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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    “Red-tag solution lies with students, City Council”

    Editor’s Note: This is the third and final editorial in a series addressing the dean of students’ new red-tag policy, which allows the Dean of Students Office to punish students who receive a red tag for an off-campus party. The first two editorials can be found online at

    Much has been made of the dean of students’ new red-tag policy, and for good reason: everything from the red-tag ordinance itself to the university’s approach is plagued with technical and logical flaws.

    Monday, we analyzed the red tag law passed by the city of Tucson and found unacceptable logistical errors. To start with, the ordinance is inappropriately broad, enabling the Tucson Police Department to net virtually any group of five or more people for offenses that would hardly constitute an “”unruly gathering.”” Perhaps more troubling, the law contains a provision that could punish responsible roommates who refuse to take part in the unruly party in the first place.

    Tuesday, we found that the dean of students’ new policy is positively without precedent among its peers in the Pacific 10 Conference. Of the eight schools we were able to contact, not one actively sought out student-related violations in the way that the UA asks TPD for lists of red-tag violators.

    The red-tag ordinance’s numerous shortcomings, combined with the UA’s decision to break ranks from its peers by involving itself in the lives of its off-campus students, make the motivation for the new red-tag policy questionable at best.

    Whatever the reason for the new policy (one suspects the UA administration finally caved to disgruntled neighborhood associations), it’s here to stay until at least April, when the Dean of Students Office will review it. Until that time, if students truly want to resolve the red-tag problem, it’s time to get past the whining and act.

    Here are a few concrete recommendations for students, City Council members and UA administrators who want to resolve the red-tag debate:

    Students should pressure City Council members like Karin Uhlich (520-791-4711) and Nina Trasoff (520-791-4601) to consider narrowing the overly broad “”unruly gathering”” definition in the red-tag ordinance.

    Tucson City Council members must narrow the definition and amend the ordinance to purge unfair provisions like the “”absent roommate”” catch-22. Such amendments would make expectations more clear to students and restrict the ability of TPD to indiscriminately issue red tags.

    The UA administration, while perfectly content to steam ahead with the new pilot program, should take a hard, honest look at the efficacy of the program in April.

    About 46 percent of red-tags in midtown Tucson are issued to residents in the UA area, making it clear that TPD is doing its job policing the areas around the UA campus. But the UA’s decision to punish students after the fact seems to imply that TPD’s work is insufficient.

    Thus, unless the UA can prove that its red-tag program works to substantially lower the number of red tags issued to UA area residents (a task that is usually – and rightly – reserved for law enforcement), the program should be scrapped and the resources should be used for other more effective pursuits.

    Opinions Board
    Opinions are determined by the Wildcat opinions board and written by one of its members.They are Justyn Dillingham, Allison Hornick, Damion LeeNatali, Stan Molever, Nicole Santa Cruz and Matt Stone.

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