As mentioned yesterday, the ANC has issued a draft resolution regarding Georgetown University’s proposed ten year campus plan. As GM predicted, the resolution is critical of the plan, although it went into a lot more detail than he expected. So as promised, now that GM is back from his vacation he’s ready to dive into the resolution step by step and try to give you a little context and his own take. Today he’ll address the enrollment numbers section.
The resolution begins by discussing some of the historical context of the proposed ten year plan. Specifically it focuses in on the enrollment numbers that GU agreed to under its 2000 campus plan. According to the resolution, G.U. “agreed to house more students on campus and stated that by building the Southwest Quad dormitory, the number of undergraduate students living off-campus in the neighborhood by 2010 would be greatly reduced.”
That’s mostly true, although it glosses over some of the more complicated parts of the history of the 2000 plan. While GM won’t go too far into the weeds, the basic facts are these: in 2000 G.U. proposed to maintain the undergraduate cap from 1990 of 5,627 until they completed the Southwest Quad, at which point the undergraduate cap would rise to 6,016. Enrollment was to be determined by averaging the fall and spring semester’s enrollment numbers (G.U.’s fall enrollment is normally around 10% larger than the spring enrollment due mostly to students studying abroad).
The Board of Zoning Adjustment (BZA) initially rejected this stepped increase and G.U. sued. This led to seven years of litigation, that ultimately resulted in Georgetown getting to raise its undergraduate cap to 6,016.
One of the reasons G.U. won the litigation was that it agreed to move 84% of its undergraduates on to campus. This promise, along with the plans for the Southwest Quad, swayed the ANC. The body voted to support the plan conditioned on those two factors. This left CAG to fight the plan alone, which it was not well prepared to do.
Either way, as promised G.U. does now house roughly 84% of its undergrads on campus, up from 79% in 2000. But it’s not really accurate to say that they moved five percent of the undergrads back to campus because they added an averaged number of 389 students to the total (and some semesters the total undergrad number has been as high as 6,212). Thus if there is a difference between the real number of traditional undergrad students living off campus now compared with ten years ago, its pretty negligible.
But this numbers game was right there in the 2000 campus plan. So it’s not quite right to say that G.U. promised in 2000 to greatly reduce the number of off campus undergrads. The ANC probably should have seen this, but they apparently didn’t. Continue reading