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WU students react to University City’s zero-tolerance policy

Students returning from spring break were greeted with an e-mail sent by Residential Life concerning off-campus behaviors.

“I want to make you aware that the University has received numerous complaints about student behavior while traveling back and forth to campus through University City neighborhoods,” Justin Carroll, the associate vice chancellor for students and the dean of students, wrote in the e-mail.

Some students echoed Carroll’s sentiments, citing the surrounding community’s cooperation with the University.

“The Clayton community has been pretty welcoming to Wash. U. students as a whole and with that I think that the student body should respect their community,” sophomore Kieran Holzhauer. said “I think that while students should be respectful of the community, residents must also realize that they live in a college neighborhood. I can see the no-warning policy backfiring if Clayton residents make frequent unreasonable complaints.”

The e-mail addressed complaints raised by residents in the University City neighborhood where many families with children and senior citizens reside. Inappropriate behaviors include loud groups of students moving and standing on public streets or alleys late at night, littering, vandalism, public urination and public consumption of alcohol.

“I feel that it should be a mutual relationship with both parties contributing to resolve the situation,” sophomore Stephanie Poindexter said. “Should students minimize the noise at 1 a.m. and not vandalize the community? Of course. Should residents complain about noise level being a little too high at 10 p.m. or a student consuming a beer can while having a chat with a friend at the corner of the neighborhood? Probably not.”

According to the e-mail, University City police have indicated that they have adopted a policy of zero tolerance of behavior that disturbs the residents. To resolve this concern, they will be issuing citations or executing arrest warrants for behaviors that might have been tolerated in the past.

“I understand where the residents are coming from with the complaints,” sophomore Ira Blau said. “However, complaints such as public consumption of alcohol are not really big problems to me as long as they do not lead to destructive behaviors. Wash. U. students should have more awareness and conduct themselves appropriately in different situations off campus and to represent Wash. U. in a positive manner. I think that Wash. U. perhaps should intervene in the matter more directly such as more patrol by WUPD [Washington University Police Department] around the area, and show that Wash. U. is taking the issue seriously.”

Carroll warned students about receiving citations or being arrested by University City police.

He wrote, “In addition to large fines, you may have a police record that could affect your applications to graduate school or even future employment opportunities.  In addition, if your actions violate the University’s student judicial code, you will likely be subjected to additional sanctions.”

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  • U-City-U says:

    Over my four years at Washington University I have been consistently disappointed with StudLife’s coverage of major student issue. But no article has ever caused me to take time to actually right an editorial and complain. Until now.
    Sally Wang’s article, “WU students react to University City’s zero-tolerance policy,” that was featured on the cover of StudLife on March 29, 2010 was nothing short of an attack on integrity of journalism. There was absolutely no attempt made by the newspaper to provide any in-depth coverage or advocate for student rights.
    In fact, Ms. Wang managed to interview students who appeared to have no idea what they were talking about. What is more dumbfounding is that Ms. Wang was not concerned that her interviewees were clearly in no position to talk about the issue.
    Take sophomore Kieran Holzhauer for example. First of all, I am not clear what makes Ms. Holzhauer a candidate to be interviewed for this article- and Ms. Wang never explains that either. Apparently having a pulse and being a Wash U student makes you an expert on any topic StudLife digs up.
    On two separate occasions Holzhauer refers to Clayton, not University City, as the area of interest of the story even though the headline disagrees. Clayton, primarily a business district down Forsyth, has absolutely nothing to do with the story that Ms. Wang was apparently attempting to write. But for Ms. Holzhauer’s sake, I will keep her comments in mind the next time I leave a rager at the Bank of America building.

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  • Todd Zimmer says:

    Hey fellow WU Senior! You rock! You should bust an editorial.

    “Developing even the most basic relationship between student and non-student residents can make a world of difference. When I moved in in August, I took a quick walk through the building to introduce myself to some of my neighbors, many of whom are not at all affiliated with WashU. When I do have parties, I leave notes with some of my closer neighbors and include my cell phone number in case they have any problems with noise (and I feel comfortable giving them my number because I actually know them). So far, I haven’t had any trouble with any of my neighbors, but because we’ve established a relationship I’m confident that they would come to me first if there was a problem rather than going to straight to the police.”

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  • Todd Zimmer says:

    StudLife, Dig deeper on this issue! Get in touch with the students who have been targeted with arrest as a result of this “No Tolerance” policy. This is a huge deal for many in the student body, and deserves real, concerted effort from y’all. We need your voice on this issue. Put in the work for the students being arrested!

    I hear you UCity resident!

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  • Wash U Senior/U-City Resident says:

    @a student who agrees with UCity residents said:

    It’s clear by the fact that you still live in University owned housing as a Senior that your idea of a fun social time is playing World of Warcraft with your RA. You’re telling everyone else to grow up? You’ve never even seen a utility bill before! Why don’t you join the side of your fellow students instead of being such a RAT!

