East Campus residents examine neighborhood issues

Some residents believe students on East Campus are nuisances.

Some MU students living in the East Campus neighborhood are having a negative impact on the community, residents said in a meeting with the Office of Neighborhood Services on Monday.

The ONS, according to the its mission statement, was created in the fiscal year 2010 budget as a way to strengthen communities and deal with enforcement issues.

Trash left by college students in the neighborhood is a big problem, East Campus resident Brian Slind said.

"College students need to be responsible and pick up after themselves," he said. "My yard is not their garbage dump."

East Campus Neighborhood Association President Bonnie Bourne said that problem affects the perception of the community.

"The impression that people get when there's trash all over the place is that this is a trashy neighborhood," she said.

The East Campus neighborhood borders Broadway, College Avenue, Rollins Road and Cliff Drive.

Besides general concerns about city regulations and their enforcement, the ECNA complained about vandalism, noise levels, trash, fireworks and speeding in the community and pointed to the actions of some students and a lack of connection with the community they live in as the cause.

"Some of them still see their home as where they come from," Bourne said.

Bourne said she received complaints from people in the neighborhood about noise late at night that comes from Beta Theta Pi members living in an apartment complex north of the fraternity.

Beta Theta Pi President Alex Robertson said he was not aware of any wrongdoing by the fraternity in the community and is not aware of any relationship between his organization and ECNA. He said the fraternity supports the community with a variety of service projects, from carving pumpkins with the Boys and Girls Club of America to raising money for the University Hospital multiple sclerosis program.

"We love being on East Campus, and we don't want to be a burden or a nuisance to any of the residents around us," Robertson said.

Bourne said she learned from informal discussion with students that they are also victims of the same problems the whole neighborhood faces and often don't report health and safety concerns in their homes, because they are afraid of retaliation from their landlords.

She said ECNA has tried reaching out to students on East Campus by passing out a welcome letter and inviting them to ECNA meetings but has not received any responses.

ONS manager Leigh Britt said the office held the meeting with ECNA because ONS is a new organization and it wanted to get a feel for the issues neighborhoods face.

"This was not intended to be a public meeting," she said. "It's more of just an opportunity to visit with them an we'll go from there."

Receiving feedback from the citizens is essential in dealing with those problems, Britt said.

"The best way to resolve issues is to have the public communicate with us," she said. "And that can come in any form."

The students who cause problems for the community are in the minority, East Campus resident Janet Hammen said.

For the most part, she enjoys living close to MU and getting to know her collegiate neighbors.

"We wouldn't be living here if we didn't like the students and the vitality," Hammen said.

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