Bruininks responds to Como petition

Southeast Como petitioned with complaints of student behavior.

Alex Holmquist

Southeast Como residents are still worried about the unruly behavior of students who live in the neighborhood but have received word that the University of Minnesota will continue to lend its support. University President Bob Bruininks sent a letter to the Southeast Como Improvement Association in response to a January petition letter that outlined residentsâÄô concerns with public drunkenness, fires, violence and last yearâÄôs Dinkytown riots. The January letter was signed by 91 University faculty, staff, alumni, graduate students and other residents who live near the University. In his response last week, Bruininks said he sympathizes with residents and hopes to improve the livability in Southeast Minneapolis neighborhoods. âÄúI understand the deleterious effect these behaviors have on the livability of the community âĦ we continue to search for ways to achieve dramatically better outcomes,âÄù Bruininks said in the letter. He said the University has recently extended its Student Code of Conduct so that it applies off campus and has provided more than $100,000 to enhance police patrols in neighborhoods near the University. He added that the University testified in favor of passing the recently adopted social host ordinance, which makes it a misdemeanor to host a party attended by underage drinkers. James De Sota, neighborhood coordinator for SECIA, said BruininksâÄô response was âÄúthe letter they had anticipated,âÄù but he was satisfied with its content. De Sota said the relationship between the neighborhoods and the University has improved dramatically in the last couple years, but he added that there is always room for improvement, especially with the approach of Spring Jam. He added that though there were no riots in Southeast Como last year, residents were not pleased with studentsâÄô behavior during the festivities. âÄúThe general behavior in the neighborhoods was pretty poor,âÄù De Sota said. âÄúQuite a few residents were very disturbed by what happened with some of the larger parties that got out of control.âÄù De Sota said the neighborhood is working with the University and the Minneapolis Police Department to do a better job of âÄúkeeping a lid on thingsâÄù this year. âÄúI think a lot of people are kind of in the wait-and-see mode,âÄù he added.