Students left off City Council guest list

The word “urgent” implies that something is so importantly time sensitive that there is absolutely no choice but to deal with it at the earliest possible chance.

Why the Rohnert Park City Council would consider doubling the loud party penalty as “urgent” is ridiculous. Doing so merely one week before most Sonoma State students could even settle into their new homes? Atrocious.

Relations between Sonoma State students and the Rohnert Park general public hasn’t been at its best lately. Be it the unsuccessful M-Section meetings last October, the infamous complaints about the Green Music Center’s opening fireworks, or just the overall disdain that many of us outsiders feel when approaching businesses when we’re decked out in college gear – it’s safe to say that there is a lot of room for improvement when it comes to understanding the two sides of the Rohnert Park coin.

 Many Sonoma State students, including Greek Life representatives and Associated Students officers, have tried to communicate to Rohnert Park citizens that we understand their concerns. As Rohnert Park citizens ourselves, we understand families are fed up with college students’ sometimes reckless, destructive and dangerous behavior – and we’re willing to take the first steps to attempt reversing it. 

But for us to respect the concerns of Rohnert Park townspeople, we deserve some respect in return. It’s a slap in the face that the City Council would intentionally rush the vote on the “urgency ordinance” before any Sonoma State students could adequately speak their minds (there is no history of similar proposals in any of the prior City Council meetings’ agendas). It’s an even harder slap when you take into account the fact that “take effect immediately and waive full reading” was included in the ordinance’s name, resulting in absolutely no detailed description of the ordinance for the public.

Not to mention, we kissed any chance of rebuttal goodbye when four SSU students were solely given three minutes to speak, whereas the voting council members had an unlimited amount of time to speak their clearly resolute minds.

Also – what exactly is the criteria of a “loud party”? Ask any student on campus; he or she will have some ridiculously true story of a 10-person gathering getting shut down because a neighbor decided to call the cops – rather than simply asking them to quiet down.

Rohnert Park, we fuel your economy. We rent your homes and apartments. We give back to the surrounding community. You might not be happy we’re here, but we are. We are adults. Treat us as such.

And SSU, we need to make good on our promises and continuously give the respect expected of us – even if we’re only here for four years. Volunteer with your club, your philanthropy, your fraternity or sorority, or even your friends to clean up our messes and prove these people wrong. Appeal to City Council; ask them to reconsider their poorly planned and uncooperative method of solving (what should be) a collaborative effort. 

Fight to your right to party – but make sure you do so responsibly.