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Residents near UA concerned with noise, disrespect

By Melissa Wirkus
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Tuesday, February 3, 2004
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Tucsonans near the UA have problems with some of their student neighbors, and tonight, they're sitting down with campus officials to talk about it.

ASUA will be sponsoring a Community Relations forum at 7 p.m. in Room 150 of the Harvill building to address problems and concerns among students, neighbors and law enforcement.

Complaints from neighbors of UA students have increased in number, and various organizations and associations are trying to help mend the rift between the community and the students.

"Neighborhood associations are angry because they are not feeling respected by students living in their communities, and they are taking these concerns to the police," said ASUA senator and forum coordinator Sara Birnbaum.

The most common issues residents mention deal with noise, parties, parking, misuse of alcohol and disrespectful behavior.

The goal of the forum is to increase dialogue and develop respect among the groups, Birnbaum said.

Jaime Gutierrez, assistant vice president for community relations at the UA, said Rincon Heights, Sam Hughes, Pie Allen and Jefferson Park are among the neighborhoods that have been most affected by student misbehavior.

This is really just an issue of people who are noisy and rude. Mary Zulli
acting president of the Sam Hughes Neighborhood Association

The office serves as an information resource and point of contact for all members of the community and strives to promote an atmosphere of goodwill between the UA and its neighbors, according to its Web site.

In the spirit of uniting the community with students, the forum plans to bring all of the positive ideas for improvement together.

"The goal is to work with neighbors and students to make sure students are representing themselves and the university in a positive manner," said Dr. Janet Bingham, vice president for university advancement.

Informing the students on the consequences of unacceptable behavior and the rewards of good behavior will help eradicate the current problems, Gutierrez said.

"This is really an issue of education," Gutierrez said. "We are going to try to do a better job to educate students about what is acceptable behavior."

"If students are more educated, they won't be as upset when they get punished for things such as underage drinking," Birnbaum said.

Despite the negative stereotypes surrounding students who rent houses, it is not always students who are disruptive.

"This is really just an issue of people who are noisy and rude," said Mary Zulli, acting president of the Sam Hughes Neighborhood Association. "It's not always students; all kinds of people can be rude and disruptive."

Other students living in residential neighborhoods said they try to be courteous.

"Some of our neighbors have gotten red tags, but we try to keep the noise down so we don't get in trouble," said Lisa Cameron, pre-business sophomore.

Bingham said making students aware that their behavior affects not only themselves but others will help students make better decisions.

"Everyone needs to behave in a manner that is appropriate, whether they live in UA dorms or off campus," Bingham said.

Tonight's forum should help get the semester off to a better start by generating solutions and developing respect for all members of the community, Birnbaum said.

"If we can deal with this issue in a mature way, we can get a lot more done and create a more pleasant environment for everyone," she said.

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