Local universities responsible for off-campus students

By Heather DiLalla
September 26, 2002

The Philadelphia City Council recently approved a bill designed to limit the number of off-campus parties that cause various misdemeanors. A large number of students in West Philadelphia will be affected by the new proposal including St. Joseph’s University and Philadelphia University.

The bill requires students who live off- campus to provide universities and colleges with their local addresses. The universities will then be liable for the fines and other penalties if a student violates any of the following: noise, property, littering, zoning laws, public drunkenness and illegal parties. The bill applies to full-time undergraduates who are under the age of 23.

“I think that mature adults who decide to be independent and choose to live off- campus, should not get their school in trouble by their own poor actions. The cops might as well call your parents and get them in trouble for your actions as well,” freshman Jenn Taggart said.

Dr. Richard Neville, vice president of Student Activities said “The law may be unsuitable and unjust for not only the students but for the colleges. The new bill is unlikely to affect those who have off-campus houses at Cabrini College.

Neville explained, “In order for Cabrini to be affected, it would have to be done by Radnor and we have a very good relationship with them, so it is doubtful.”

Michael A. Nutter, the councilman who represents the district of St Joseph’s and Philadelphia University, was the man who introduced the bill. He feels that it “is more than fair” and that it acknowledges the rights of students along with homeowners and universities,” Neville said.

“In my opinion, the law is not appropriate. The universities and colleges should cooperate and do their best to help the students be more responsible. However, schools should not be held responsible for the young adults who choose to live off-campus,” said Neville.

Jannie L. Blackwell, who represents the district of the University of Pennsylvania, Drexel University and the University of Sciences, was the only council member to vote against the bill. She said the bill oversteps the bounds of good government. Blackwell was able to talk Nutter into applying the bill only to his district.

“Students who live and attend universities have to abide by the rules of the city, county and state, and to have to abide by the rules of that city, county and state, and to add more legislation is repetitive and unnecessary,” Blackwell said.

Larger schools such as St Joseph’s University have many students living in off-campus housing. As a result, there are many problems that arise which need to be addressed. Late-night fraternity parties mixed with loud, obscene and intoxicated young adults have a tendency to conflict with surrounding neighbors.

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Heather DiLalla

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