Eau Claire city leaders answer UWEC students' questions about 'G - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Eau Claire city leaders answer UWEC students' questions about 'Good Order' proposal


Eau Claire (WQOW) -- Students at UW-Eau Claire got their chance to weigh-in on the city's proposed Public Good Order Ordinance and they had a lot to say. 

"What are you doing to help keep these students safe in the community," one student demanded over a round of applause from his school mates. 

The university hosted a round table discussion on Thursday, so city leaders could answer students' questions about the proposal. If approved, the ordinance would prohibit motor buses or hired drivers from dropping off more than ten passengers at a time along a single block between 9:00 p.m. and 3:00 a.m. in Eau Claire. 

City officials hope that will reduce late-night commotion in the historic Randall Park and Third Ward neighborhoods, areas brimming with off-campus college housing. However, some students participating in Thursday's conversation were concerned the change would put their lives at risk. 

"Drunk driving is going to rage rampant if you take away this blue bus, or only allow ten people to get dropped off. People are going to fall into the river. All that's going to happen," one student told the panel of officials. 

Though assistant city attorney Jenessa Stromberger told the crowd officials weren't trying to stop students from getting home safely. 

"[The buses] can pick up passengers at any point," she said. "We wanna make sure people get their safe ride home."  

Local law enforcement officers said the ordinance is more about keeping house parties under control. 

"There may be only one or two people, or maybe a handful of people, that know where this particular party is," said Lt. Greg Weber, of the Eau Claire Police Department. "The bus stops, the bus announces what the address is. And then instead of just those five people getting off, forty people go off of the bus." 

Still, students said they would have liked being a part of this conversation sooner. 

"I do sympathize with the city that there's an alcohol problem in Eau Claire, but I feel that this targets college students disproportionately," said UWEC Junior Hillary Smith. 

The City Council is expected to continue its discussion on the ordinance later this month. People can share their thoughts at the March 12 meeting, ahead of the council's vote on March 13. 

Smith said she'll be at those meetings and hopes to get more satisfactory answers from the City Council than she got from officials on the round table panel. 

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