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New ‘TC’ not ideal

Staff Editorial | Friday, September 8, 2006

From Rally in the Alley to Kegs and Eggs, the mention of Turtle Creek Apartments conjures memories of parties, drinking and good times – memories typically shared only by today’s juniors and seniors.

During the past two years an intensified police crackdown on the beer-soaked “TC” has sent some students scurrying further into South Bend for the next party scene. Last Friday’s police bust of 88 college students at Turtle Creek was rightfully conducted by law enforcement officials. Those who were arrested or received tickets broke the law and got caught for it.

It’s inevitable, however, that some students come to college seeking more than a degree from one of the nation’s top universities and will choose to party regardless of the illegality of the situation. Busts like Friday’s will set an example but are unlikely to end the urge to drink underage. And as the end of the Turtle Creek era seems increasingly imminent – if it hasn’t already arrived – students will look for alternative destinations.

Instead of making the short walk home from Turtle Creek late at night, many will inevitably party farther away from campus, increasing the risk of someone driving home after drinking or walking alone through South Bend – which, as recent reports of off-campus crimes and assaults reveal, isn’t the safest place for a 2 a.m. stroll.

There is almost no opportunity to get lost, little chance of injury and even less chance of violence when walking the lighted path from the library to Bulla Road. There are always substantial – and occasionally life threatening – costs associated with underage drinking, including poor decisions, personal injury, police citations and drunk driving. Students should weigh these costs every weekend.

But so should police. The arrests made Friday could have been avoided if the underage students considered the consequences of their actions. However, one can’t help but speculate what would have happened had the police chosen to break up the party rather than spend three hours issuing nearly 100 citations.

Yes, the party could have continued somewhere else. But that’s what’s likely to happen anyway. As Turtle Creek becomes increasingly notorious for undercover officers and spontaneous raids, party-seeking students will go farther away from Notre Dame – farther away from the relatively safe haven of campus outskirts and into a potentially more dangerous search for the next TC.