Cleaning up neighborhoods around UW

There's nothing wrong with having fun during college. What's wrong is confusing normal partying with the fights, drug deals, date rapes and riots that have become expected in neighborhoods around our colleges and universities.

The riot this October is only the latest reminder that yes, we have a problem.

The families who live in those neighborhoods are right to expect a solution to the noise and mayhem. The students who are trying to get some sleep and an education deserve a solution.

So let's talk about fixing this.

Right now, the only solution comes from cops and courts. It's no surprise that this approach doesn't solve the problem. This problem is different. You can't fix things by sending hundreds of students to prison.

First, the City of Seattle must start enforcing housing codes about how many people can live in each rented apartment or house. Overcrowding is a big part of this issue.

Second, I'm introducing common-sense legislation to clean up the neighborhoods around our state colleges and universities. If this reform becomes law, we'd have a tool to prevent some of these problems.

Here's how the reform would work: If a student living off-campus is cited or convicted for breaking a law and that conduct hurts the neighborhood or the university, then the university can levy sanctions on that student - including probation, suspension or expulsion. This will work because the bad apples who ignore the law often ignore a $100 fine. They can't ignore getting suspended or kicked out of college.

Those bad apples living off campus aren't just ruining neighborhoods. They're also giving students a bad name and hurting the reputation of our universities and colleges.

I think it's time for solutions.

Edward B. Murray is the state representative for the 43rd District. He may be reached at 720-3074, or via e-mail, at

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