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Shappell meets to re-address eviction clause

Kaitlynn Riely | Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Student government representatives will meet with the Health and Public Safety committee of the South Bend Common Council Wednesday to persuade members to remove the eviction clause of the Disorderly House ordinance, student body President Lizzi Shappell said.

“I think progress is inevitably made when these two groups are brought together because it’s so novel that we are interacting with the Common Council,” she said.

Shappell, along with student body vice president Bill Andrichik, Senate Community Relations committee chair Josh Pasquesi, Judicial Council president Liz Kozlow and Northeast Neighborhood Council student representative Krystal Hardy will speak at the meeting.

The South Bend disorderly house ordinance was amended in July 2005 to include an eviction clause. Before this amendment, tenants could receive three reported house violations before the city would send them a notice to abate. The eviction clause said the city could send a notice to abate after only one reported noise violation.

The city placed further responsibility on the landlord. If the noise violation reoccurs, both the landlord and the tenants could be fined unless the landlord evicted the tenants within a month of the notice.

Shappell told The Observer in August she would work “tirelessly” to change the ordinance. She said the best scenario for the outcome of this meeting would be that progress was made on removing the eviction clause from the ordinance. Realistically, she said, it is more likely they will move towards a change in practice rather than a change in rhetoric. This means, she said, that landlords will work with the tenants to avoid eviction, rather than calling in the police.

“I would be okay with a change in practice rather than in rhetoric,” Shappell said. “… I think there is a willingness to change how the ordinance is used in practice.”

To prepare for the meeting, Shappell and other student government representatives spoke with Bob Jones in the Notre Dame Legal Aid Clinic to make sure their arguments for removing the eviction clause were valid.

Shappell and Pasquesi met with Captain Wanda Shock of the South Bend Police Department and Assistant City Attorney Ann-Carol Nash Friday to talk about the ordinance and how it was being applied this year, Shappell said.

Shappell said she requested records from the city attorney’s office to examine all the notices to abate from Sept. 1, 2005 to Sept. 1, 2006. She wanted to see the percentage of students who have received notices compared to the percentage of non-students who have received them.

This meeting will be the first time members of student government have met with the council since last February, when former student body president Dave Baron, Shappell and other representatives unsuccessfully petitioned for a reversal to the ordinance.

Shappell said the meeting is not just about the ordinance, but also about how to improve community relations between the University and South Bend.

On the first day of her term last April, Shappell told The Observer she thought community relations would be the issue that would define the Shappell-Andrichik administration.

“Overall, I would hope to improve the lines of communication between Notre Dame students and the Common Council just to show that we weren’t one shot and out last year,” Shappell said.

Pasquesi will speak to the council about what his committee has done this year to improve community relations and what they have planned. Shappell said she hoped to initiate a student representative position on the Common Council to give Notre Dame a voice when issues relevant issues arise.

“We are really geared to continue to participate and continue the conversation about how to reduce the divide between students and the community,” Shappell said.