BY THE MICHIGAN DAILY
Published November 11, 2010
Game day at the Big House is an experience unlike any other. But for many students, football Saturdays start down the street at friends’ pre-game parties. This tradition is especially strong in the University’s Greek community and the 900 block of State Street. But recently, students have claimed that the Ann Arbor Police Department is unfairly targeting them with noise and trash citations. A meeting last week between AADP and students aimed to curb the number of tickets issued. AAPD and the student community must work together to ensure proper compliance with city ordinances.
On Nov. 5, AAPD Deputy Chief John Seto met with members of the Michigan Student Assembly and the Interfraternity Council — the governing body of campus fraternities — to discuss what constitutes legitimate cause for police presence at game day parties. Students sought to find ways to stem what they allege is a recent increase in ticketing and to determine how their parties are being assessed for noise and trash violations. A common complaint among students is that they are not given sufficient time to clean up before being ticketed. Peri Silverman, the vice chair of the Greek Relations Select Committee, said in a Nov. 7 Daily article that "people aren't able to gauge the situation."
It’s in the best interest of city residents for students to follow ordinances, rather than giving them tickets to create easy cash flow. A crucial step to solving the problem of tickets is for students to understand Ann Arbor city ordinances. Students have an obligation as Ann Arbor residents to follow city laws. But student turnover is constant on campus, making it difficult to be knowledgeable on all laws. The police should also work with students to educate them on city rules.
Students and AAPD should strive to create a spirit of cooperation and compliance. Police should permit students a reasonable amount of time to clean up their yards rather than immediately issuing tickets. AAPD could warn students that their party is getting too chaotic and give them an opportunity to correct this problem before writing them up. A loud and busy environment on campus is the reality of a college town. AAPD needs to be understanding of that and work with students rather than hastily penalizing them.
Of course, there will always be students who, even when granted sufficient time, fail to clean their yards. Since the majority of students rent their homes, they don’t feel as much responsibility for their property. But this mentality is unacceptable. Students have an obligation to respect and follow Ann Arbor laws. Cooperation is a two-way street. Students can’t expect leniency or understanding from AAPD or Ann Arbor residents if they won’t obey laws and work with the city.
While AAPD must enforce the rules, maintaining a cooperative relationship with the student body is in everyone’s best interest. AAPD should work with the IFC and MSA to clearly establish guidelines for reasonable enforcement of city ordinances.