While Mark Cheng raises a valid point when he says some Georgetown University students need to control their weekend revelry {"Is This How Students Get Their Jollies?" Close to Home, Sept. 20}, it is unfortunate that he chooses to characterize the entire student body as a band of uncouth fun-seekers terrorizing an otherwise quiet and innocent neighborhood. To make all students a scapegoat for the very real problems of the Georgetown area is prejudicial and counterproductive to a meaningful solution.

Anyone who has been on the streets of Georgetown on a weekend night can attest to the steady decline in decorum in the area, especially close to its bars and nightclubs. What was once solely an entertainment district has slowly gained the additional quality of an alcoholic circus, and the show has spilled out of the three rings into the surrounding area. Crime on the streets has skyrocketed, spearheaded by dramatic increases in personal assaults and robberies on weekend nights. No one, homeowner and student alike, feels quite as safe on the streets as he used to.

Granted, it is unlikely that anyone but a merry band of Hoyas would sing Christmas carols on the streets at 2 in the morning. It is equally apparent, however, that such ominous acts as the overturning of automobiles and the use of private doorsteps as public toilets are the doings of others and not attributable to the line of students who have populated the neighborhood for almost 200 years.

Likewise, limited parking in the area is a community problem and not a university one. Cheng devotes a great deal of his piece to a discussion of the fact that there are several cars bearing Georgetown University stickers parked on the streets in Georgetown. This does not seem to be a particularly enlightening revelation in itself. It becomes even less so when one realizes that these autos are the property of students living off campus, who have paid to live in the neighborhood just as Cheng has and are no less entitled to park at their homes.

Blaming Georgetown University or a few of its undergraduates for the decline of Georgetown neighborhoods moves no closer to constructive progress on the problem than would turning the area into a campus police state. Countless Georgetown students have proven their commitment to positive community action through working in soup kitchens, tutoring programs and other projects. Solving the area's problems will require harnessing this energy in the spirit of cooperation rather than divisive sniping at a few bad apples.

-- Chris Donesa is the managing editor of The Hoya.

If Mark Cheng were to observe more than just school decals in car windows, he would see that the crux of the problem lies elsewhere: the overwhelming majority of the rabble-rousers who so rile him come from outside the area.

Granted, a large part of Georgetown is residential, but the importance of the commercial district and the university cannot be overlooked. Perhaps Cheng did move to Georgetown "before the freshmen arrived," but surely not before the university was chartered nor before the first bars opened on M Street. He did not move into suburban Maryland.

His tendency to regard students, "particularly those at Georgetown University," as second-class citizens taints his entire argument and borders on elitism. Those students he mentions in Nevils complex and Loyola Hall cannot be the cause of his parking problems, for university regulations forbid them to have cars. Those who do have cars live off campus, pay exorbitant real estate prices and thus have just as much right as Cheng to park in Georgetown.

As for the inane belief that an illegally parked car is responsible for a drunk driver's running into a house -- come on!

Not all Georgetown students are angelic on Friday and Saturday nights, nor is the university administration infallible in its policies. But Cheng's vindictive finger-pointing is entirely off base. The area unquestionably needs help -- few realize that more than the average female Georgetown student who has to walk home alone at night -- but spewing out mindless heated letters is not the answer. -- Lance Long and John Woodward