Fall parties no fun for city residents

Matthew Defour

Kim Kurrus runs a day care center out of her home on the corner of Sherman Avenue and Hamlin Street, where she and her family have lived for a year. On some weekends Kurrus wakes up in the middle of the night to loud music coming from house parties and passing cars. The morning unveils a front lawn littered with empty beer cans and cigarette butts.

It’s a problem that resonates with many Evanston residents. Each fall they are bombarded with late-night house parties and football foot traffic, causing tension in the neighborhood and complaints to Northwestern administrators.

“When our students throw litter to and from the stadium, when they have loud parties, when they violate other Evanston ordinances it just exacerbates an already strained relationship,” said Mary Desler, assistant vice president for student affairs.

Two recent incidents between students and residents have highlighted the problems.

On Oct. 4, police found McCormick freshman Robert Nampiaparampil intoxicated in the home of an Evanston resident and arrested him on charges of criminal trespassing.

On Sept. 28, Evanston police arrested Weinberg sophomore Ed McCants following a fight with an Evanston resident. He was charged with one misdemeanor count of battery and subsequently kicked off NU’s basketball team.

Desler said that if the problems continue, the Evanston community may crack down on student misconduct by calling for more arrests.

Despite these incidents, there is no evidence that more conflicts between students and Evanston residents have occurred than in past years, according to Cmdr. Michael Perry of the Evanston Police Department.

“It’s not fair to say that Northwestern students are becoming a major problem because they’re not,” Perry said.

The Evanston chief of police meets with NU administrators and some building landlords at the beginning of every year to discuss what issues need to be addressed and to establish rules for student tenants.

Perry said problems decrease as students become more immersed in their studies and the cold weather arrives because fewer people walk around in Evanston.

The undergraduate Off-Campus Housing Office publishes information annually in The Daily and sends an e-mail to students living off campus regarding the Evanston Tenant-Landlord Ordinance.

Paula Smolinsky, associate director of off-campus housing, said the information is intended to be educational and proactive in dealing with the problem.

“Ultimately, the purpose of sending this letter out is to let students know they’re part of a neighborhood,” Smolinsky said. “Being good neighbors means being attentive to the needs of people living around them as well as to the desires they have to be social.”

Speech senior Nate Doud, who has lived off campus for two years and now lives at Ridge Avenue and Church Street, said NU students and Evanston residents are two separate communities.

“If there was more interaction between students having a party and residents around here then we could discuss appropriate party measures,” Doud said. “Then if music was too loud, maybe residents would have the phone numbers to contact us.”

Kurrus said possible solutions include putting more trash bins on street corners and sending notices to landlords saying they need to take more responsibility for their tenants.

“There’s not a neighborhood feeling,” Kurrus said. “I’m not angry with students, but I think some people are.”

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