ATHENS, Ohio (March 29, 2004) -- Ohio University and City of Athens officials are working together to develop new approaches designed to limit the difficulties that have risen from inappropriate and illegal behavior by Ohio University students and others during time-change weekend and other occasions during spring quarter. The disturbances have occurred primarily uptown and at off-campus house parties.
"Most of our students behave responsibly, but, unfortunately, the actions of a few have created a safety risk to others and a black eye for the entire community," Ohio University President Robert Glidden said. "We are working with individuals across campus and the City of Athens to develop educational and enforcement measures to curb this type of irresponsible behavior that has plagued the community in the past. Our first step is to make certain that students understand what types of actions are intolerable and the possible ramifications of those actions."
The university is taking an aggressive educational approach to apprise students of what constitutes risky behavior and the consequences of misbehavior. Letters were recently sent to the parents and guardians of all Ohio University students asking their assistance in encouraging students to make wise decisions. A series of Frequently Asked Questions regarding the pitfall of participating in civil disturbances is being distributed to on-campus and off-campus students in a number of ways. Both documents are available online at www.ohio.edu/notifications/.
Besides criminal proceedings, Ohio University students whose conduct violates the university's Student Code of Conduct face possible action from University Judiciaries, and disciplinary actions range from a letter of reprimand to possible expulsion from the university, depending on consequences surrounding the irresponsible action. Additionally, House Bill 95 can result in the withholding of some financial aid from students convicted of certain crimes related to rioting.
Members of the Athens Police Department and Ohio University Police Department continue to cooperate in providing an increased presence in the uptown area.
"It is important for the community and university to work together to solve their common challenges," Athens Mayor Ric Abel said. "We will continue to cooperate to design proactive approaches to curb the risk of future trouble."
The initiatives augment the efforts of the Task Force on Civic Responsibility, a task force of approximately 20 community and university members, which began meeting in March with a goal of developing effective short and long-term approaches to limit difficulties stemming from inappropriate and illegal behavior.
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