Editorial: Won't you be my neighbor?

Arizona Daily Wildcat
Wednesday, October 27, 2005

"Before I built a wall I'd ask to know/What I was walling in or walling out,/And to whom I was like to give offence."- Robert Frost

It's no secret that student relationships with community neighbors have frequently been strained. The Tucson community has long complained of the disregard with which students approach their shared neighborhoods, and not without reason.

Students move into residences surrounding the UA seeking cheap rent and freedom, often overlooking the schools, parks and people surrounding them. Students see a party house. Neighbors see a community.

To be fair, the stereotypes are perpetuated on both sides of the proverbial fence. Neighbors wield a broad brush in labeling students as party fiends wholly dedicated to unruly gatherings and cheap beer. Students wrongfully regard neighbors as crotchety curmudgeons wholly dedicated to ruining any semblance of fun.

It's a vicious cycle, one unlikely to be broken until someone is willing to fly the white flag. And as temporary residents on natives' home turf, students should initiate the dialogue.

If students are to have any hope of better coexisting with the rest of the Tucson community, they're going to have to accept a few inalienable truths: Their neighbors were here before them, they'll be here after students leave and consequently, they deserve every bit of respect that they might demand.

Students could simply walk outside and introduce themselves if they no longer wish to be regarded as a faceless college horde invading the neighborhood with red plastic cups and loud, distasteful music.

Have a cordial, realistic conversation with neighbors about upcoming parties; they deserve the advance warning as much as students believe they deserve understanding.

For their part, those in the community should accept that they live in close proximity to a large university, the majority of whose students are either unable or unwilling to cram into on-campus residence halls.

It's time to respect the fact that not everyone lives a student's lifestyle. It's not easy to get along with neighbors you've never met, but relationships with the community should be based on more than a mutual distaste for one another.

Opinions Board

Opinions are determined by the Wildcat opinions board and written by one of its members. They are Lori Foley, Ryan Johnson, Damion LeeNatali, Aaron Mackey, Mike Morefield, Katie Paulson and Tim Runestad.