Two students at an uptown coffee shop with laptops

Good Neighbor Policy

The Good Neighbor Policy is an initiative that developed out of the work of the Alcohol Coordinating Committee, and aims at reducing the negative impact of highly visible house parties in Oxford. While the "Good Neighbor Policy" doesn't actually change current Miami University policy, it does introduce a new way of processing off-campus citations that are typically (but not always) associated with house parties. The new protocol involves escalating interventions with multiple citations in a semester, with the first two interventions as primarily informational and educational, and the third (and beyond) being referred to the Office of Ethics and Student Conflict Resolution process, where sanctions may result to address and try to repair the harm done to the community.

Context and Overview

The Off-Campus Partnerships workgroup of the Alcohol Coordinating Committee (ACC) is charged with minimizing the student and community impact of high-risk behaviors off-campus. As a starting point, the workgroup focused efforts on targeting off-campus house parties, and specifically, the visibility of “front-yard” parties, in part because of concern over their disproportionate impact on local norms. Additionally, these parties insinuate an “open-door” policy, attracting visitors who may not be known to the host(s), and tend to be more disruptive to neighbors and community members. 

The workgroup believes that moving house parties out of front yards result in multiple benefits, including: 

  • Reduce the number of uninvited guests (improve the parties).
  • Reduce the incidence of underage drinking (related in part to the point above).
  • Reduce the impression that deviant alcohol consumption is the norm.
  • Reduce the impact of litter and noise on surrounding community.

The City of Oxford already has some laws in place to address excessive noise, litter, outdoor furniture, and nuisance parties, and many front-yard student house parties violate these ordinances. With these laws in place, the workgroup focused on maximizing the existing structures by holding students accountable through a new process at Miami University as a first step to address off-campus house parties.

Miami University already addresses off-campus alcohol and other violations through the Office of Ethics and Student Conflict Resolution (OESCR). In the past, OESCR has not typically addressed these types of citations due the increased caseload it would present. While the proposed plan does involve OESCR, the Good Neighbor Policy creates a new avenue to handle the noise, litter, outdoor furniture, and nuisance party citations before reaching OESCR.

Good Neighbor Protocol 

Any citation of a Miami University student issued by the City of Oxford for a violation of 509.10 Noise Restrictions, 521.08 Littering and Allowing Litter to Remain Upon Property, 509.13B Nuisance Party, or 521.12 Outdoor Furniture will be forwarded to the Office of Off-Campus Outreach and Communication. Note that this process does not replace any obligations to the City of Oxford (i.e. paying the ticket / court costs, etc.). 

Learn some tips for hosting safer, smarter parties and reducing your risk for tickets on the Off-Campus Outreach Social Hosting page

The process for handling these citations on campus will be:

1st Citation (in one semester)

All residents at the address cited will receive a letter and an email from the City of Oxford and Miami University noting that a first violation has been recorded at that specific address. The letter will be accompanied by an outline of how Miami handles these types of processes. 

2nd Citation (in one semester)

Upon a second violation at the same address, the residents of that address will be required to meet with University and/or City of Oxford representatives of the Student-Community Relations Commission (SCRC) to discuss the citations issued at this address. At this time, the citations will also be forwarded to organizations affiliated with the address. Organizations are then at liberty to intervene or take action, as appropriate.

Choosing not to meet with the representatives will result in a referral to the Office of Ethics and Student Conflict Resolution (OESCR); this referral to OESCR would otherwise not occur until the third violation (and any additional) violation(s).

Additional Citation(s) (in one semester)

Upon any additional citations that occur after a meeting has successfully occurred with a quorum of residents at the cited address, the Off-Campus Partnerships and Interventions workgroup will compile the citations and other written records, and make a complaint to OESCR about the cited address. The referral to OESCR will typically cite a pattern of behavior that has demonstrated a disregard for local law.

Upon OESCR’s review of the evidence, the tenants may be charged with a violation of the Student Code of Conduct (Violation of Law).  

On the occasion that residents at an address received multiple citations in one occurrence (i.e. cited for Noise and Litter at the same time), the citations will be considered together as one citation for the purposes of this process.

The citation count restarts between semesters.

Violations in OESCR

  • When OESCR receives a referral from the Off-Campus Partnerships and Interventions workgroup, they will review the evidence presented and determine whether or not to formally charge the student(s) or organization(s) with Violation of Law (110).
  • Upon notice of alleged violation, the OESCR process will commence.

Sanctions

If students are found responsible or take responsibility for the violation(s), sanctions are issued.

  • Sanctions are likely to include community service hours through a restorative justice program with the City of Oxford, but there are no mandatory sanctions for this offense and thus the sanctioning would be left to the discretion of OESCR. Disciplinary history will also be considered when issuing sanctions.
  • Upon completion of the OESCR process, any findings of responsibility are maintained in their disciplinary record for a minimum of seven years.
  • If the student(s) or organization(s) fail to complete the sanctions by the assigned deadline, a hold will be placed on their account until proof is provided to OESCR that sanctions have been completed. A hold can prevent students from scheduling, changing classes, etc. If a student graduates or leaves with incomplete sanctions, it will be noted on the students’ official transcript.