Cheryl Adelstein, Director of Community Relations and Local Government AffairsAshley Swanson Hoye, Residential Community Director. Residential lifeJennifer Harpring, Program Coordinator, Gephardt Institute and Neighborhood Liaison works in the office of the Dean of Students in the College of Arts and Sciences
Short Background on Washington UniversityUniversity is located in Central St. Louis, is a 160 year old private research based universityWe have about 13000 students and 13000 employees across 5 campusTwo main campuses – Danforth and Medical CenterWe have 90 programs and 1500 courses and we are Division 3– with a strong athletic program, active Greek Community and more the 250 student groups for our 6500 undergradsOur students and faculty come from 50 states and more than 110 countriesAbout 10 years ago we added “in St. Louis to our name to differentiate use from the more than 15 university's with similar names like:George Washington UniversityUniv. of WashingtonWashington State UWashington CollegeUniv. of Mary WashingtonWashington and LeeWashington and Jefferson
Beautiful Collegiate Gothic Campus, about 5 miles from downtown St. LouisYou can see the Gateway Arch in the distanceThis campus was developed around the turn of the 20th century and it was first used at the offices of the 1904 Worlds Fair. It was also the home of the 1904 Olympic games, and the track and the Fieldhouse are sill used today.
Nestled in a residential communityPart of 4 different local governments = St. Louis County, St. Louis City, Clayton and University CityCompact and walk-able campusBecause it small and self contained, and also architecturally unified its often referred to as the WU bubble6500 undergraduates – we can house 4000 on campusPlus 6500 graduate students – who live throughout the St. Louis community That means daily about 3000 people a day walk/bike to campus, through neighborhoods around the University to get campusPart of our challenge as staff is to help our students be aware of their surrounding and to “Think Beyond the Bubble”University is land locked, and as indicated, many of our students live off campus, traditionally in neighborhoods east and north of the Danforth Campus.During the 1980’s and 1990’s these neighborhoods began to change, more absentee owners, less property maintenance, more incidence of crime.The University made a decision in about 2000 to start purchasing property off campus in three neighborhoods. Two primary goalsNeighborhood stabilization – increase investment in targeted properties to incentivize other property owners to do soIncrease safety and security by making infrastructure investments and providing campus policing resources
Another contextual area to point out is the significance of the Delmar LoopThe Loop was the terminus of Trolley Line which connected the City of St. Louis to the inner ring suburbs. A “downtown” for University City developed around The Loop.The last trolley car stopped in the early 1960’s and like so many other downtowns, the Loop began to decline in the 60’s and 70’s.
The Delmar LoopThrough the work of may dedicated entrepreneurs and the active management and participation of both the University City and St. Louis local governments, the Loop came back.By the mid 1990’s the Loop was considered a cool, hip urban destination and in 2007, it was designated one of the 10 great streets in American by the American Planning Association.This six block area is filled with restaurants, eclectic shops, bars, arts galleries and live music venues. It is a major attraction and walking destination for Washington University students.
While we have students in several neighborhoods, focus of this discussion is on two adjoining neighborhoodsRosedale Heights and Ames Place Rosedale Heights have chanced over time from a more diverse rental neighborhood to primarily student neighborhood – there is still a small enclave of single family homes and a few apartment building have been turned into condominiums.University owns about 1/3 of the buildings in this neighborhood – we have good ability to control behavior in buildings we own, not so much in buildings we don’t own. Most of the rest of individually owned, and there are two major property managers that run a number of the buildings.Ames Places – private subdivision with large single family homes. Many university faculty live in the neighborhood.Changes to Ames Places as a result of Metro Link construction and student travel patterns.On campus housing patterns changes as well – with development of more undergraduate house in the southwest corner of campus, closest to these neighborhoods.
