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BU students, Brookline edge closer to confrontation

BU student government in desperate bid to stave off all-out war; convinces newly formed student militia to hold off any action for at least a week as it tries to meet with Brookline officials:

"If nothing is changed by next weekend, we're going to take a more aggressive approach," Geiss added.

The protests would involve students sitting on their stoops on weekends in Brookline who were not intoxicated to see if Brookline police would take action against any of them.

"If they're confronted by authorities and arrested, it's a clear notion of an abuse of power," she said. "They're trying to scare students to behave, and it's indicative of their police state as whole. To those in power - they are the law."

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'The protests would involve students sitting on their stoops on weekends in Brookline who were not intoxicated to see if Brookline police would take action against any of them.'

Well, go ahead then! Who cares!?!?!

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Sounds like a healthy thing for everybody - sit out on the stoop for an evening, meet the neighbors, be polite and calm and good, and see if the police really will bother well-behaved students.

Unfortunately, the students themselves don't feel they can keep their shit together that long.

Geiss said she originally planned to protest this weekend, but the group decided not to act as a result of the Union's advice.

She added some of the kids clearly "wanted to get rowdy," though.

Damn cops, picking on us like we're drunk and rowdy all the time. Hey, I've got an idea! Let's get drunk and rowdy and go harass the cops!

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If you think the cops are harassing people without reason, and harassing particular people without reason, then put it to a semi-scientific test. Get people out on porches engaging in legal activities and record the interactions. Pool the resulting data and either 1) note that there isn't a case or 2) demonstrate the patterns in the data for all to see.

If they were able to carry this off in a well-documented and well-organized manner, I think it really WOULD put the police on notice and make them think about what they are doing and whether it is justified or biased, as well as provide a healthy form of outreach for the students.

The pull-back from the experiment almost makes me wonder if the students are concerned that they might find out that they are immature privilige brats after all, not an embattled put-upon minority?

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No one should be hassled for no good reason. If you are just sitting smoking and not bothering anybody then nobody should bother you.This is America.If they are violating your rights then expose them.However, if you still have idiots smashing mirrors off cars and pissing in the middle of the street then you get what you deserve, arrested.

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When I was living in an MIT residence in the back bay, we had some of our house members and friends harassed by the BU cops on the street.

The common thread: Melanin! It didn't matter how well dressed the person was (like the guy who had been repeatedly hassled picking up his girlfriend for church!), it smacked of bias.

Never mind that one of the bigger issues in the area was having carloads of little markymark wannabees come in from the suburbs and crank the car stereo while preloading for the Kenmore clubs, getting in fights, pissing on shrubs (and into the windows behind them) and harassing any and all female passerby.

So we did a little experiement with a group of folks and some videotape. People walked down the block and then went and rang the doorbell. Sure enough, our hypothesis was validated: one dark-complected Israely male and black males harassed, one black female harassed, all whites unhassled.

Having a professor turn that tape over to the BUPD (with the threat of releasing it to the local media if they blew us off) got some results.

So I say to these students - go for it! You may be right, and you will have data to make a case if you play your cards well. Extra media bonus points if you get somebody with a condition that makes them slur words or effect an ataxic gate even when sober to get inappropriate attention.

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I think this is the confusion, the kids seem to think they can sit out and talk on their steps all night. I'm pretty sure in Boston at least you're not supposed to make ANY noise after 12. I don't think many people get that. Does anybody know what the law is actually? Maybe it would make sense to communicate the actual law to the students.

Sitting outside talking and laughing even if you're sober still keeps people awake. I think it's still against the law even if you're not drunk or destroying anything.

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My undertanding is 55dB at 100 feet from the source.

12 feet, normal conversation, is 48 dB.

Yelling at 100 feet is 48 dB.

You live in a city, you need to expect some noise at night. Shutting a window and turning on a fan will take care of most situations where noise isn't breaking any laws, but is getting on your nerves.

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That's so pathetic I don't even know where to begin.

It's like canceling a custody hearing because you might not be able to show up sober.

I'm glad to see Brookline taking a hard line against using the metro area as a babysitter for kids arriving with the result of eighteen years of coddling and being told how special and deserving they are.

