News and Analysis

Friday, Aug. 2, 2013 12:07 a.m.

GW seeks to empower UPD off campus

This post was written by Colleen Murphy and Brianna Gurciullo

Neighbors have long complained of rowdy student behavior off-campus. Many have claimed GW officials ignore their complaints. Hatchet File Photo.

Top GW officials are pressuring the city to pass a law giving University Police officers the power to respond to off-campus parties the same way they would in residence halls.

The policy – which Senior Associate Vice President for Safety and Security Darrell Darnell said could see a vote in the D.C. Council this fall – would broaden officers’ jurisdictions and allow them to report students for disciplinary action even when the complaints are beyond GW’s grounds.

“It would give us the authority if we knocked on the door, we could ask for GWorld cards and who’s in there just like we do in our residence halls right now. And they would have to produce it,” Darnell said. “Right now, we don’t have that authority.”

Officers cannot knock on students’ doors off-campus under the city’s current rule, which was spotlighted last April after administrators realized GW officers were illegally acting outside of their jurisdiction.

University spokeswoman Michelle Sherrard said the legislation would give officers “limited authority” to investigate off-campus complaints.

“The concept behind the bill is still under consideration and no decision has been made on the language that might be proposed,” she said Thursday.

Special police forces, like UPD, are “strictly confined to the particular place or property they are commissioned to protect,” according to D.C. law. Officers cannot “display a badge, weapon, or other evidence of authority” outside GW boundaries, while Darnell said officers under the proposed policy would remain in uniform.

GW announced its plan to lobby the city Wednesday, along with a handful of policy changes for students. In addition to creating an online complaint form and requiring an online seminar for students moving out of residence halls, the University will collect addresses for all Greek life members living off-campus, Dean of Student Affairs Peter Konwerski said.

Darnell said officers would refer to a list of student addresses when neighbors make complaints, and would take action once they confirm who owns or rents the house.

“We know which houses students are living in,” Darnell said. “So if we have that list and we have this authority from the city council to take our jurisdiction three blocks, five blocks or only to those houses where we have students, then we can knock on the doors and say, ‘Hey, you’re in violation of the Student Code of Conduct.’”

GW hopes the D.C. Council will introduce the bill by Sept. 17, when the legislators return from their summer recess. Darnell said it would have a greater chance of passing if universities across the District band together for the policy change.

“We think it will be more effective if we take this legislation through the consortium of universities and work as a block. We are not the only university with this problem,” Darnell said.

Charles Barber, the University’s deputy general counsel, said there is not yet a “consensus” about the legislation, though the colleges are still in talks.

The University’s tense relationship its neighbors dates back several decades, and has worsened as GW announces more construction projects.

Neighbors again blasted University officials for ignoring their concerns about student behavior off-campus at the Wednesday meeting, which Darnell said GW was trying to change.

“This is a recognition that they have very serious and legitimate concerns. We just want to do everything that we can to address those concerns,” Darnell said.

– Cory Weinberg contributed to this report

  • Speechless

    I get the feeling that Darnell had never in his life been happier than he was giving his statement for this.

  • Umm

    You know, I wouldn’t have such a massive problem with this if it didn’t EXCLUSIVELY target kids in Greek Life. You must either do this to ALL students or none. Also, when they say greek, does that include multicultural or service or professional greek life members? Somehow I doubt it… This is highly discriminatory.

  • Andrew

    So effectively this is a police force targeted against one specific group of people, and now they want a larger jurisdiction, but again only to go after that one group of people.

    That’s insane. This has got to be against the law. Can students call UPD against non-students off campus? If not, then it’s even more insane.

    DC’s Office of Human Rights says age, job (which may include student) and matriculation in a school are all protected traits. Someone should contact them.

  • bobby

    What are they going to do? kick down the door and arrest everyone if they don’t show them their Gworlds?

  • Alumnus

    So this bill would allow them to target students and punish them for any reason as UPD sees fit. They could use the code of student conduct, which means students don’t even have to be a committing a crime or doing something wrong. The University could just target certain students that live off campus. They could go after them because they are in a frat, or because of their religion, race, or gender, as they’ve been know to do in the past.

