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Ordinance illegality

Letter to the Editor | Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Reading the articles and letters regarding the new “party” ordinance that is being pushed through the South Bend Common Council, I have two points to raise, one statistical and one constitutional.

First, the data shown at the recent presentation by Council member Buddy Kirsits should be questioned sharply. He shows a rise in drinking related hospital admissions during the football season. Nowhere did I see any mention of the fact that the population of South Bend increases by more than 50 percent during this time. The problem likely isn’t just at boarding houses, but hotels, bars and tailgates. Perhaps the PA announcement during the game should not be not to drink too much and drive, but simply not to drink too much. Perception is reality. So if the people of South Bend think that students are a problem, then, for them, they are.

The ordinance, however, does not deal with noise or drinking. It only directly limits the ability to gather freely. With the data correlating student behavior to the disruptions sketchy to begin with, it should take a first year law student about 10 minutes to get an injunction if the ordinance is passed, for the City is clearly infringing on the residents of boarding houses right to assemble freely, without meeting even the basest of justifications. There is no way this would stand up to judicial review.

My suggestion to the student government is to meet with Notre Dame’s General Council to discuss potential legal action, and if they decline (it may be out of their hands as they represent the University, not the students) hire a lawyer on you own. This is a civil rights attorney’s dream.

Adam Istvan


Class of 2005

Sept. 10