Mike Chambers | Managing Editor | 4-1-2012
The Bemidji city council passed a law last week banning college students from living in any dwellings that are not on the Bemidji State University campus as an attempt to improve the quality of Bemidji’s neighborhoods.
The law has come as a surprise to many BSU students who rent houses near campus as a cheaper alternative to living in the dorms.
“I figured out I was paying around 600 dollars a month to live in Linden Hall, so I moved off campus and now I pay 300 a month,” said BSU junior Arnold Sanderson. “Now I have to live on campus for my senior year, how lame is that?”
The city council came to this solution after years of complaints by Bemidji community members about students’ overgrown lawns and loud house parties. The recently formed group, Landlords of Bemidji, strongly opposes the law and says it threatens their well being.
“Yeah, these kids trash our houses,” said Bemidji landlord Bryan Gaines. “But I already broke even on the house, so it’s all profit to me at this point anyway.”
Administration at BSU is delighted with the law, and has moved forward with a plan to add four new dormitory buildings to house the new wave of students. Instead of buying land in surrounding neighborhoods for expansion, new buildings will be built on existing parking lots.
“The way we see it, this solves the parking issue as well. If everyone lives on campus, no one will need a car, and therefore we do not need parking lots,” said a Residential Life worker who requested to remain anonymous.
A Facebook group has been formed to protest the law, and has amassed nearly one thousand members since it was created last week. Student comments include “This sucks,” and “Oh well, I’ll just transfer.”
Some speculate that the law will be examined by the Supreme Court, which is sure to rule that the entire thing is nothing more than an April Fools’ joke.