Opinion

Code will make students accountable

Partiers who trash their blocks are in for a just wake-up call.

PaigeGross_colorStudents who only remain good neighbors during the day should rightfully feel the heat from administration in the coming weeks as changes to the Student Conduct Code will mean harsher punishment for partiers.

These changes, implemented because of “unruly behavior,” will include increased police patrol during “peak party times,” President Theobald’s statement sent to students last week said. The warmer weather means more students will be going out, Dean of Students Stephanie Ives said. The policies went into effect this weekend.

According to Charlie Leone, executive director of campus safety services,  10 parties were broken up for being loud and overcrowded when police were patrolling last Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.

While I agree with Theobald that partying is coupled with the college experience, trashing the surrounding neighborhoods is not.

In September, I talked to Andrea Seiss, senior associate dean of students, about the Good Neighbor Policy, an initiative created to teach students about the responsibility that comes with moving into an off-campus apartment. She said its creation was spurred from a student’s interaction with a long-time resident who told him he wasn’t disposing of his trash correctly and how that could hurt the community.

“We realized there was a culture change happening,” Seiss said. “Students were moving off campus and into their temporary homes and they weren’t prepared for what that entailed.”

Despite the initiative being enacted a few years ago and the university promoting it constantly, many students still don’t understand the effect of their actions.

Last week’s update of the Student Conduct Code includes increasing fines; $750 for a second offense, and $1,000 and suspension or expulsion from the university for the third. Ives told The Temple News last week the increased punishment is a way to finally get students’ attention and change the current state of partying.

“You have to change your behaviors and you’re not. Maybe this will motivate you to do so,” she said.

Ives said the changes came from findings of the Campus Health Assessment Response Task Force, which is made up of about 25 people from Temple Police, Tuttleman Counseling Services, the Dean of Students Office, Housing and Residential Life, university counsel and Temple Student Government.

While Ives said the proposed on-campus stadium never came up with CHART, increased partying off campus, and the trash that comes with the celebration is one of the biggest concerns the community has voiced so far.

Theobald told our Editorial Board in February that on game day, tailgating and travel would happen in spaces on campus. But I wonder, if students already party regularly in their off-campus apartments, how would the university be able to control the trash usually cleaned up by employees of Lincoln Financial Field?

This newly reinforced policy may seem harsh, but Ives said about 12 percent of students getting citations for violating the alcohol policy were repeat offenders last academic year. Learning has to start somewhere, and considering some of these students are continually disrespecting their neighborhoods, a wake-up call is needed.

The money generated from these fines will go toward educating students about proper conduct and sexual assault, Ives said.

Again, partying is a part of college life. What Theobald and other administrators are doing though, is making safety and respect a priority for the surrounding community and its members.

It’s possible to have a good time while being conscious of your surroundings. The changes to the Student  Conduct Code are making sure students stay accountable for their actions, on and off campus.

Paige Gross can be reached at paige.gross1@temple.edu or on Twitter @By_paigegross.

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