NU taking steps to make students good neighbors (Guest Column)

William Banis

Northwestern shares the concerns of its neighbors and takes seriously the

inconsiderate and irresponsible behavior of some of our students in off-campus neighborhoods. We regret such behavior and we extend a sincere apology to the recent victim of an incident involving two students at her home.

We pledge to continue our multiple efforts to address such problems and to continue our work with our neighbors and students. Unfortunately, the bad behavior of a few students adversely affects the relationship between NU and Evanston.

Such behavior also is a disservice to the vast majority of students, who are good residents of the community and donate hours to agencies in Evanston through direct volunteer service and fund-raising activities.

NU has taken several steps to combat such behavior. University Police and the Evanston Police Department have expanded their cooperative law enforcement efforts in recent years, and the university has deployed additional officers in the neighborhoods near campus. In May the council granted the university the authority to include the Fifth Ward in the area policed by UP.

The joint policing that is now in effect enables UP to enforce all city ordinances and state laws in off-campus locations. Many of the citations for violating those ordinances are given to students and their friends.

We also believe the expanded presence of UP and EPD is helping deter such unacceptable behavior. The police presence reminds those relatively few students who seem to need it that we expect them to be good residents of this community.

The stepped-up patrols by UP in the areas near campus help improve the safety and security of all residents, including students, who live near campus. UP helps to deter street crime and enforce traffic laws — benefiting the city.

This year NU — with input from students — extended the jurisdiction of the university’s Code of Student Conduct to include students living off campus. Those students are subject to disciplinary sanctions by the university, as well as legal action, for any violations that occur on or off campus. As a result any student who violates the student code faces a range of possible sanctions, including suspension from the university.

NU also has held community meetings for neighbors and has taken other initiatives to reach out to the neighborhood. We have conducted workshops for students, with city participation, and provided information on the importance of being a responsible member of the community.

NU has not only increased its law enforcement efforts in off-campus neighborhoods to enhance safety and security, but it also has put students living there on notice that we expect them to be good representatives of their school and residents of their host community.

William Banis is vice president for student affairs. He can be reached at [email protected]