Respect U. City neighborhoods

Last weekend, we received word from the Washington University Police Department that patrols from the University City Police Department would increase in the area north of campus. This area—including University Drive, Washington Ave., Kingsbury Blvd., Kingsland Ave. and Trinity Ave.—contains property owned by the University and is home to a number of students.

For us, the knowledge that patrols are increasing is troubling. Last spring, upperclassmen witnessed the implementation of a zero-tolerance policy which, in their defense, was never clearly outlined, communicated or written down. Regardless, the policy was rigorously enforced and students were arrested for noise complaints from parties, sometimes incurring as much as $5,000 in fines and lawyer fees.

Perhaps more troubling, though, is the testimony from University City residents who claim that their property has been a site of urination and a depository for litter. Some have even described situations in which partygoers have assaulted them verbally between the hours of 1 and 4 in the morning. Last spring’s zero-tolerance policy was the result of these pronounced and continued complaints from residents of the Ames Place and Rosedale Heights neighborhoods, who garnered support from aldermen during an election year. These aldermen in turn mandated stricter prosecution of noise violations.

Cheryl Adelstein, director of community relations at the University, said that tensions between students and residents last spring had hit a breaking point so extreme that, by the end of the semester last year, all the University could do was “let the semester end and use the summer as a rebuilding time.”

And last semester, it seemed that the University was successful in doing just that. Student Union put up posters in off-campus neighborhoods encouraging students to be quiet and respectful when walking to and from parties. A block party was hosted on Kingsbury Blvd. to encourage more mingling between students and residents. The Office of Community Relations worked with the Office of Residential Life to educate students about their behavior when walking to and from off-campus parties. A “neighborhood liaison” was hired. Neighborhood meetings were held. An email list was compiled of students living off campus.

Things went relatively smoothly until the events of two weekends ago. What we saw then was substantial advertisement on the South 40 for a party on University Drive—and, subsequently, complaints about unruly behavior from students. This behavior could be attributed to these underclassmen for whom last spring’s events were not an immediate reality, or maybe it was just a larger party attendance than is typically seen off campus. Whatever the reason, we would like to remind students of a few things:

  1. You don’t want to get arrested. You don’t want to see your friends get arrested.
  2. Whoever throws a party is legally responsible for your behavior on the way to and from that party. Respect that individual.
  3. Be quiet when you are walking. Respect the neighborhood. Urinate in toilets; litter in dumpsters.
  4. Realize that, though you may not live in University City, your actions affect that community’s residents, students and otherwise.

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