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Notre Dame needs off-campus all-student neighborhood

Letter to the Editor | Sunday, September 28, 2008

Say what you will about Notre Dame’s relationship with SBPD and the excise police, but as long as we lack a true student neighborhood, we will continue to debate a never-ending issue. Let’s face it, college students just don’t mix with families. What baffles me is not the enforcement of the drinking laws, the response to neighbor complaints or the numerous busts I’ve seen in my four years here. The real issue is that nobody is attacking the root of the problem: we have no real student neighborhood or college town and nothing is in development. The Eddy Commons do not count because they lack student housing and bars – in an alleged college town! Sadly, despite all the developments around campus, nothing is working to give us students a decent place to be off campus. We have the Eddy Commons, Irish Crossings, Wexford Place, Dublin Village and the Northeast Neighborhood Revitalization, among others, and they are all specifically targeted at non-students. I cannot blame developers, but certainly the University is at fault here.Notre Dame has the money, the influence and the available land (as shown by all the new stuff being built) to work to develop a student neighborhood off campus. In a student neighborhood, we would no longer live in dangerous areas of South Bend, we would have no neighbors to disturb and NDSP could even aid in the policing of the area. As much as Notre Dame tries to keep us in the bubble, students will always live off campus (I’m in year two and despite these problems, it’s made college so much better that I wish I had done it earlier). We need to do so, not just for the sake of our social lives, but also for preventing dorm overcrowding. It’s high time that the administration recognizes that and steps up to the plate. Until that happens, we will continue to be spread across the city, living in dangerous neighborhoods, and causing ill community relations because … well, we’re college students and we will always have parties on the weekends.

Dave Venkersenioroff-campusSept. 26