Some University of Tampa students host off-campus parties that stir memories of Animal House. Residents who live near them bear the byproducts of the soirees. Hundreds spill out of houses. Trash litters streets, and partygoers with no place to go relieve themselves wherever they can. It's time for an emergency civics lesson: The rules for being a good neighbor apply after dark, too.
A year ago residents in the West Riverfront neighborhood complained to city officials about the wild parties. The university said it would crack down on students who violated conduct codes. It disciplined some, suspended others and encouraged residents to report what they saw. For a while things got better. But the parties resumed in August, prompting a fresh round of complaints. Now the parties have moved to North Hyde Park, another neighborhood near the university.
An urban campus, the University of Tampa stretches into residential and commercial areas. The school should continue to hold its students accountable and put teeth in its warnings. Its reputation and, in some ways, its future depends on it. If not, the next time the school needs community support for a new project, it may find the public's memory and sense of civic responsibility trumps the students it serves.