    The neighbors are mad at the University, not students. They know they live on a college campus; they just prefer the University stops ruining the neighborhood with its real estate expansion.

    It is known that the University is trying to buy all the fraternity houses. This would give them major leverage. It appears to be the real reason, besides general fascist behavior in the name of liability ($$$$).

    It is ridiculous how GW administrators write the Hatchet.

  • Student

    This means Phi Sig or any other fraternities won’t be able to throw parties anymore. GW would ban all fraternity parties. They would have to continue to locate to bars and clubs. This is not more safe. A student died from alcohol poisoning from a frat party at a bar. This makes drinking more dangerous. I suspect GW is after some prime real estate, and liability protection. If underage students die from drinking at a bar, why would the University care?

    • Pyro311

      What you just referenced is referred to as “natural selection”.

      • Student

        Wow! You win for the most f_cked up post on the Hatchet ever. Congratulations!

  • alumni

    When I lived off campus, I don’t even remember the school asking for my off-campus address. Besides, what’s to stop party-goers from saying they’re just visiting friends and don’t go to GW? They can’t force anyone to had over a gworld. Do they have the authority to ask for any other kind of ID?

  • Lavar Arrington

    two things

    1. “Student” has a great point, how will Phi Sig continue to throw the ragers they are known for around campus?

    2.This whole thing is dumb. If I lived off campus I would give the university a fake address and if UPD ever knocked on my door I would say I went to a different school. Easy

    • Pyro311

      You’d give the university a fake address? I guess you’ll never receive your diploma…..if you’re smart enough to receive it.

  • Sam Wellstone

    Think about it.

    Would you prefer a University Police to take your name for breaking the law and file a report that stays in the University or would you prefer a DC Police person to take your name and file a report that is publically available to any of your future employers.

    The DC Police can also arrest you, UPD can’t.

    You should be begging your neighbors to call UPD and not the DC Police. . . or you could just obey the laws when you live or go off campus.

  • Emmet Fitzhume

    I hear Peter K owns a fleshlight.

  • cb

    “Sorry, we go to georgetown”

  • Class of 2012

    Ah yes, lets empower the corrupt UPD, who will take kids’ stuff and let them go without a warning in the dorms in return. This seems very much like the raids that took place last spring. GW is trying to rid itself of its “party school” label, but that’s not going to happen. Some men just want to watch the world burn, but not today Steven…not today.

  • Shannon O

    Something tells me after this policy is enacted Peter Konwerski will no longer be at GW out of sheer embarrassment.

  • FoggyBottom Student Resident

    @Sam Wellstone

    UPD writes reports for violations of the “Student Code of Conduct”, which includes things that are perfectly lawful. I would prefer Metro police because at least I would maintain my rights.

    UPD Officers violate student’s constitutional rights every time they enter a dorm room. Granting them additional jurisdiction is ridiculous and unconstitutional. They are not real police officers and should not have the jurisdiction to enter into a private residence.

    Whether the resident is enrolled at GW or not cannot grant a police agency to enter into a private residence without a warrant. Illegal searches and entry as proposed in this bill is protected by the 4th Amendment.

    • Pyro311

      Ahh, another law student that thinks he knows it all. Very good referencing the 4th amendment, but you forgot to reference how probable cause plays a factor in warrant-less searches and seizures. Try again Fog Bot.

  • mike

    why not require all students to wear an ankle bracelet, maybe even a chip in their behind. That ought to make finding them a bit easier. Remember, if you’re not doing anything wrong or anything at all, ya got nuttin to worry about. The cops are your friends. Maybe they will buy you an ice cream cone if you tell them you are running away from home.

    I have always believed that gw was a small police state.

  • Student

    @Lavar Arrington

    GW has publicly stated that they want Phi Sig’s house. The property is worth a lot of money to them. It will increase the value of property they own all around it, and it’s in a key location on campus. That appears to be the reason for asking DC to pass the bill. It’s not a crazy estimate to say the property would be worth $10 million to them. An administrator stated fraternities owning houses as the reason, in a comment on the other article.

    If this bill passes, Phi Sig, or any other fraternity that owns their house, will no longer be able to function. GW pretends that they are a pro-Greek, but this is clearly a policy designed to eliminate real Greek life on campus.

