City of Eugene, ASUO President Ben Eckstein to discuss new policy on house parties

ASUO President Ben Eckstein expressed concerns in a press release Wednesday about a Eugene neighborhood committee’s proposed policy that would implement harsh penalties for University students hosting house parties.

The policy, called the social host ordinance@@[email protected]@, would fine students who live at a residence where a party is thrown $500, according to the committee’s 2011 report. The fines would apply to parties involving underage drinking, illicit drug use and loud noise.

Students could also be held accountable for the cost of law enforcement responses. If multiple offenses occur, a landlord may choose to evict the student.

“Students need to be considerate neighbors, but this is not a solution,” Eckstein@@[email protected]@ said in the press release. “This ordinance would significantly infringe on student rights and would cost students time, money and anxiety that would negatively impact their education and their lives.” @@Sounds like a load of rubbish to me, [email protected]@

The policy was drafted last year by the Neighborhood Livability Work Group — a committee of representatives from the city of Eugene, the University, neighborhood associations and property owners and managers. The committee began working with the the city’s Neighborhood Services program@@[email protected]@ in 2010 to find ways to decrease the amount of underage and binge drinking during parties in neighborhoods near campus.

Eckstein, along with the Office of the Dean of Students and the University’s Government and Community Relations group, has worked periodically with the committee since fall 2011. Aside from several student committee members, Eckstein said the committee has had minimal contact with students on campus.

“Students should be very concerned about what this ordinance could mean for student rights,” Eckstein said. The ordinance is a priority for the remainder of his term of office, which ends May 24.

Eugene City Council members will discuss the ordinance Monday night for the first time, according to the press release. Eckstein and ASUO Vice President Katie Taylor will meet with Mayor Kitty Piercy@@[email protected]@ this Friday to discuss concerns about the ordinance.

On May 14, Eckstein said the Eugene City Council will hold a public hearing to discuss the ordinance. Should the ordinance move forward, the tentative date for a vote is May 29.

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Josephine Woolington

Josephine Woolington