Welcome to the real world kids, and I don't me a contrived television environment where you can just laze around and party constantly, but the world where you are forced to accommodate the needs of others in society. That's something far more important and valuable than anything your school will ever teach you, and it's time to step up and accept it.

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... but what harm is done to the neighborhood by a student or two sitting on their front porch smoking?

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I have to say, this is one of the weirdest things I have ever heard regarding students in Boston. Its hard to beleive that the Brookline Police are actually shaking people down for no reason. It doesn't help that even someone invovled in the student union - who admirably has devsied a way to put this to the test - comments that some of the students want to get roudy. I would assume that when the Brookline Police arest someone, there is an arrest report indicating what the arest was for. Perhaps the BU student union should seek these from the Brookline Police before determining how to react. This is begining to sound like a situation where there may be a couple of bad actors on both sides of the equation who are reflecting negatively on their respective groups. It may also just be an issue of generational behavior norms conflicting. I have to say, when I was in college I probably had a pretty different idea of what was noisy than I do now. Maybe a community meeting with students and non-students could help resolve this.

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I'm not sure if anyone else has pointed it out in the plethora of commentary and hysteria, but it does take one bad apple to spoil the whole bunch. So how about students try to police themselves? Aside from the issue of Police abuse -- which can not be defended or tolerated in any way -- instead of protesting against the neighbors and the community, why not try to reach out to your fellow students? Try to get a message across that disrespectful behavior in any neighborhood is unwise, uncool and sends the wrong message to the community.

On second thought, forget it.

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One solution would be for the university to make the campus a place for them to go and talk all night, and have sex and drink, so they don't have to move off campus.

I stayed up to 2 a.m. every night in college, not by choice, but because loud students stayed up til 2.

Alternatively the university could become academically demanding so that the kids have to study and can't just fool around all the time.

Finally the students are not the only ones, my yuppie neighbor stayed out on her deck every Thursday til 4:30 all summer. People pick up the habits of stupidity in college and carry them on into a lifetime.

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One solution would be for the university to make the campus a place for them to go and talk all night, and have sex and drink, so they don't have to move off campus.

Why is it anyone but a citizen's own responsibility to behave properly?

These are putative adults we're talking about. Able to vote. Able to sign binding contracts. Able to kill in war. In some cases to buy controlled substances.

If they can't handle being decent neighbors they don't need a babysitter; they need corrective legal action. Hold them accountable for their own behavior, and reinforce 'but I'm a student'/'getting fucked-up is FUN'/'but I'M awake, so why shouldn't I wake up my neighbors' isn't acceptable.

Frankly my view is if they can't behave in public they should forfeit any public funds. No government grants, underwritten loans, student stipends paid from the public purse, etc.

Trash my property, ruin my sleep, shout 'RAPE!' at 4am and think it's funny, I'll happily fuck over your future career that's on my tab.

Sorry if you thought loudly partying all night, puking on the bushes, petty vandalism are part of the school experience. Instead it is being held responsible for your actions as an adult. If you're not ready then you shouldn't be here.

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I like your first idea - students should encourage fellow students to behave respectfully.

And then there are other people who advocate ringing neighbors' doorbells to see how they'll react, which is infantile at best. Glad she no longer lives in my neighborhood. All things considered, Back Bay is pretty quiet and the students keep their partying under control. I've never called the cops nor have I seen cops on my block unless there is road repair.

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I think what the recent comments amount to is that this isn't really a "student" issue but a behavior issue. I too have had my yuppie neighbors wake me up at 4:30 in the morning when someone actually started a fight in the street. I had no problem calling the cops on them. If your going to behave poorly you get what you deserve. On the other hand, if you're talking about people sitting on their porch and talking (not yelling, vomiting, playing music) late into the evening, the best solution is probably just to approach them, explain to them that they are disturbing you, and asking if they will go inside. If they tell you to go screw yourself, there's alaways the cops. To some extent, when you live in a dense city you have to expect that not everyone is going to behave the same, within limits. If you don't let your neighbors know that their behavior is bothering you they probably aren't going to stop doing it. With the exception of the truely bad behavior recounted in some of these posts (ringing doorbells, yelling rape, fighting), most people aren't acting out of malice towards their neighbors.

