Staff Editorial: Town and gown parley

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September 4, 2007

10:30 AM

The recent informal meeting between members of the Student Assembly and representatives from the city of Williamsburg represents an important step in the improvement of town and gown relations. The last several years have seen a deterioration in these relations — from the three-person “brothel law” to severe limitations on student voting rights — and it is important that mutual efforts be undertaken to correct these problems.

p. The Student Assembly does not have a great deal of leverage when it comes to influencing the city’s policies, but the city must understand that when the laws pertain to or negatively impact students, our voices must be heard. A large part of juniors Zach Pilchen’s and Valerie Hopkins’ spring Student Assembly campaign was making sure that this voice was heard, and we hope that these goals and efforts continue to be sincere.

p. The primary player in mending these strained relations, however, must be the city of Williamsburg. We have often asserted that the students and citizens of Williamsburg constitute a mutually beneficial relationship. Students make up a significant percentage of the work force at several local businesses, dine at area restaurants and visit nearby attractions. Likewise, all members of the Williamsburg community enjoy access to our campus for recreational opportunities, athletic contests, concerts, theater and other pursuits.

p. We understand that town relations are one of the most contentious issues that has faced the student body over the past several years. The movers and shakers on both sides must approach this problem with a courteous mutual understanding that has been lacking in recent years. This meeting represents a start, and for the benefit of all parties, let it not be the end.

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