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XU and Norwood Police hold forum for students

By Molly Boes
On October 5, 2011

On Oct. 3, a small group of students met with police officers,

a lawyer and a landlord to discuss the topic of off-campus housing and the relationship between students, officers and landlords. Christopher Kneflin, a lawyer who will be available for students to consult with several hours every

week, was the moderator. Sergeant Vickers from the Norwood police department, along with Sergeant Grossman from the Xavier Campus police station, represented the two departments at the forum. Erik Zimmerman, a local landlord, was also present. The forum opened with a discussion concerning general tips about choosing off-campus housing, including the importance of

choosing your landlord and roommates wisely, recognizing

that a lease is a contractual agreement and the keeping

your property in good working condition. " I t ' s very important who you pick for your roommates because, ultimately, their actions affect you," Vickers said. "You're responsible for your lifestyle." All four members of the forum

stressed the importance of reading a lease thoroughly and

making an effort to choose a landlord that will not be absent

to ensure the safety and quality of your household. The topic of large house parties was also raised. Vickers

said that the police have a zero tolerance policy regarding excessive parties. He also stressed that whoever lives in the household that threw the party is responsible

for all attendees even after they have left the house.

"[The Norwood police] don't go out looking for parties, they come across them," Grossman said. Both sergeants encouraged students who live off-campus to connect

with their neighbors so that if the neighbors do have a concern considering excessive noise they will be more likely to approach them directly as opposed to calling

the police. When the department is called, they have to go and investigate the house. If it is a first offense and the offenders are polite and cooperative with the officers, they are able to get off with a warning, whereas if the occupants of the house are uncooperative and rude, they can be arrested. Students are granted one warning per school year before they are liable for being arrested or fined.

The punishment for underage drinking can vary from up to 180 days in jail to up to a $1000 fine. Another topic raised at the forum was the foot patrols done by the Norwood police officers. The foot patrol was started about two years ago in an effort to decrease crime on the west side of Norwood.

After the success of this initial patrol, the department decided to expand the program to the rest of Norwood, including the southern part near campus.

"The main purpose of the foot patrol is to increase community relations," Vickers said. "The second

is to decrease crime." Xavier officers have been unable

to participate in foot patrols in Norwood neighborhoods because of a lack of man-power, but Vickers plans on proposing the idea of doing joint patrols with one Xavier and one Norwood officer. Attendants were also informed that a Safety Team Part Two is being formed to follow in the footsteps of the original Safety Team. For more information on off-campus housing and questions to ask a potential landlord, contact Grossman or visit www.studentlegalrights.

org, a website made by Ohio University that lists the legal rights of students.

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