The Oberlin Review
<< Front page News October 14, 2005

Social life settles down in Union St.

Does life in the Union Street Village housing complex live up to the area’s reputation as “Party Village” and “Frat Row”? Flanked on one side by the football field and well-separated from their town neighbors on the other, Union Street seems ideal for gatherings.

“There is not that automatic self-regulating against activities that would not allow families their normal cycle,” said Assistant Director of Security Marjorie Burton. But despite the lack of controls from the outside world, the area has turned out to be rather tame.

“They haven’t called like we expected,” said Burton, referring to neighbors calling in noise complaints or parties.

The exception came two weeks ago, when a large party at a village housing apartment attracted large crowds. Security soon followed and found cars parked three deep and students and townspeople with open containers on balconies and in the street. Officers broke up the party and towed the unauthorized cars.

Coriana Close, a College senior who attended the party, was not impressed.

“The police busted that one party. They walked right into the house,” she said.

Malik Woods, a senior in the College and the inhabitant of a Union Street apartment, thinks the complex’s reputation is overstated.

“There’s a real ‘’keep to your own apartment’ mentality,” he said.

Woods points to the physical surroundings and their distance from town life saying that “it feels more like a complex and less like a community.”

Security patrol the grounds and the parking lot, but expects students to take responsibility for parts of their personal safety.

“People are responsible for locking their own doors,” said Burton.

While officers do not walk through student’s apartments, Burton stressed that they do respond to visible violations of College policy.

Whether wild or tame, the Union Street apartments signal a direction by the College and ResEd to keep students on campus by recreating off-campus conditions. Less cramped than dorms, but also less personal, some students find the whole project manufactured.

Crockett Doob, a fifth-year in the College, said, “It doesn’t matter if there are parties there. It’s a soulless place to live.”


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