South Pittsburgh Reporter - Serving South Pittsburgh Since 1939

Students can be good neighbors in South Side, but when they're not


Last updated 7/17/2019 at 8:49pm

This is the time of year when new students are moving into the South Side. Most will have a good understanding they are living in a residential community and should be good neighbors to those who live around them.

South Side’s South Watch suggests residents introduce themselves to their neighbors when they are moving in, ask if they are students and which school they attend. Share what the block is like and what is expected from them as neighbors and what they can expect from you as a neighbor.

South Watch recommends not assuming the new student neighbors will be holding house parties each weekend but to remind them that loud, unruly parties aren’t welcome.

Many Duquesne University students will reside on the South Side while attending school. Duquesne University has an Office of Commuter Affairs and over the last three plus years, its director, Tim Lewis, has developed a good relationship with South Side organizations, which has helped him and the university support their students while also learning about their impact on the community.

At the beginning of the school year, Mr. Lewis provides Duquesne students with a South Side Guide he has compiled and throughout the year sends emails and posts on the student commuters’ FB page. All are attempts to educate students about living off campus.

Mr. Lewis is also a member of South Watch. At its monthly community meeting, residents interact with city and state officials, Zone 3 Police, Pittsburgh Parking Authority, the Mayor’s Office, and the Departments of Public Safety, Environmental Services, and Permits, Licenses and Inspections.

Mr. Lewis has worked with the Zone 3 Police when student parties are reported to 911 and with Environmental Services when the students are not correctly disposing of their trash.

If South Side residents experience problematic behavior, i.e. house parties, it is important for them to call 911 and ask the police complete a report. Police have been instructed to ask the problem tenants if they are students and what school they attend. The police then provide this information to their university.

If residents believe Duquesne University students were involved in a neighborhood problem, to write or call Tim Lewis,, 412-396-6660, director of Duquesne’s Office of Commuter Affairs. Describe in detail what was observed, and, if appropriate, indicate that the police made a report.

If residents believe University of Pittsburgh students were involved in a neighborhood problem, to write or call Barb Ruprecht,, 412-648-7910, Student Conduct Officer. Describe in detail what was observed, and, if appropriate, indicate that the police made a report.

If Mr. Lewis receives a complaint about students who attend Duquesne, he calls them and discusses appropriate behavior. If there is a second incident with the same students, they meet with the director of the Office of Student Conduct. In addition, the South Watch committee is contacted and a letter describing the problematic behavior is sent to the property owner.

Some residents attempt to solve issues on their own without involving (notifying) Mr. Lewis. Oftentimes the problems continue and this leads to frustration. South Watch encourage residents to report their concerns to the university so they have a documented history if any issues continue. Keep in mind, the universities and property owners assume their students/tenants are being respectful until they learn otherwise.

If there are trash issues with any properties, an email should be sent to The South Watch committee will issue an education placard to the property and if the trash violations are not abated, the address will be referred to Environmental Services.


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