All of that said, I agree that the universities themselves bear some responsibility for easing the friction between their students and the surrounding neighbors by making sure that they provide enough on-campus housing to accomodate their students. The reason they don't is that is costs money to build and maintain dorms. However, they shouldn't see the surrounding housing stock as the solution to the cost. One way to address this would be to charge the univsersities every time a 911 call was necessary to intervene in student misconduct. It would make the universities culpable not only for building more housing, but also give them an incentive to encourage good behavior from their students.

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Amen!

One thing I'd like to point out; the universities are trying to build more dorms, but thier neighboors keeps shooting them down. Roxbury residents don't want Northeastern moving in, but they won't allow Northeaster to build upwards either (there is one building going up currently, but it surely isn't enough). Beacon Hill residents don't want students living in thier condos, but they also don't want to let Suffolk build a dorm. It's a Catch-22 that results in the students in the neighborhoods pissing everyone off.

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The dorms that Northeastern is currently building in Roxbury will house 1200 students with plans for another dorm for 600. Plus all the dorms that line Columbus Ave. It's not that Roxbury doesn't want or won't allow Northeastern to expand into residential neighborhoods, it's more that Northeastern is a crappy corporate neighbor - they prefer to go running to the BRA for closed door meetings about expansion approval without input from area residents.

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They don't propose to tear down anything -- just build on parking lots that they already own, which are currently a blight rather than an asset to the neighborhoods.

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Villainous Northeastern is buying up buildings at gunpoint from property owners who would really prefer to rent their space at below-market rates to poor and working-class folks in the neighborhood, but can't fight the soulless corporation that continues propping up the capitalist system by training future entrepreneurs to go out and buy up other buildings in other poor neighborhoods around the globe, perpetuating this cycle of hate ...

Or, huh, maybe not.

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If they bought those parking lots for cheap from the city, then it's likely that there are restrictions on how high/how much. If they want to alter those usage restrictions, that might be why the meetings with the BRA. Times change, demographics change... What might have been a barren wasteland then may have different considerations now.

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This city is saturated with student housing. If there's a student housing crunch and there's no appropriate place to build, then universities should consider building dorms beyond Boston and its immediate surroundings and provide reliable transportation for students.

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You really think that the suburbs would stand for it?? Oh, no..those towns would immediately start a NIMBY campaign, and they'd win, because they've got much,much more clout. Maybe the universities and colleges in this area should consider cutting down somewhat on their annual student enrollment, and have students wait-listed for the following year in the event that there's no more room for the immediate following fall. What's so terrible about having to wait a year before going off to college? There are an awful lot of students who're probably better off putting it off for a year anyway, so they can learn something about living in a not-so-gentle world and realize that they can't just go out and do whatever the hell they please any old time they feel like it, if one gets the drift.

The fact the the colleges and universities are so into making money hand over fist contributes to the problem tremendously, imho.

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Olin College.

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Citation:

See:

Newton Campus, Boston College

http://www.bc.edu/admission/undergrad/process/tips...

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"it does take one bad apple to spoil the whole bunch. So how about students try to police themselves? "

This above-mentioned quote from your post says it in a nutshell, Fornya. Even if it's just a handful of students who get out of control, the other students who don't act like that are obligated to keep the rowdies in their midst in line.

Unfortunately, however, the troublemakers don't have to be in the majority to present a problem. It takes only one or two bad apples to get every else jacked up and rarin' to go, and to incite others into acting that way.

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I've lived in the same Roxbury neighborhood for almost 10 years now and have watched as Northeastern has slowly crept in to the point that I am now flanked by students. Possibly we are lucky, but so far I have mostly made friends with the students that live near me.

There have been some rowdy parties, but what I do is that when new tenants move in I try to meet them and swap numbers with them. When the noise gets out of control, I give them a call or text them and things usually calm down. We share a wall that is apparently made out of paper - so if they are partying early in the am, then so am I.

There's only been one time that the party got really out of control. I called the BPD party line. I called the police. Other neighbors called the police. Then another neighbor rang their bell to tell them to shut it down, only to be told to f-off.

So the next day I went next door and spoke to the tenants personally. I explained that partying until 4am, throwing 16 oz red cups into my garden, having people jump my fence to throw footballs around, screaming expletives at my elderly widowed neighbor, was completely unacceptable behavior. I also called their landlady and boy was she pissed since she specifically added a no-party clause to the addendum and included a part where she says she could evict them if they get an excessive noise complaint after midnight!

