Unruly ordinances

The “unruly party ordinance” is essentially guilt by association for students.

About two weeks ago the Minneapolis City Council enacted ordinance 389.65 originally proposed by former City Council member Paul Zerby and much to the dismay of student-tenants.

Under the ordinance anyone visiting, participating or hosting a noisy party could be fined $150. To be clear, this means any individual at a party can be fined even if he or she is not drinking or being noisy. Placing such a sweeping punishment on students just for attending a party is simply discriminatory. Whether they are good or bad parties, they are a place where many young college students socialize, and students are going to continue to have and attend parties regardless of any ordinance.

A tenant hosting parties can face fines of as much as $2,000. A property deemed “unruly” would be posted with a placard that labels it as such for 18 months. Additionally, landlords would be fined $200 for the first violation and double for each infraction thereafter. These fines, no doubt would be passed down to students.

It is true that students need to be more respectful of the neighborhoods they live in, but part of this requires that students are treated as neighbors as well. Rather than be excluded from neighborhood association meetings, students and nonstudents alike should be able to work together to find common ground within their neighborhoods. Far from empowering students, this ordinance will cause more confusion and facilitate less cooperation ‘ especially between students and University police. Students probably will be more apt to cut and run at a party rather than cooperate with police in the face of a fine just for being present.

If the ordinance truly is aimed at improving the neighborhoods (like it claims to be) as opposed to targeting students (which it clearly does), why not impose constructive penalties like the community service hours Minnesota Student Association has suggested in place of revenue-generating fines? Better yet, why not focus attention on the recent upsurge of robberies in the 2nd Ward?