University tackles party problems

By Djamila Grossman
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Friday, November 4, 2005

Ongoing vandalism and noise issues in neighborhoods around campus have led UA officials to come up with a number of measures to ease relations between residents and students.

The UA has created pamphlets, videos, panel discussions and direct consultation efforts to educate off-campus students about how to avert confrontations with residents that result from different lifestyles, said Veda Kowalski, associate dean of students.

"We are aware that problem is out there and it is our duty to respond to that issue," Kowalski said. "We want to start that dialogue, we want to create discussion about the situation."

Commuter Student Affairs and the Office of Community Relations puts out brochures that offer tips about how to get along with neighbors, and they also created a "move-in, move-out" campaign to educate students moving out of residence halls about the issue, Kowalski said.

In a more light-hearted approach, the Dean of Students Office published a video, "Desperate Neighbors," in an attempt to inform students in a humorous way about how to get along with their nonstudent neighbors.

The video was a joint effort sponsored by the Dean of Students Office, the Office of Community Relations, Pepsi, Alltel, Finley and Kathleen Dunbar's ward, Kowalski said.

Kowalski said she believes there is a way to minimize the issue and stressed the importance of dialogue between students, neighbors, the university and city officials.

As of now there are a number of complaints as upset neighbors have called for an extension of the Student Code of Conduct to off-campus activities, said Jaime Gutierrez, vice president in the Office of Community Relations.

But it is impossible to grant that request because of legal and financial issues, Gutierrez said.

City officials are "very concerned," and police have adopted more rigorous methods aimed at underage drinking and unruly behavior, Gutierrez said.

Even though most residents realize the UA is working on solving the problem, some say the university is not doing enough, Gutierrez said.

Every two months there is a meeting between residents, city and UA officials, and officers from the university and city police department where the group tries to create a framework about which problems need to be addressed, Gutierrez said.

"There are some natural tensions," Gutierrez said. "(But) it's a pretty valuable tool to use to let students know what their responsibilities are."

A panel discussion addressing these responsibilities and neighborhood relations will be held Wednesday at noon in Gallagher Theater in the Student Union Memorial Center.

Speakers include Kowalski and Tucson residents, who will open up the dialogue with students, and "Desperate Neighbors" will also be presented.