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  • WU senior says:

    I’m as disappointed as everyone else with the quality (or lack thereof) of this article–although not surprised. I wonder if the sophomores interviewed for this article actually live off-campus, or if they’re among the many underclassmen who show up in UCity on weekends to drink and then shout, stumble, puke, and piss their way back to the Forty.

    Also, as a senior in non-WashU UCity housing, I wish the university/UCPD had considered encouraging positive interaction between students and other residents rather than going straight to this automatic citation/arrest policy. Yes, students who live off campus need to be respectful of the fact that they’re not in dorms anymore, but we should also be encouraging students to think of themselves as part of a larger community. It could be something as simple as having a block party over, say, Labor Day weekend. Students who are invested in their neighborhood are going to be far less obnoxious than those who feel like they’re just living in an off-campus version of a dorm.

    Developing even the most basic relationship between student and non-student residents can make a world of difference. When I moved in in August, I took a quick walk through the building to introduce myself to some of my neighbors, many of whom are not at all affiliated with WashU. When I do have parties, I leave notes with some of my closer neighbors and include my cell phone number in case they have any problems with noise (and I feel comfortable giving them my number because I actually know them). So far, I haven’t had any trouble with any of my neighbors, but because we’ve established a relationship I’m confident that they would come to me first if there was a problem rather than going to straight to the police.

    As it stands, this policy is just going to create more animosity between students and their neighbors. Just this past weekend, I heard of two separate incidents (from people who were actually there) where students were cited even though they weren’t hosting a party. In one, the cops even admitted to my friend that they didn’t think she was the source of the complaint (there was no alcohol or even music; just a handful of her friends watching a movie), but now she has to go to court anyway because someone called in and complained about someone near her.

    Obviously, WashU and UCity have to maintain some sense of order in the neighborhoods where students live, but it would have been much better if they had adopted a policy if encouraging students to interact with their neighbors rather than being afraid of them.

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  • a student who agrees with UCity residents says:

    [I agree with Dissapointed UCity Resident about the quality of this article, and the, well, idiocy of the younger students who were interviewed.]

    I am a WUSTL senior who lives in Greenway (Washington at Melville) and frequently walks the area where a lot of these incidences have occurred.

    To be frank, WashU students think they can do what they want, and that is not how life works. If you are underage, you cannot have alcohol at all. If you are of legal drinking age, you cannot have open containers anywhere in public… the campus and University City are not our private residences. If you walk around a neighborhood and cause trouble–making noise, peeing on things, littering, etc–the residents will call the police and you will suffer consequences. That’s life. Once you leave the physical campus bubble, you enter life.

    Grow up and deal with it.

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  • anonymous says:

    My biggest concern with the no tolerance policy is this: what if i’m walking home by myself or with one to two friends. we are not yelling, but talking in (let’s say) “inside voices” (clearly i wouldn’t be talking by myself). however, a group of students already passed through the area several minutes before and happened to get arrested or maybe even evaded u. city police. suddenly, the diligent neighbor that called in a report in the first place spots the new group and subsequently they are fined or arrested for just trying to get home on a weekend night while perhaps intoxicated. This is ridiculous.

    I’m worried that the no tolerance policy will lead students to engage in riskier activities such as driving while under the influence putting at risk themselves and others. by doing this, they will endanger their lives and others for fear of interrupting the sleep of residents.

    Of course we should be respectful of the neighborhood and its inhabitants, but at what cost?

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  • Dissapointed UCity Resident says:

    This article is disgrace to journalism and the hundreds of students who live in University City. The article, after summarizing the email we all received from Dean Justin Carroll, has soundbites from three sophomores who it seems do not live off-campus in University City (specifically in non-WashU housing). One even refers to the residents and police of “Clayton,” twice. Clayton is a very different entity than University City and has nothing to do with the situation. It seems as if Ms. Wang merely interviewed her friends, none of whom have any understanding or interest in the situation.

    The editors obviously realize that this is an important issue. The article was placed front cover, above the fold. But if the editors actually believed in real reporting, why were no residents of University City who have been arrested interviewed? The real story is that countless students have been arrested for hosting 20 people in an apartment. Their records have been tarnished and they have had to pay thousands of dollars in legal fees to clear their records for graduate school and employment. It seems as if the administration has no interest in defending its students. Meanwhile, the rest of the students in University City are terrified by what the University City police tell us: That any time the police come to our door, either for a noise complaint or because the police are driving by and think a party may break out, a student will be arrested. Why did the paper not interview Dean Justin Carroll, or Director of Community Relations Cheryl Adelstein? Why was there no interviewing of University City about the new policy, or from Don Strom about efforts for more WUPD officers patrolling the area? Please do this important issue justice and write a real article.

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