I told that the next time that happened I would call the landlady at 4am and have her deal with it, and I would call Northeastern's Office of Student Affairs (or something like that) and have them talk to the student about the rules of conduct for living off campus. And I would call the police as would all the other neighbors.

They were really apologetic and said that the hosts/tenants had gotten really drunk and passed out and that people they didn't know had shown up and been the rowdy ones. I actually think that they are really nice people and I believe that they didn't mean for things to get so out of control. Then I gave them some fresh made banana bread and we all still get along.

I do wish that the students up the street were as approachable. They throw their garbage out on the street anytime and when they were ticketed for putting out garbage on the wrong day, one of the kids got mad and ripped a bag of garbage open on someone's car. They have parties from Thursday to Sunday and the police have cited them several times for excessive noise. The landlord is now working with Northeastern to find a solution so that maybe they can be moved onto campus instead, but they don't want to go. It's just a matter of time before they are either arrested or evicted or both.

That's sad, and they definitely give all students a bad name.

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So to protest police action against them for not behaving, the students are going to behave? Brilliant!

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The kids have a Web page.

Nice use of black-power raised fists. The "SPEAK UP so the old folks can hear you" slogan is an added bonus. But, guys, it's really hard to get terrified at the thought of a growling Boston terrier that looks like it's running away from home:

Sheesh
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If the old folks couldn't hear them, there wouldn't be a problem.

Suldog
http://jimsuldog.blogspot.com

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Terrierists!

If their "elderly" neighbors couldn't hear them ... why are they complaining about noise????

Just a hint of clue and maturity might help.

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The group has a Facebook page (shh, fogies aren't allowed in), where I read:

So...although we wont have a formal protest this Friday night, several of us (hopefully you too) will be out there "quietly observing" Brookline PD's interaction with students: gathering stories, dressed to impress, and essentially, facing arrest for mere information gathering. A loophole. Thus, by the mere collection of data to present for the following week you have become a martyr for your cause and another case to present for a blatant abuse of power.

And what then?

If at the end of next week, nothing has happened yet, or if any of us get arrested this weekend: Brookline can consider it "on." Because I don't know about you, but I don't personally want to relate to a city who condones unconstitutional behavior. And I won't see anymore students, or human beings, treated this way.

A helpful note to the kids (no, really). Brookline is a "town." It doesn't have a "city council." The elected adults on the Board of Selectmen you're going to be dealing with will be more impressed if you can get that straight.

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They may also want to "work" on their "use" of unnecessary "quotation marks."

I sincerely hope whoever wrote that isn't an English major.

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The BU Union released the statement below on their website. I think its important for everyone to realize that there are students here who are looking to work this out. From what I understand, the students who plan on protesting from "Bring BU Back" aren't even residents of Brookline.

It seems like these Union kids have the right idea...
--

The Student Union is taking steps to develop lasting relationships
between the student body and the Brookline community. We feel that this is crucial in resolving the issue we currently face. On Tuesday night, we began a dialogue with the Brookline Police Department, and plan to expand this dialogue to include our neighbors - the residents of Brookline.

As we move forward, we will be inviting student residents of Brookline to an open forum to express their sentiments. We will also be welcoming all residents of Brookline to meet with students and express their concerns, in hopes that we can settle on common ground and foster a united community.

As your undergraduate student government, we see it as our duty to pursue this matter and improve the quality of life for all residents of Brookline- students and non-students alike. This matter is currently the most pertinent issue that the Union is addressing, and where we are focusing our resources and efforts. Right now, we are asking the BU community for their trust.

We are confident that BU students will conduct themselves with the utmost dignity to reflect the strength of our community and respect for our neighbors.

There is a link to it here: http://www.bu.edu/phpbin/news-cms/news/?dept=1088&...

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Thanks for posting.

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...

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while it's true that not all students get falling-down drunk and act destructive, they bring this kind of situation on themselves by not doing anything to keep the students who do get falling-down drunk and engage in destructive, disruptive behaviour in line. Moreover, when they continue to yell
"discrimination", they make a mockery of the laws that are in place to protect people who really do need protection against civil rights abuses.

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