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Students question off-campus incidents

Eileen Duffy | Tuesday, September 5, 2006

Within just two weeks of returning to South Bend, one student has been assaulted in her Turtle Creek apartment, another robbed on Notre Dame Ave., a few burglarized, two arrested and at least 86 cited for underage drinking.

The series of events has some students questioning the decision to move off-campus, or even to pop outside the bubble of Notre Dame on the weekends.

For most, money – like the prospect of forking it over to South Bend for an underage drinking citation – was the greatest concern.

“I really don’t think it’s worth the risk,” sophomore Miranda Moyer said. “For me, getting a ticket … wouldn’t be a good thing.”

Junior John Wloch, who was cited in Friday’s Turtle Creek bust, has taken on a job in order to pay his fines, which he has heard will amount to $500 – that is, $300 from the city of South Bend and $200 from the Office of Residence Life and Housing.

Wloch, who now plans not to drink alcohol or go off campus until he’s 21, said he feels “taken advantage of.”

“[The Indiana State Excise police] issued nearly 100 tickets at $300 apiece. … It seems to me, in some ways, a money-making scheme – they are targeting Notre Dame students,” Wloch said.

Without mentioning money, Moyer agreed the authorities seemed to be singling out the students’ parties and handling them “a little excessively.”

“If it were a huge party and the neighbors called the cops, that would be one thing,” she said. “But it seems like they were targeting in advance. They said they read about it online and had undercover cops check it out.”

Wloch also said the status of the party upon the authorities’ arrival – “it wasn’t loud or out of control” – didn’t warrant police action, and Moyer echoed his sentiments.

“It sounded like at the time they gave out tickets, the party was already dying down,” she said. “… Maybe they shouldn’t have worried about it, or just sent people home.”

According to Wloch, that’s what police in the area used to do. Officers also arrived at a Turtle Creek gathering his freshman year, he said – but they weren’t nearly as harsh.

“They simply told everyone to leave. No citations were given,” he said. “It wasn’t a big deal-I had no ill feelings toward South Bend in general.”

For some, it’s the danger – not just the drinking – that is on their minds.

“We can have fun in our rooms without having to wander off campus, or worry about getting there,” said an anonymous male freshman, who plans to live on campus all four years. “It’s a lot safer, and it’s more fun to hang out with people you actually know.”

Lewis freshman Michelle Maloney said that while recent events could sway her opinion, staying on has its negative aspects, too.

“[The events] are a downside to moving off campus, I would think,” she said. “But staying on campus, you have to deal with rectors, too.”

Moyer said she feels the problem is isolated to Turtle Creek apartments.

“As long as I wasn’t living somewhere like Turtle Creek where there are parties going on all the time, as long as I was moving into a better apartment complex, I think it would be fine [to move off campus],” she said.