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ISSUE 119 VOL 8 PUBLISHED 11/11/2005

Officials act against noise

By Jean Mullins
Executive Editor


Friday, November 11, 2005

The Northfield community, the Northfield police and Mayor Lee Lansing are taking action to curb the parties and noise pollution of St. Olaf and Carleton students living off campus.

The police will begin more stringently enforcing noise ordinances, underage drinking and open container laws.

The rumor of a proposal that would go through the city council restricting the number of unrelated persons living in one house from five to two is false, according to Dan Olson, the Northfield city planner.

Olson said that the rumor may have sprung from talks between the mayor, the police chief and St. Olaf representatives, during which the mayor reminded the St. Olaf representatives of the current law that restricts the number of unrelated residents living in one house to five. There is currently no proposal in planning to restrict that number further.

Students caught by the police for any of these offenses will face repercussions at St. Olaf as well. After the first citation, the college will suspend students for five days from non-academic activities.

Students would not be able to participate in music, sports or other activities. After a second citation, students face a five-day academic suspension.

Of the 206 students living off campus this fall, Derek Attema ‘'06, the Student Government Association (SGA) off-campus senator, reported that approximately five houses are the source of the complaints.

Attema has been talking regularly with Lansing, Gary Smith, the Northfield police chief, and Dean of Students Greg Kneser about the complaints, and is setting up a meeting soon to inform those students living off campus about these talks.

Kneser emphasized that many of the problems between students and their neighbors can be remedied. "[These problems] are just unnecessary and easily corrected if people use a little common sense," he said.

Attema agreed, saying, "I think that [communication with neighbors] would solve the majority of problems.”

Attema noted that sometimes neighbors are intolerant of any noise, even if it is not that loud.

Kneser cited an increase in students living off campus in residential areas and the unresponsiveness of landlords as the root cause of these problems. "The rental landscape has changed," he said.

There have been reports in past years of students living off campus who have a few friends over and uninvited people arrive, turning a gathering into a raging party. However, Kneser said that this sort of thing happens every year.

"As much as you think people would know different, it happens," he said.

Kneser also pointed out that there are students who want to have big parties. "It's hard to reach this crowd because it seems they don't care a whole lot," he said.

Both Kneser and Attema remain hopeful that this problem will not escalate to the point of the city restricting the number of non-related people living in one house. Both encourage communication between students and their neighbors.

"I think that we are moving in the right direction," Kneser said.





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