Residents who live near Georgetown University have been complaining for years about noise and drunkenness at student parties. Now, some of the university's neighbors are taking action.
Professional photographer Stephen R. Brown is surrounded by students living in eight houses right behind his residence in Burleith. Brown has published books, including his latest on the World War II Memorial. Sick of the student's ruckus, he decided to put his professional skills to another use, starting the website DrunkenGeorgetownStudents.com, on which he has posted pictures of student parties in his neighborhood, hoping to still the late night noise with still photography.
But Brown was told to either remove the pictures of students or blur their faces or his website would be taken off-line by the server. He has blurred the pictures but said on the site that his first amendment right to photograph has been usurped by the university.
"There's a lot of hooting," Brown said. "Last weekend they were quacking like ducks. There were some chicken sounds and just general drunken behavior, drunk and disorderly. The police were called six times. No tickets were issued."
During the day, Burleith is a quiet neighborhood -- but not on weekends or summer nights.
Ann Kenkel runs air filters to create white noise on every floor of her house, trying to block out the parties that she says disrupt her life. An interior designer, she likes to bring clients to her home to see her work and market her services, but she's afraid to.
"I don't dare do it because I don't know when a toga party is going to erupt," she said.
Georgetown University has been there since 1789, and some students have questions for their neighbors.
"Why did they choose to live near a college campus?" one asked. "I guess it depends on how unreasonable the students are acting."
"I was at a party a couple days ago just two doors down from my house, maybe 10:30 at night on a Friday, a very reasonable thing, and there were neighbors taking pictures of us to try to do whatever," said student Grant McIntosh. "I see the conflict and the tension."
The university often meets with neighborhood leaders and members of the community to discuss issues like safety and quality of life, school officials said. People with questions and concerns are encouraged to contact the off-campus student life office, but neighbors said they've tried and gotten nowhere.