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Re-'shape'-ing one's image

Published: Sunday, February 13, 2005

Updated: Monday, February 2, 2009 13:02

Well, I'm back at it again - I have another bone to pick.

This time it's not with the UT administration, but rather the City of Toledo.

Why is the three-unrelated-persons-per-house rule still being upheld?

It seems as though this city's officials are dead set on alienating the student population all in the name of noise violations due to parties - which, by the way, is a ridiculous claim in and of itself.

I have been to many parties held "behind Engineering" and I can tell you there was nothing loud or out-of-control about them.

In fact, I am positive anyone outside of the house would have no idea what was going on inside.

This leads me to believe the City of Toledo is a fan of cutting off its nose despite its face.

For some reason, I can't seem to connect the dots.

Why would Toledo officials enact an ordinance that blatantly disenfranchises the students?

By making it difficult for UT students to live off campus, they are making it hard for students to attend UT.

Toledo officials are going about this in completely the wrong way.

Maybe they should attempt to foster a working relationship among traditional residents and college student residents instead of making an uphill battle for landlords and their college-aged tenants to live in off-campus houses.

Whatever happened to the idea of "if you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours"?

For instance, the UT students living off campus could join together on a Sunday afternoon and shovel the sidewalks for traditional residents.

In return, these traditional residents might understand when their student-neighbor's lawn hasn't been mowed for two weeks - they will know the students are good people, but also busy college students.

No one ever said taking classes and working a job to pay the bills was an easy life with tons of free time left to mow one's lawn.

I think it's time for UT students to band together and deconstruct the terrible image off-campus residents have.

By coming together, students can prove to the traditional residents, as well as the city, we are not just drunken college students that need our music at volume 75 every time we have a few friends over.

A current UT Student Government senator, Ken Nesbett, has stepped up to bat for the off-campus students by creating the Student Housing Alliance for Progress and Equality.

Ken has a lot of good ideas that could help us turn this city ordinance around while making Toledo a much more college-friendly city.

SHAPE is an off-campus student housing organization that wants to challenge the city ordinance limiting the number of unrelated people living in a household and end the unfair targeting of college student homes by law enforcement.

The group hopes to promote an annual series of peaceful block parties in surrounding UT neighborhoods in an effort to improve resident relations in Toledo neighborhoods.

SHAPE wants to appoint student representatives to attend the Toledo City Council Meetings to make student-residents visible to the city officials enforcing ordinances affecting UT students.

SHAPE also wants to start voter registration drives in the neighborhoods surrounding UT - if you don't vote, then the city isn't going to listen to you. It's that simple.

SHAPE has it right - this might just be the organization that can actually turn things around for UT students.

If you want to help, join SHAPE. The next meeting is Wednesday in the Student Union Building's South Lounge at 8:30 p.m.

- Ashley Nickel is an IC columnist and a junior majoring in women's and gender studies and minoring in law and social thought.

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