Southeast Como residents are still worried about the unruly behavior of students who live in the neighborhood but have received word that the University of Minnesota will continue to lend its support.
University President Bob Bruininks sent a letter to the Southeast Como Improvement Association in response to a January petition letter that outlined residents’ concerns with public drunkenness, fires, violence and last year’s Dinkytown riots.
The January letter was signed by 91 University faculty, staff, alumni, graduate students and other residents who live near the University.
In his response last week, Bruininks said he sympathizes with residents and hopes to improve the livability in Southeast Minneapolis neighborhoods.
“I understand the deleterious effect these behaviors have on the livability of the community … we continue to search for ways to achieve dramatically better outcomes,” Bruininks said in the letter.
He said the University has recently extended its Student Code of Conduct so that it applies off campus and has provided more than $100,000 to enhance police patrols in neighborhoods near the University.
He added that the University testified in favor of passing the recently adopted social host ordinance, which makes it a misdemeanor to host a party attended by underage drinkers.
James De Sota, neighborhood coordinator for SECIA, said Bruininks’ response was “the letter they had anticipated,” but he was satisfied with its content.
De Sota said the relationship between the neighborhoods and the University has improved dramatically in the last couple years, but he added that there is always room for improvement, especially with the approach of Spring Jam.
He added that though there were no riots in Southeast Como last year, residents were not pleased with students’ behavior during the festivities.
“The general behavior in the neighborhoods was pretty poor,” De Sota said. “Quite a few residents were very disturbed by what happened with some of the larger parties that got out of control.”
De Sota said the neighborhood is working with the University and the Minneapolis Police Department to do a better job of “keeping a lid on things” this year.
“I think a lot of people are kind of in the wait-and-see mode,” he added.
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