Our view: Embrace our 'college-town' identity
A week and a half ago, college students poured back into the Twin Ports -- and immediately butted heads with locals. Some University of Minnesota Duluth students carried on a tradition by lining the streets to campus -- beverages and placards in ...
A week and a half ago, college students poured back into the Twin Ports -- and immediately butted heads with locals. Some University of Minnesota Duluth students carried on a tradition by lining the streets to campus -- beverages and placards in hand -- enthusiastically welcoming classmates new and old. A few of the placards, however, were as adult-oriented as the students' beverages, prompting objections from a few adults in the community.
Informed of the objections, one student said bluntly, "Duluth does not like college students."
That weekend, Duluth Police deployed extra officers to look for and to break up parties in campus-area neighborhoods. They busted up 26 parties, ticketed 25 college students for underage drinking and nicked others for disorderly conduct, fleeing on foot, damaging property, public urination and other offenses. The crackdown continued late last week and into this weekend, with Duluth officers joined by campus police and state patrol.
Why does it have to be like this?
Not so much the police activity; students should obey laws and be respectful of neighbors, just like everyone else. And they should pay the price when they don't act like the grownups they are.
Why, school year after school year, does there always seem to be an us vs. them vibe? The community vs. the college students? Why is the spotlight so often on negatives when we all know only a small percentage of college students ever cause problems?
Perhaps most critically of all, why are some students, like the one quoted by the News Tribune on UMD Move-In Day, left with the impression we don't like them?
Because we do like them. Don't we? Don't our local colleges -- including UMD, the College of St. Scholastica, the University of
Wisconsin-Superior and Lake Superior College -- give us arts and athletics facilities we otherwise wouldn't have and couldn't enjoy or use? Don't the college's research arms, libraries and other amenities enrich our community in ways that couldn't be matched? What about the vibrancy and energy that comes from having more than 22,000 young people annually descend upon the ports? Imagine the din of dull without them.
In the coming weeks, the News Tribune Opinion page hopes to look more closely at our sometimes-uneasy campus-community relations and why we struggle to admit, and embrace, the reality: We are a college community.
And we always have been, as the capsules of history on today's page detail, ever since 1892 when the first bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Duluth invited nuns to open a motherhouse and academy here.
Our higher-ed roots run deep. Why don't we more readily embrace and celebrate that?
What do you think?
Are we a college town?
Is that good or bad?
What are your experiences living near students? Or living near grumpy old neighbors? Feel free to weigh in on the News Tribune Opinion page's
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