in general have great relationship with my student neighbors... BUT I still don't like it when I see someone urinate in my garden or leave their beer cans on my car.

The real issue (buried in the story) is that the Univ. intends to add more students without providing more housing. Therefore neighbors are legitimately concerned about how this will impact them. Will more students = more rentals = more noise/parties? Will it chnage the diversity of the community? If history is an indicator, then yes.

Posted by: livingdc | April 28, 2010 12:03 PM | Report abuse

One of those "kids" should sue Stephen R. Brown for defamation, false light and invasion of privacy.

Posted by: jd2004dc | April 28, 2010 12:22 PM | Report abuse

I don't know why its the University's problem. Why does Mr. Brown expect the school to do something about students living off campus. Is that like calling my employer because I wouldn't be living here if I didn't have a job?

The problem is between neighbors and should be handled that way.

Isn't it a little creepy that a 61 yr old is running around taking pictures of college students.

Posted by: cashink2003 | April 28, 2010 12:43 PM | Report abuse

Where are the great, challenging, interesting, well-paid, glamorous careers/jobs that these kids all want?

I hope the young university women will conduct themselves like the tramps they are at all times.

Posted by: uncivil | April 28, 2010 12:44 PM | Report abuse

What do you call a person who moves into a college neighborhood known for college parties, and then complains about the parties? Moron? Idiot?

Posted by: Cznzy | April 28, 2010 2:11 PM | Report abuse

These are the usual selfish arguments of students (he's just an old man, out of touch with young people just having fun) and a university administration fearful of negative publicity (that you should expect this nonsense if you live somewhere in the vicinity of a college campus). First to the students, time to grow up. Once you leave campus, you are subject to the laws and norms of the community, period. Its not a lifestyle difference, its a matter realizing as part of a community your whims do not supersede the rights of others. You are the ones who need to adjust, not everyone else. The grumpy old man and every other resident must obey the laws, so must you. If YOU don't like that, then you should move back on campus where the school is responsible for you. Second, the idea that living near a college campus nullifies residents rights to peace is preposterous. I hope The Grumpy old Man recruits others to embarrass the university and the city to enforce the same standards that are expected of everyone in the community.

Posted by: tyree230 | April 28, 2010 2:11 PM | Report abuse

@tyree230

Quite a comical response. I agree students are out of touch with reality, but I don't agree with your premise. The students will only growup as fast as the neighborhood around them. I hate to be a pain, but Georgetown isn't as old and stuffy as it used to be. Look up and down M street and the western side of Wisconsin, it is a majority young folk. The term young folk is used broadly because it encompasses anyone from 18-35. Just because they graduate at 22 doesn't mean that they will calm down at Commencement. I know more loud mouth, drunk Young Professionals that are worse now than in college.

--

In terms of the university adding 3,000 more graduate and professional students. It shouldn't be a true worry to most neighbors. On average a graduate student (minus the occasional law and medical student) do not party nearly as hard, nor live in the Georgetown region. Professional students are even less of worry because they go from work to school and most likely to sleep. Worry about undergraduates and the like.

Posted by: DCAg | April 28, 2010 2:33 PM | Report abuse

I live in Georgetown 2 blocks from the campus. Yes it is noisy at times at night, however I knew whne I bought my home it was by a University. I do not find the students to be a problem. We have a lot of grumpy old people who live here and beleive just because they have money they have entitlement. If you think this is a problem with these people trying going to the historic board where they want to approve your doorknob change,
They have way too much time on their hands.
Beleive property value in Georgetown is not at all affected by the students.
I suggest he put storm windows on his house to help with the noise.
Stop harrasing the students.

Posted by: max22 | April 28, 2010 2:57 PM | Report abuse

Wow. The "parties" in the pictures show just a few people. This guy should be thankful he doesn't live near JMU, WVU, or other party schools, where 100-person gatherings are a typical occurrence. What a curmudgeon.

Posted by: mikeleon87 | April 28, 2010 4:28 PM | Report abuse

@cbr1:

Wow - I'm a tool? I haven't heard that one in years. Since I was in college, in fact. Which was over half a lifetime ago now...

The point I was trying to make - and admittedly, not doing it well now that I re-read it - is that Mr. Brown's site is difficult to read. It doesn't have to look cool or slick, but it is overly congested.

So what that says to me - someone who occasionally works on the "business side" of IT - is that he is simply ranting and raving because he doesn't care enough to post his argument in a cogent manner.

As for his site - Mr. Brown doesn't have to have nifty graphics or use shiny fonts - as a matter of fact, it's probably better that he doesn't. (Right now, he seriously needs to reconsider the use of so much red text - too hard to read) But he could use spacing better, and maybe organize his site into pages or categories, or something similar. Blog software would be great here since he could easily categorize.

But right now, it's one long page of text with dates attached. It's not easy to read or use or quickly determine if new information has been added because it all looks the same. And THAT is an important point in business - creating a web site that people will return to as a resource. Otherwise, there's little point in maintaining it.

I think Mr. Brown is in for a long fight against Georgetown - as someone noted here, none of the parties looked like raucous affairs and he lives very close to campus. I have a Kentucky Derby party for my street once a year that has at least 3 times as many people. But if he has a legitimate grief with consistently difficult neighbors in one or two particular houses, it's hard to tell from this site. It would take an hour or two to carefully set up a site so it's a more valuable resource and advocacy tool.

