MSA remains neutral on proposed “unruly’ ordinance

The City Council’s noise ordinance could have partygoers paying $2,000.

JP Leider

At the Minnesota Student Association’s Forum meeting Tuesday, members again addressed the proposed noisy, or “unruly,” assembly ordinance.

The original incarnation of the ordinance came from former Minneapolis City Council member Paul Zerby, who represented the area surrounding the University’s Minneapolis campus, last year.

After several amendments and a referral back to committee at the last Minneapolis City Council meeting, the proposed ordinance will again be up for consideration Friday.

The amendments to the ordinance are positives for students, said MSA President Emily Serafy Cox.

The ordinance will make landlords more responsible for the goings-on at their property, she said.

While MSA has been addressing issues with the proposed ordinance, the organization officially has remained neutral on the matter.

Serafy Cox said MSA’s neutrality comes from the fact that the ordinance would be a “mixed bag.”

“MSA doesn’t condone raucous partying that disturbs the neighborhood and creates bad blood between neighbors, but at the same time, our role of advocating on behalf of students puts us in a difficult position,” Serafy Cox said.

Such an ordinance would mean students will have to pay more for having a party ” quite literally, she said.

Under the proposed ordinance, landlords or license holders of a property that has had an unruly assembly in which police are called may be fined $200. However, if someone at the party, rather than a neighbor, summoned emergency services, the fine would be waived.

People “participating in, conducting, visiting or remaining at a gathering” they know to be a noisy or “unruly” assembly could face a fine of $150.

Repeat offenders would be fined consecutively more, with a limit at $2,000 per violation.

Graduate and Professional Student Assembly President Karen Buhr said she was pleased with the ordinance as it stands.

“It won’t adversely affect students who aren’t participating in unruly behavior,” she said.

The ordinance has significantly changed since it was originally proposed, she said.

MSA and GAPSA initially objected to language in the ordinance that would have placarded properties that had noisy or “unruly” gatherings.

Buhr likened the placards to placing a scarlet letter on offenders.

“It would do more to reinforce negative stereotypes rather than solve the problem,” she said.

Ward 2 Council member Cam Gordon, who represents the Minneapolis campus and surrounding area, said the ordinance would address “legitimate issues” and longstanding concerns in neighborhoods like Southeast Como.

Gordon said he is comfortable with the ordinance as it stands and he’ll encourage his fellow council members to approve the resolution Friday.

The Minneapolis City Council will address the issue at its meeting scheduled for 9:30 a.m. Friday.