Creighton’s newly formed Town and Gown Committee began discussions regarding what is now known as the “Good Neighbor Policy” during July 2018.
The committee’s purpose, according to their mission statement, is “to lead efforts with our students helping them understand [how to] have personal responsibility and accountability when living off campus.”
The policy reiterates that students must adhere to Community Standards both on and off campus. Students that participate in house parties that disturb the neighborhood will be subject to review by the Office of Community Standards and Wellbeing.
The new policy focuses on four aspects of being a good neighbor: promoting
a peaceful and respectful environment, keeping the exterior of your house/apartment tidy, knowing your rights as a citizen of Omaha, and engaging in the greater Omaha community.
The formulation of the Town and Gown Committee, and the ensuing “Good Neighbor Policy,” came from years of reports of distrubances happening off campus.
“One of the things that I have been dealing with for more than a couple of years, probably six or seven and even before that, is reports of things happening off campus that come to our attention,” Desiree Nownes, Senior Director of the Office of Community Standards and Wellbeing, said.
The new policy comes after research into other schools and their handling of students who live off campus.
“We looked at best practices because a lot of other institutions have had those tensions with neighborhoods nearby them and the students and their impact,” said Tanya Winegard, Vice Provost for Student Life.
Instead of focusing on reacting to the reports, the “Good Neighbor Policy” focuses on proactively creating a better relationship between Creighton students and their Omaha neighbors, Winegard said.
The Town and Gown Committee plans to partner with the Student Leadership and Involvement Center to promote being a good neighbor.
“To be a good neighbor means, yeah don’t have a party at 2 a.m., but also introduce yourself, get involved in the neighborhood association, make sure that you know who your neighbors are,” Nownes said.
The policy has been met with criticism by students, ultimately leading to a silent demonstration on Thursday, March 7.
Braden Oldham, a junior in the College of Arts and Sciences, voiced concern, “The policies are going to constrain students to the standard that’s held on campus and then when they move off, it’s like they’re living in the dorms again.”
“We know how much good Creighton students do out in the broader Omaha community and we would rather that be the focus and we think we have a responsibility as an educational institution to educate students on how to be a good neighbor,” said Winegard.