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BG Falcon Media

Independent student content

BG Falcon Media

Independent student content

BG Falcon Media

The BG News
BG24 Newscast
November 30, 2023

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Students shun council

While students didn’t attend last night’s city council meeting in the numbers many had hoped for, council members and student representatives are optimistic that participation will increase.

Undergraduate Student Government President Alex Wright didn’t expect a large student contingent at the meeting due to the date change from Monday to Tuesday because of President’s Day, but still hopes to expand efforts for change.

Wright also expects students to be consistently active in their community.

“If students take an active role in one issue it will carry over to other issues,” Wright said.

Wright points to the success of the student body this past fall in delaying enforcement of the zoning laws. Students previously would have been evicted in December before students took action, working with the city, to move the deadline to May. He hopes that student activism in the community can work towards other tangible goals following Spring Break.

Graduate Student Vice President Deanna Vatan Woodhouse shares Wright’s sentiments.

“I don’t want this to be a one-time thing. Students should feel a connection and a responsibility to the community everyday, not just when something is wrong,” Vatan Woodhouse said.

Ward 2 representative Mike Zickar sees increased student involvement as a plus for all parties involved. “Students being active and maintaining a dialogue is beneficial for students as well as city council,” Zickar said.

Questions and comments dealing specifically with zoning were sparse but answered directly.

Mayor John Quinn assured USG member Niki Messmore that students worried about being evicted out of their homes in May for zoning violations need not worry.

“At the May 15 deadline, a violation would first have to be found… by the time action is taken it could be August,” Quinn said.

Zickar, whose constituency is mainly off-campus students, acknowledged that the current zoning laws mainly deal with rental units — student housing — but is hesitant to enact legislation that may lower housing values.

Zickar said he does not wish to see parts of Bowling Green look like Mount Pleasant, the home of Central Michigan University. CMU has similar zoning laws, except for areas near campus where they are more “student-friendly.” Zickar described those areas of CMU campus as being “a dump” and does not want BG to necessarily follow the CMU model.

Allegations of officials looking through residents’ mail to identify zoning law violators is of concern to Zickar.

“I hope that the issue will be resolved quickly,” Zickar said. He added that he would not support this action and that few would.

Mayor Quinn also announced he would be talking to BG bar owners concerning St. Patrick’s Day. Quinn claims “there is no socially-redeeming cause” to open bars at 6 a.m. as in the past. Wright also urges student responsibility on the holiday.

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