College Students Say Noise Ordinance Too Strict

Violators can face a $500 fine and up to 90 days in jail

By Adrienne Welsch
|  Friday, Feb 25, 2011  |  Updated 8:45 AM EDT
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College Students Say Noise Ordinance Too Strict

ktylerconk, flickr

M Street in Georgetown

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If you’ve ever been to Georgetown on a Friday or Saturday night, you know it’s not the quietest spot in the city.  And while no one would advocate allowing drunk college students to run around noisily in the wee hours of the night, many feel that a new noise ordinance is entirely too strict.

Under the new city ordinance that took effect February 1, anyone who is “unreasonably loud” between the hours of 10 p.m. and 7 a.m. can face up to 90 days in jail and/or a $500 fine.

On Thursday, DC Student Alliance Chair Ben Marcus said he hand-delivered a letter to city officials expressing widespread disapproval. 

“This amendment really adds a great deal of ambiguity to the ordinance and will cause some real confusion for students in the District," Marcus said in a DCSA press release.  “A law so vague is just asking to be abused or used incorrectly."

The letter asked for clarification about how the law would be enforced fairly.  It also asked city leaders to engage the student community in creating a law that works for everyone. 

“We want to work with you to ensure a safe and enjoyable environment for all residents of the city and see this as an opportunity to begin to do so,” he said in the letter.

The DCSA Board of Directors is comprised of the region’s student body presidents.  Members have said they will play an important role in pushing for either less severe punishments or less vague measures of enforcement. 

DCSA has also reached out to other leaders and organizations to coordinate a response to the law.

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