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Message on Housing from Dean of Students

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January 27, 2011

Following is a message from Northwestern University Dean of Students Burgwell Howard

Dear Students:

The City of Evanston today announced that it does not plan to enforce more strictly a city ordinance prohibiting more than three unrelated persons living in the same apartment or house. The City has no plans to evict students from rental properties. The announcement came after Northwestern University administrators met with city officials about this planned action.

We appreciate the responsiveness of Evanston officials to the concerns raised by Northwestern students and administrators. At the same time, the University will oppose any efforts that target our students selectively using this ordinance. Doing so would be a disservice to our students, the University and the entire Evanston community.

We understand that the City was responding to complaints from Evanston residents living near campus about issues related to noise, trash and unruly behavior and, in an effort to curtail such activities, would attempt to reduce the density of population in the neighborhood. We recognize the concerns of those neighbors, and the University has taken numerous steps to address those issues and will continue to do so.

Our overall priority is for students to have safe, affordable housing on and near campus. The medium-term solution is more modern student housing on campus or in the area immediately adjacent to campus. The University's housing plan and campus development plan both call for that. We hope to offer upper class undergraduates apartment-style housing in a convenient location. We see improved housing as critical to helping build community. I realize, however, that as a current student, these long-term solutions won’t benefit you, but the concept of community remains extremely important to us all. That’s why we’ve built gathering places on the edge of campus such as The Great Room and Fran's Café in Willard Hall in order to provide places for off-campus students to come back to campus, thereby enhancing community.

Discussions continue between city officials, Associated Student Government and individual students about these issues. We are working to gather responses to the many questions raised at last night’s town hall gathering and to create opportunities for continued education and discussion. We will continue to keep you informed in regard to this issue.

Burgwell Howard, Dean of Students