  • Alum

    @Sam Wellstone

    Clearly, you are very ignorant about UPD. You don’t have to be doing anything wrong for UPD to write up a report on you. They do it all the time to students they don’t like. The Student Code of Conduct is designed to protect the school from lawsuits. Policies make it so that students get in trouble no matter the circumstances, and they have no due process.

    The following link describes some of this behavior. A prestigious GW law school professor attributes sexist discrimination at GW to Title IX in an op-ed in the USA Today, and gets agitated over the students’ lack of constitutional rights.

  • Michael

    @GW Just who do you think you are?

  • Lavar Arrington

    cant tell if @Student is trolling me or not. This makes Lamar angryyyyyy

  • Student

    @Lavar Arrington
    Not trolling. Clearly, by your name you’re a troll, but I expanded on the point that you commented on anyway.

    This policy is about taking Phi Sig’s house, and finally eliminating all independent greek life. GW has been working on this for the past couple decades. The University doesn’t care how many lives they ruin in the process.

    The Hatchet doesn’t tell students the truth; I’m just trying to help inform people.

  • Inside Info

    The University has a plan to take Phi Sig’s house. They’re trying to do the same thing they did with Foggy Bottom Grocery. The owner didn’t like or trust GW, and refused to sell. GW tricked the woman, using a former student by the name of Kris Hart.

    Kris Hart is a former President of SA and member of The Order of The Hippo, Trachtenberg’s fraternity, whose members include administrators and “student leaders.” He was suspended from GW when the Hatchet reported on the that fraternity hazing incoming members. He took the fall.

    Kris Hart approached the Foggy Bottom Grocery owner, pretending to have independent investors, and claiming that he wanted to buy it instead of the University. The owner fell for it, and she accidentally sold her business to the University. She held out for years and sold it at a lower price, but she was being betrayed.

    Kris Hart is now President of the Washington Club, which owns Phi Sigma Kappa’s house. The University is using him to try to trick the fraternity into giving it up, or forcing them to part with it. Most of the fraternity members are too stupid, or naive, to realize that Hart is working for the University. The University plans to take the property in the next ten years with help from Kris Hart, and the DC government.

  • Alum

    Knapp says that a former student is a terrorist because he went to his house to report an employee assaulting students. Knapp had made several speeches saying that’s what students should do in that situation, and there were no administrators working. It was an emergency. At the time, the person was a student, and Knapp had him expelled that day without ever giving him a hearing. This happened while the student was under arrest for reporting being assaulted. They never charged him with a crime, but Knapp claims the student trespassed on his property and threatened his and wife’s life.

    The student did nothing wrong. Knapp said students should report a dangerous person on campus, so this student did it. He was perfectly polite and didn’t commit any crime, but Knapp continues to maintain that he terrorized he and Dianne.

    And, now Knapp wants to do what he says is “terrorism!”

  • GWU Student

    Make your voice heard and tell GWU administration these new policies are not ok. Sign our petition:

  • Fobo Citizen

    I support Knapp’s treatment of students as terrorists. College students are disgusting monsters, they aren’t human beings. I hope that student was put in Guantanamo for reporting an assault by a GW employee. More GW employees should assault students, and Knapp is right to support that behavior.

  • GW is a Bureaucracy

    A CLEAR VIOLATION OF STUDENTS’ LEGAL RIGHTS. GWPD is pissed off because they can’t interfere with people’s privacy outside of their jurisdiction by employing pseudo laws that only apply within the GW Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities. I can be a student of GW but I am a Private American Citizen first, and how dare GW try to infringe on our lives outside of their ‘bubble’ of the disgraceful GWPD.

    Metro PD exists for a reason folks, why give more power to a purely bureaucratic GW police force with the sole purpose of getting students in trouble with GW’s fake legal system of student responsibilities, designed to eliminate student rights.

    GWPD wants to violate your Fourth Amendment.

    How dare GWPD desire to walk up to my front door in DC and demand for a GWorld card and potentially try to enter my property.

    For God’s Sake GW, start doing something positive with your time, like Mr Knapps $1,000,000+ Yearly Salary

  • Yeah ok dude

    If upd shows up to my off campus residence I’m calling the (real) police

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