Another view of the neighborhoodsPoint out the travel patterns – Greenway walk – a designated walkway which is regularly patrolled and well lit. It is the recommended, but not always the preferred walkway for students
As nature of the neighborhood and the transportation patterns have changes, there has been a consistent series of neighborhood complaintsNoise – students congregating in alleys, and public space, all times of day and night – brick buildings carry the soundOff Campus parties and the traffic back and forthTrash – party debris, trash along the sidewalks, vandalism and public urinationThruway – neighborhood as a short cut – not using the walk because of where they are headed to parties and to The Loop – funnel to one point in the Ames Place neighborhood.Hard to cite students, because the time someone get there, students are gone.Complaint's are often greatest at the beginning of the school year and when the weather turns nice in the spring – go through a difficult period ever year until the weather turns or the school work starts to pile up.When we got complaints, we advised residents to Call the Police – with the hope of getting citations, arrests, which would lead to campus judicial review
Over the years, the University has worked collaboratively with University City Police Department to put numerous measures in place to assist with these student behavior issuesNSP from 6 -2, 7 days a week, 365 a yearExtended patrols until 4 am TH – S during peak academic periodsDedicated SO for the Greenway walks 6 -2 7 days a weekOfficer and sergeant in the neighbors 365 days a yearJoint Bike PatrolsCCTV and Blue Light phonesResponse to calls in the neighborhoodsInformation sharing meetingsEven with this level of sharing, the noise and other problems persisted
This brings us to the 2009-2010 academic school yearNoise started early before the school year even began and lasted longer into the fallIt started right back up around MLK Day – 500 person partyThe neighborhood e-mail went nuts = large group of neighbors cc city, manager, mayor, city council people along with University Representatives = daily, nasty, personal – called for actionThis led to Two community meetings called by U City Police Department – WU was the only property owner to attendAt this same time, there was a upcoming municipal election. The local council member was running in a tightly contested race for Mayor. He wanted to be responsive to community requests for actions.This led to Spring 2010: Strong code enforcement of nuisance ordinances resulting in student arrests (for parties, noise, alcohol)The neighbors called this ZERO TOLERANCE
Continued escalation with strong code enforcement = patrols of the streets, breaking up parties, pouring out beveragesLead to a student protest at City Council, cries of police abuse and retaliatory actionsNeighbors felt empowered – would not talk to or work with the students – Keep Zero Tolerance at all costUniversity represented received many angry calls from parents – asking why the University was protecting their students from arrestsThe University took several actions during this time periodTrash and Litter (recycling and move-out)Noise and Behavior – unprecedented communications to on and off campus studentsCounsel students on how to get along with their neighbors,But in reality, we needed to Wait out until the end of the semester – and put together a concerted effort to change the culture of the students living in this neighborhood.
Neighborhood Liaison<br /><ul><li> University supported staff member lives in </li></ul> the neighborhood<br /><ul><li> Responsible for neighborhood events, </li></ul> communication with <br /> students and neighbors, <br /> and convening <br /> community council<br /><ul><li> Eyes and ears on the </li></ul> ground<br />
Neighborhood Council and Events<br /><ul><li>Neighborhood Liaison facilitated monthly dialogue meetings through the Neighborhood Voice Community Council
Neighborhood Voice has sponsored 2 block parties and a “Winter Wonderland” celebration</li></li></ul><li>Communication with Neighbors<br /><ul><li> Direct mailing to neighbors regarding </li></ul> neighborhood events<br /><ul><li> Neighborhood Liaison meets with </li></ul> neighbors<br /><ul><li> Neighborhood Voice meetings (other </li></ul> organizations using this as a mechanism <br /> for communication)<br />
Increased Police Presence<br /><ul><li> Washington University Police provided extra </li></ul> patrols on weekends<br /><ul><li> Strain on the police department
Relationship with University City Police Department</li></li></ul><li>What We’ve Learned<br /><ul><li> Parties work! Neighborhood celebrations have </li></ul> been successful<br /><ul><li> Communication helps: Neighbors appreciate </li></ul> knowing about big campus events and <br /> participating in problem-solving <br /> (Move out example)<br /><ul><li> Students are hard to engage: we’ve had a small </li></ul> group of dedicated students, it is our goals to <br /> increase that next year<br />
Next Steps<br /><ul><li> Continue with Neighborhood Liaison position and </li></ul> Neighborhood Voice meetings<br /><ul><li> Increase student representation
Engage a student counterpart to </li></ul> Neighborhood Liaison <br /><ul><li> Develop “Building Representative” position