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Off-campus policies unfair

Observer Viewpoint | Wednesday, November 2, 2005

Whoever said South Bend residents are “uneducated, low-aspiring and low-achieving” obviously made a dumb comment. But as both a student at Notre Dame and as a South Bend resident, I disagree with the mood of the opinion letters that appeared in Monday’s The Observer and hope they will change over time. Notre Dame students who choose to live off-campus are too often portrayed as deviant villains who just want to go crazy and have ridiculous parties. Well, these are my observations from living off-campus this year, which I think can explain where some of the off-campus students are coming from in their complaints about the new city ordinances. So far, my house and the two houses of friends next to me have had two run-ins with the police. We have received a notice of abatement and pretty much cannot have a party again unless we want a supposed felony. This is what I know of our current neighborhood relations:

1) We are on good relations with our neighbors, talk to them every once in awhile, even had a barbeque with a few of them. A few days ago I was asked, “Aren’t you gonna have people over this weekend?” A few neighborhood kids have sometimes played football or basketball with us as well.

2) When I talked to police, I was told that no one within a one- or two-block radius has ever specifically complained about one of our parties.

The point I am trying to get across is that the students that I live with are respectable kids trying to assimilate into the South Bend community. One party at our house was admittedly too big, but even when we had 15-20 people at our house, all inside, three police cars came by and stayed parked outside our houses for a decent amount of time.

It might be interesting to note that not everyone in my hometown of South Bend has the best interests of Notre Dame students in mind either. Not everyone off-campus enjoys getting their cars broken into or constantly being confronted to give money for a car that has broken down eight nights in a row. Notre Dame neighbors of mine thought their house was broken into after they went to bed and their alarm sounded. The police responded pretty non-chalantly. After the residents gave the police a description of the person that only 15 minutes earlier had suspiciously stopped at their door and given his name, the police acknowledged the identity of the suspicious man and told the female residents that he was harmless, but to call if anything else happened.

I realize that these are isolated cases and that we ultimately chose to live off-campus with South Bend residents and are clearly responsible for that decision. In the case of the Turtle Creek evictions, however, I think that it is terrible that people were evicted without warning. In apartments that are 99 percent students, where many underage students go to party, it seems hard to believe that one party should lead to immediate eviction. This is especially true when there has been no precedent of this action in the past. A notice of abatement does not fine the property owners, in this case, Turtle Creek. Therefore, eviction without a second occurrence seems pretty ruthless to me, especially considering Turtle Creek exists in its current form only because of Notre Dame students.

Finally, I think it is important for Notre Dame to consider the current plight of the student. More and more students are going to live off-campus, not only because of the rules found in each dorm, but also because of Notre Dame’s burgeoning student population. If off-campus locations are going to continue to become more stringent in regard to social activities, more and more off-campus problems/issues are going to occur in the future. Notre Dame either needs more centralized off-campus housing or they need to work with South Bend to create student apartments that allow a reasonable amount of social activity. It is short-sighted and naive to think that college students are not going to drink, especially those who are 21 and living off-campus. Until this simple fact is realized, no solutions can be seriously proposed.

Quinn Eidesenioroff-campusOct. 31