*chuckling* Tool. I love it. Makes me feel 20 again...thanks!

Posted by: Chasmosaur1 | April 28, 2010 5:09 PM | Report abuse

So why would anyone who doesn't like the late night party scene buy or rent a residence near any university. Remember these are the same students who over pay in rent causing your properties value to rise. These people are ADULTS under the law and are not required to live on campus. Georgetown and GW have been know to have a lot of students living in and around Georgetown throwing parties since at least the 80's. So most can't use the "it used to not be this bad excuse" or the "i didn't know" excuse. Where did all you so called adult neighbors go to college? and your going to harass young people for doing the same thing you did. If you want quiet move to McLean or Bethesda or Potomic, that is what those suburbs are for. Install soundproofing if you can afford to live in Georgetown you can afford to do it

Posted by: fish9669 | April 28, 2010 7:05 PM | Report abuse

I think that when this man moved to the area he should have at least been aware that near a college there are going to be parties and there is a potential for loud nights and crazy kids. Assuming he was aware of this why did he move here? and if it has been going on for so long why doesn't he move away from the area? I think he is being unreasonable by taking photographs of the student parties. He would not appreciate it if they peeked in his windows, snapped some pictures and plastered them all over the internet. I think that creating this website of Georgetown parties was an immature thing to do. If he has this much of a problem with it he should just take initiative and move away.

Posted by: blueyes914 | April 29, 2010 12:23 PM | Report abuse

Unless Mr. Brown or his ancestors bought their house before 1789, he really can't complain. Yeah Georgetown is a great place to live -- but if you live in West Georgetown (on the side of Wisconsin Ave with the University), when you bought your house you knew there was a university in the neighborhood. You also had to realize that bordering the neighborhood are M Street and Wisconsin Avenue, which last time I checked are lined with bars and clubs, not churches and opera houses. It's pretty simple math Mr. Brown: college students + dozens of bars within walking distance = loud noise late at night on the weekends. Don't act surprised and outraged to discover this. The only defense you have for being angry is that you were too stupid to realize the reality of the neighborhood you were moving into, which is no defense at all.

Posted by: sfr71 | April 30, 2010 10:05 AM | Report abuse

I know Stephen and when I was a student of his 10-11 years ago his neighborhood wasn't nearly as bad as it is now!

College students ALL OVER have gotten to be a pretty ROWDY BUNCH these days!

Maybe it's

TIME TO MOVE STEPHEN!

Posted by: whatyoutalkinboutman | May 1, 2010 1:54 AM | Report abuse

"What do you call a person who moves into a college neighborhood known for college parties, and then complains about the parties? Moron? Idiot?"

"Unless Mr. Brown or his ancestors bought their house before 1789, he really can't complain."

"If he has this much of a problem with it he should just take initiative and move away."

This seems to be a recurring theme,esp. from Georgetown students, he lives next to a university, he should expect this.

Let's apply that argument another way.

You moved to DC, they don't have voting rights in Congress, so if you complain or try to change it, are you an idiot? moron?

Unless you lived in DC before DC was designated as a Federal city w/o representation, you don't have a right to vote, so shut up and take it.

The point is that the UNIVERSITY existed before Mr. Brown moved in, the current students either didn't exist or weren't living there. How does the university's tenure excuse rude and possibly illegal behavior?

Is Mr. Brown unreasonable or over the top? I don't know, I don't live in his neighborhood. I live in Arlington and there are several houses in the area rented to college students.

From time to time I have heard a loud party, not a big deal. One neighbor who lives across the street from a house full of students mentioned that he had to ask them to tone it down one time.

He said the students immediately toned things down and no harm done.

I haven't seen any instances of trash, liquor and beer bottles and cans strewn around or students urinating in the street or my yard, maybe Mr Brown has experienced these things.

Maybe the GU student body would be better served by getting the facts instead of blindly defending their fellow students, especially with such weak arguments.


Posted by: BEEPEE | May 1, 2010 5:04 PM | Report abuse

I don't understand these people who think that students have a right to disrupt a neighborhood; that anyone who buys a house anywhere near an encroaching university automatically forfeits any expectation of a reasonal neighborhood environment.

The idea that he should move because students are somehow entitled to act like animals is apalling. And the fact that the university has set up a hotline to control this just shows how out of hand the whole thing is.

Posted by: Athena_news | May 1, 2010 8:33 PM | Report abuse

I haven't seen anyone claim that students have a right to disrupt a neighborhood, and the neighbors are beyond irrational, they've been deceitful in many ways. The number and percentage of students on campus has increased dramatically over the past ten years (no thanks to obstruction from some of the neighbors) but the activists still complain. Instead of harassing students on Election Day, trying to close down daycare centers, or stalking students with a camera, maybe the neighbors could clean up their own behavior before throwing stones.

Posted by: dbd1830 | May 3, 2010 9:37 AM | Report abuse

Mr. Brown needs to psycho on these students. I would do the following:

1) Blast loud music in their direction in the early morning hours.

2) Loudy knock on the door of the students on the hour during the early morning.

3) Get friends to double park the students so they can't move their cars

4) Make life a living HELL for the students

Some people only understand PAIN and must lick the boot to change

Posted by: kschur1 | May 3, 2010 4:15 PM | Report abuse

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