Today in Hoya History: Leavey Center Suggestions

Screen Shot 2013-01-30 at 1.42.24 AMOn this chilly 31st of January, you’ve probably been thinking about the upcoming weekend, the bipolar weather we’ve been having, whether Georgetown is going to crush St. John’s on Saturday (answer: yes) and whether you’ll be attending the upcoming Cherry Tree Massacre extravaganza (answer again: yes). But you might be interested to know that on January 31st, 1995, the students of Georgetown were thinking about something far, far different: the Leavey Center! Just as we’re in the process of taking student suggestions for the new student center in New South, the students of 1995 were doing the same.

According to the January 1995 archives of The Hoya, the GU administration had just received student input for plans to remodel the main floor of the Leavey Center. (Renovations, which were funded by a $2 million grant from MBNA Bank of America, occurred in the Summer of 1995.)

According to Dean James A. Donahue, “The [Leavey Center] is cold [and] the building is uninviting,” echoing the thoughts of many students and faculty at the time. (I personally thought he was talking about Lau.)

Plans from students aimed to move the Office of Student Affairs to the 5th floor (where it is currently located) and expand the career center (which also occurred). Other suggestions included adding more space for student groups such as WGTB, Uncommon Grounds, the office of performing arts and the Women’s Center. Georgetown University Student Association Vice President Ned Segal even proposed adding “pool tables and televisions” to the Center while still keeping “areas to study.”

The 1995 renovations ultimately shaped the Leavey Center into the space we know and love today. Unfortunately, the revamping also required the removal of the building’s video arcade. (That’s right. Leavey had a video arcade. And yes, we’re disappointed it’s gone, too.)

Looking for further suggestions, The 1995 Hoya also decided to ask students for input on what should be placed into the remodeled Leavey. Some Hoyas’ ideas were spot on and others were … well … take a look for yourself:

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Today in Hoya History: Why We Got Dorm Security

Most of us don’t think anything of swiping into our buildings — unless you forgot your GOCard in your room. But 24-hour security didn’t make its way into our dorms until about 40 years ago, after an assault on this day in 1971 (see headline below) prompted university officials to reassess security in campus residence halls.

On October 2, 1971, an unknown assailant held a Copley Hall RA at gunpoint after she discovered a robbery in the Residence Hall Office. At the time, Copley and Harbin lacked any type of security system, while other residence halls lacked 24-hour security. In the days after the assault, university officials led by then-Housing Director Suzanne Forsyth, called a series of emergency meetings to address security concerns. The meetings were led by dorm Housemasters and addressed concerns about student safety — Copley alone reported 14 burglaries and two assaults in September 1971.

Within two weeks of the assault, Copley had a temporary security system in place, but university officials had their eyes on larger plans. In an Oct. 15, 1971, article, The Hoya reported that university officials were examining “if a key-card system for entering is possible.” Furthermore, campus security officials were examining whether “defensive equipment, such as mace or night sticks, are needed for protection of security guards,” and was examining whether it could receive more funding to train officers.

Other security measures included the installation of alarms on fire exit doors and increased lighting at the Medical Center.

The Hoya‘s editorial board had sharp-tongued criticism for the university’s shoddy security. The board lamented the incompetence of Georgetown’s 50-man security force, noting that “their Dick Tracy radios notwithstanding, the campus is just too big to be patrolled by policemen on foot.” (No DPS on bikes or in cars in 1971, evidently.) An editorial cartoon (pictured above) shows a campus security guard writing a parking ticket “with campus crime on the rise.” Walking from Reiss to Harbin was scary then, too, as “the walk between Reiss and Harbin … left late-night sojourners easy prey for attackers.”

It turns out October 1971 was an bustling time for the university. We discovered a few more gems of Hoya history in the Oct. 7, 1971, issue that broke this story. It  had just been announced that the Beach Boys would perform McDonough Gym that November. The Kennedy family announced a $1,350,000 grant to establish the Joseph and Rose Kennedy Institute for the Study of Human Reproduction and Bioethics, now known as the Kennedy Institute of Ethics. WGTB radio was in the midst of an 8-month hiatus as a result of disputes over student politics voiced on air. And, as revealed in a Letter to the Editor, smoking in Healy Hall classrooms was quite a nuisance.

This Day in Hoya History is a bi-weekly feature that delves in The Hoya’s archives to find the stories of Hilltops past.