The Observer is a Student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame & Saint Mary's. Learn more about us.



Reasonable regulation is key

Letter to the Editor | Tuesday, September 25, 2007

I love Notre Dame. I really do. I love the people, I love the campus, I love everything about this place. But this weekend, my friend, a 20 year-old junior, was ticketed for blowing a .05 at an off-campus party.

Since going to Turtle Creek the second week of our freshman year, my group of friends has received at least two Reslifes or tickets each. For the most part, these citations were examples of being at the wrong place at the wrong time, with each of them blowing less than .10 every time.

In light of all the political controversy regarding the new South Bend party ordinance, I believe that it is especially important that students voice a reasonable response to these community issues.

When we’re drinking underage, we know it is against Indiana State Law, and we could be penalized for breaking such laws. We get it. We’re not ignorant of our wrongs. We fully comprehend that law enforcement is necessary to preserve both the peaceful atmosphere of our institution and safety of the community.

I think I speak for all of the student body when I say that we also realize that with the intensely high number of people visiting campus during football season, there is little room for leniency in this department.

That being said, after three years of living at Notre Dame, I have yet to find a happy medium between respecting state law and being accused of turning Notre Dame into Wisconsin-Madison on Halloween.

I have to question whether South Bend police breaking up an off-campus party are truly concerned with the health and safety of their fellow St. Joseph’s County residents, or whether they have to meet their usual quota (which has probably been elevated since the ordinance was presented). I know I am not the first or the last student to write regarding this issue, but nevertheless, the increasingly strict law enforcement has become a serious strain on the student body.

To a certain extent, I firmly believe that the police department has to evaluate the culture within the United States. They surely understand that during our collegiate years, the average student is going to consume alcohol underage.

That’s just the way it is, and Step One in dealing with underage drinking is understanding that such behavior is inevitable and, quite often, harmless. Whether or not people want to admit it, drinking is as much a tradition at Notre Dame (and almost every university in the country) as football and Frosh-O.

Overly enforcing the law is not the smoothest attempt at erasing an admittedly tainted aspect of our university’s identity. Why can we all laugh at the Gipper’s legendary boozing, but not at current college juniors having a drink?

I know it may be a harsh reality, but Notre Dame, please listen: you’re making your students extremely unhappy. Nobody wants to hear that the normal University of Notre Dame grad has at least two misdemeanors on their record.

It’s not a good stat. What we are asking for is reasonable regulation. We love Notre Dame, and we don’t want to look back on these years with such negative memories.

Plus, as you well know, happy alumni give more money back to the school, so help us love it here. It’s good for the endowment.

Carla DeMarzo-SanchezjuniorMcGlinn HallSept. 23