Going into last Saturday's football game against Purdue, the Northwestern Wildcats were 5-0. To celebrate the 75th Anniversary of the first Big Ten night game (which also happened to be NU vs. Purdue) and the fact that NU went into the game ranked #25 on the Coaches' Poll, students apparently decided to let loose. A word of caution here: going "wild" for a Northwestern student is cracking open a beer instead of a book during the school week. What happened on Saturday was more like the apocalypse reigning down on Evanston. Since it's notorious for starting Prohibition, the town probably deserved what ensued. Northwestern Dean Burgell J. Howard sums up the day's activities in an email he sent to students today:
To: Off-Campus Residents and their Friends who live in University Housing (Pls. share this message with friends and group listservs)
The weekend recently passed (10/9-10), showed some of the best of Northwestern, and unfortunately some of the worst... and unfortunately the actions of significant portion of our community have severely damaged the relationship between student-neighbors and year-round neighbors in the areas west of campus, as well as between the City of Evanston and NU.
In the wake of the social activities of Saturday, October 9th a flurry of messages have been circulating between residents and City officials including the Mayor, Alderman, Chief of Police and University officials including President Schapiro. Reports have flooded our offices about NU students being rude, urinating and vomiting on people's property often within the view of the property owner and their children. After the parties, piles of garbage, cups, bottles and kegs were strewn about yards and parkways- often in clear view from the street for more than 24 hours, and some properties have still not fully cleaned up. Put simply... this is unacceptable behavior and is not the way to begin a new year with your fellow Evanston residents.
The following is an excerpt from the type of messages and images that have been coming to the City and University about the conduct of Northwestern students - please let me know if you feel proud to have this be the view of our student body:
"I will tell you though that this last weekend was actually frightening for my daughter. She has always loved our home, our neighborhood and the people that live around her, now she wants to move. We rode our bicycles to Church on Saturday night and because the street was so crazy (and she is only 8) we came back on the sidewalk. No one moved out of her way, the NU students were actually rude. What was equally hard is that we have instilled in her a respect of college students and of colleges. That respect is in shambles right now. There had been a rumor about a Disney star that appealed to tweens coming to NU; my daughter had been very excited about the opportunity; however her comment after Saturday was a hope that this star would NOT come to Evanston, because she would turn into one of those scary students.
Me, I am actually frustrated and angry. As we rode home past houses on Maple you could actually smell the alcohol and urine wafting from the houses, it smelled like a bar at 4 am closing and was nauseating. My wife and I shagged students out of the ally where they were urinating; we confronted students that had parked themselves on a neighbor's parkway for a little love fest. I would like to say that they were fully aware that there was an 8 year old 10 feet away, but truly this couple was ANYTHING but aware of their surroundings. The next day, in the early afternoon people came to clean up at one of the disaster houses, the students were hollering about “Bl** J*bs. I asked them firmly (and not too pleasantly) to watch their language.
All of the students living in the immediate area of Maple Avenue and the park were invited to the block party…we reached out to them as good neighbors, only one student came.
Well, I no longer want to “hand out brochures” or “canvas the student neighbors”. Since they are NOT in campus housing, I want them held to the expectations of all residents of Evanston. Didn’t they learn ANYTHING from their parents or from the 12 years of school that preceded their relocation to Evanston?"
We are well aware that not every NU student participated in these events, or was out in the neighborhood, but the reality is that you ALL are being painted with the same brush. The actions of a few, or a few hundred, impact thousands of NU students- for this year, and for several years in the future. More specifically, the good-will that some of you may have built up thus far may have eroded, and is going to cause the City and University Police to crack down with severe fines and possible arrests for future events such as Homecoming, Halloween, and how we are able to partner with the city for events like Dillo Day next Spring.
Do not let the actions of a percentage of our student body tear down a relationship for the rest of NU. As was communicated to you earlier this fall, you have moved into an Evanston neighborhood - not an extension of the University, so the expectations of what it means to be a neighbor and resident are different than what may be expected on campus. And frankly, the behavior displayed, by some, this past weekend is also unacceptable on campus.
Just as a reminder.... If you are hosting an event, YOU are responsible for having your property, and any public sidewalk, parkway area or neighboring area cleaned by 10am the following morning at the latest. You may also be held responsible for the conduct of your guests. So, if your event has alcohol present, and the police have cause to enter your property, underage students will be subject to citation, and party hosts may be subject to fines or possible arrest for providing alcohol to minors. (It has already happened several times this year to some students, don't be next!) The City is following up with the landlords and property owners of many of the most problematic houses to make them aware of these complaints, and some residents could expect heavy fines or possible eviction by their landlords if these problems persist.
It is my hope that this weekend established a low point for this year, and that we can all learn from this and take active steps to improve how student-neighbors and non-student neighbors can comfortably co-exist in this Evanston neighborhood. The issues of NOISE, TRASH, and CONDUCT persist as our greatest challenges, and the University cannot address these problems alone - it will require the attention of you, NU students, who will be most affected by the outcomes.
Take care of yourself, take care of each other, and take care of our community...
Burgwell J. Howard
Dean of Students
Scott Hall, 36A
601 University Place
Evanston, IL 60208-1002
Pretty amazing. And yes, the color-coding was included in his email. I didn't add those nice little formatting choices. Go U NU!
PS: Northwestern lost the game.
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This post was reprinted with permission from www.thesmogger.com.