Nancy Branscombe killing Western's buzz

Project LEARN slights students

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Attention Nancy Branscombe: stop killing Western’s buzz.

The London City Councillor for Ward Six " which encompasses campus and surrounding areas " has been bustling around the city promoting London Police Service’s Project Liquor Enforcement and Reduction of Noise (formerly Project Speakeasy), also known as Project LEARN.

In a nutshell, Project LEARN emphasizes bylaw enforcement, with officers dedicated only to student housing issues " enforcement where officers can take action even in the absence of complaints, stricter enforcement of bylaws, and increased fines to protect the neighbourhoods from “eyesore properties,” noise, garbage and improper parking. Moreover, Branscombe is working to ensure that the University takes action against irresponsible students.

In fact, Branscombe herself will be hot on the scene, as she is scheduled to team up with London police on Sept. 15 to personally lend a hand in crashing various gatherings throughout the ward.

The problem with this initiative is the policy alienates residents from one another. Rather than students and neighbours meeting with one another on their own accord to reach an amicable solution to noise, alcohol consumption and the like, the policy encourages plaintiffs to leave the situation in the hands of the cops. Consequently, this creates a barrier between neighbours that will foster more problems than solutions.

What seems most disturbing about Project LEARN is it discriminates against students. London Police Chief Murray Faulkner said to Western News that Project LEARN is “...not necessarily just targeted towards students. It’s geographically that we have problems.” Correct me if I’m wrong, but what demographic makes up the majority of residents in Ward Six? Here’s a hint: it starts with the letter “S.”

Also, with more students being encouraged to participate in local elections, Nancy Branscombe would be well-advised not to piss off her entire constituency " her appointment was ushered in by a substantial number of votes cast by the same students being scrutinized by Project LEARN.

Western’s party scene isn’t a new phenomenon. It has been around for decades, so it shouldn’t be a shock to residents when they hear loud music or a crowd’s roar. After all, students have so little time to enjoy the patio weather.

In fact, the reception from London residents outside of campus has been warm, with many homeowners taking the opportunity to hang out for a beer and discuss the upcoming year.

Those few, petty rascals who disregard the well-being of those around them should definitely suffer the consequences, but to launch an offensive such as Project LEARN is just ignorant.

Calls made to Branscombe’s office to discuss this issue and its implications were not returned.

And so, as the Beastie Boys once said, “You’ve got to fight for your right to party!”

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