Miami University representatives joined Oxford City Council for a work session to outline the school’s Good Neighbor Policy.
“Many times, our students need to know how to be a good neighbor. They have a lot of visibility when they have those parties, especially in the Mile Square,” said Rebecca Baudry-Young, Miami University’s director of student wellness in the student affairs office. “Litter violations and noise violations come out of these things, all on the community side.”
Part of the Good Neighbor Policy, which is included in Miami’s student code of conduct, is a three-strikes policy that is still being worked out, she said.
Hosts of a party that violates the policy are sent a letter on a first offense, outlining the policy and explaining how such behavior reflects on the student body. A second offense brings a call to the host to come in and discuss the problem face-to-face.
Determining what action will be taken against a student for a third violation is still under development, Baudry-Young said.
Council members had a few suggestions for the university.
“Fines do not mean anything to (the students). Hold their diplomas,” council member Kevin McKeehan said.
Council member Glenn Ellerbe suggested fines in rising amounts prorated on academic standing, such as $1,000 for freshmen and rising to $4,000 for seniors.
Council member Edna Southard suggested the possibility of community mentors who would meet with students and work with them on becoming more responsible members of the community.
Council member Steve Dana echoed that suggestion, saying he has some experience with mentoring.
“It is really neat to be in the position of mentor,” Dana said.
Police Chief John Jones cautioned council members and university representatives about too-strict enforcement and issuing of citations. He said letters and counseling-type meetings were good.
“This is more than the university has done in 15 years to address litter and noise violations,” Jones said. “I would be cautious about overreacting. From a police perspective, I do not want them fearful of us. We’re talking about symptoms of a problem. Drinking issues are another level.”
Dr. Mike Curme, associate vice president and dean of students at Miami, said the school is looking at ways to further link students to the community for positive interaction. For example, he said, they have been talking to the city’s visitors bureau about extending its summer concert series through September.
Curme said the university is also working on a party registration program. Students who register and complete a program could receive some perks at their off-campus home, such as local merchants providing water or snacks, he said.
“We’re trying to figure what’s in it for them. What’s in it for us to get parties registered and the training,” Curme said.
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BY THE NUMBERS
90 litter violations during the fall semester last year
30 noise violations during the fall semester last year
47 litter violations during the spring semester
97 noise violations during the spring semester
Source: Miami University