Photo by CAG
In 2000, GU said it would enroll 3,873 graduate students by 2010. There are now 6,275. Red=undergrad, Yellow=grad student. - CAG
In 2000, GU said it would enroll 3,873 graduate students by 2010. There are now 6,275. Red=undergrad, Yellow=grad student. - CAG
Community leaders blasted Georgetown University's proposed expansion plan after D.C. Councilmember Jack Evans and Georgetown ANC Commissioners delivered harsh criticism in statements and in public.

"The university’s proposed 10-year campus plan...fails to mitigate the adverse impacts of its growing student enrollment," said a joint statement of Georgetown, Burleith, and Foxhall citizens associations.

Community leaders say the University's proposed expansion has galvanized neighborhood associations — including the Citizens Association of Georgetown, the Burleith Citizens Association, Foxhall Community Citizens Association, the ANC and others — unlike any threat in recent years.

“Unrestrained growth and development has a negative impact on the quality of life and safety of the surrounding neighborhoods,” said Jennifer Altemus, president, Citizens Association of Georgetown. Earlier, D.C. Councilmember Jack Evans and several Georgetown ANC Commissioners including Bill Starrels expressed their "disappointment."

The expansion plan "does not include any provisions for relocating undergraduate students back to the main campus," continued the joint statement.  "While GU did shelve its plans for a new multi-story dorm on the historic 1789 block and for a new 83-foot chimney on the heating and cooling plant, the university’s plan seeks to increase enrollment by 2,100 students, increase the faculty head count and add 1,000 new parking spaces," said the statement. 

Lenore Rubino, president of the Burleith Citizens Association, said that with nearly half of the area's homes now used as rental properties with the majority housing GU students, "the neighborhood is at risk of disappearing." She added, "We will continue to seek a compromise that better manages enrollment, increases on-campus housing, improves campus and neighborhood safety and reduces parking and traffic impacts.”

The D.C. Office of Planning -- reporting to newly-elected Mayor Vincent Gray (who said publicly in September he would meet with the surrounding community on the Campus Plan issue, if invited) -- will offer a report and recommendation within 45 days to the appointed D.C. Zoning Commission. The Zoning Commission is expected to begin hearings in about eight weeks. The Zoning Commission must approve the plan with a majority vote in order for it to be adopted as the university's growth blueprint.

Community leaders are calling for:

  • An enrollment cap for both undergraduate and graduate students at an appropriate level with the Zoning Administrator auditing this standardized enrollment on an annual basis.
  • Reinstitution of GU’s prior goal of 100 percent on-campus housing for undergraduates, curtailing the expansion of student housing into the neighborhood so that GU ceases the use of the neighborhood as its residence halls.
  • Mitigating of traffic and parking impacts on surrounding neighborhoods.  "The addition of 1,000 parking spaces will only increase traffic and does not address restricting the ability of undergraduates to bring cars into the community," the joint statement said.
After two years of dialogue with the University that seems to have resulted primarily in increased frustration in the community, "we look forward to presenting our facts and recommendations to the Zoning Commission,” said Altemus.

Read more, including CAG's 10-page guide to the GU plan.

0 Comments For This Article

California Hoya

Enrollment cap? I can understand that. But 100% of students on-campus is not possible - there simply is not enough room. We are at over 80% as it is, which I think is pretty good.

And restricting the ability of undergraduates to bring cars into the community? Sounds like a pretty selfish move to me. Most undergraduates do not have cars to begin with. I imagine the 1,000 additional parking spaces are more for the faculty and staff at Georgetown, not for the students.


There is plenty of room to build on campus. If GU wants to be a suburban college they should move somewhere else.


Cry me a river of tears.

Suburban colleges build "on campus." Urban colleges bleed into their neighborhoods. Ever been to Columbia? New York University? Harvard? Or down to George Washington University?

Another Anonymous

Now we see the REAL community's aim--have Georgetown move its entire campus to Frederick or Leesburg or somewhere far, far away. Think of all the real estate developers in Burleigh salivating over that land.


Urban colleges may well indeed "bleed" into their neighborhoods, but they do so to the detriment of those neighborhoods, particularly if they are primarily residential in nature. Our very small historic neighborhoods don't want that any longer because GU has not lived up to prior promises, cannot control its students (grad or undergrad) not living on campus, the area is already basically gridlocked - and enough is enough. Being so small and primarily residential, Georgetown and the Burleith areas, et al have very narrow streets almost completely monopolized by the student body of the University. The housing is close knit and mostly townhouse in arrangement. When students move into a block, the whole ambiance of the area changes. We have a right to our quiet community way of life without having to constantly battle the influx of short-term students who couldn't care less about us, our life styles, or our property values. It is heaven living here when the students are away! Otherwise it is the opposite.
Given its location, GU should stay on its beautiful campus and not consider it a God-given prerogative to overtake and ruin the neighbouring communities for the benefit of its own "growth" and financial well-being.


I offer you the same challenge I offered you yesterday: look at an overhead map of Georgetown University and identity one location where Georgetown has more space to build dorms?

John Kenchelian

Your "God-given" comment had better not have been sarcastic in the sense that Georgetown is Catholic....and take the quotation marks away from around growth. Please. This plan does not benefit the university's financial well-being. Quite the opposite, we'd be spending money. The very narrow streets monopolized by students? What kind of hallucination are you living in? I've never seen the streets of Georgetown or Burleith crowded. Ever. Not on a Friday night, not on a Tuesday night in July. And I've been there both times.

The Tatler

oh the math/science building is SOOOOOOOOO needed NOT ! raze the building, consolidate functions within an EXISTING building and house the students where the math/science building is. so many solutions on site without leaving campus.

John Kenchelian

I'm not even going to deign that with a response besides you've lost your right to argue anything about this plan.


You've been here TWICE? I still don't see how you missed the traffic, pedestrian and auto.


I walk over to the GTU campus several times a year and must have gotten used to the degradation of the neighborhood over the years.In Dec. I walked with an out-of-town friend from M and Potomac Sts to Gaston Hall and back, taking two different routes and, seeing that area of GT through the eyes of a stranger, made me very embarrassed to realize what a slum it has become.

John Kenchelian

I've been here for the last 3 years. Those were just two different scenarios I was pointing out. I don't see what pedestrian traffic you're talking about. There are maybe two distinct residential areas that experience car traffic. 1) 35th Street especially near Prospect and 2) Reservoir. Pedestrian traffic occurs on Wisconsin and M. Those streets have and always will be crowded. It's an urban environment. If you think that Georgetown is a slum I suggest you move to Compton, CA where I've been multiple times.