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JMU President, Harrisonburg Residents Respond to Block Party Disturbance

April 12, 2010

As the Forest Hills area is getting back to normal, many residents in the neighborhood are wondering if students went too far with this year's block party.

Some students are afraid Saturday's events could hurt the relationship with the surrounding community. Forrest Hills resident Danny Woodruff says Saturday's block party brought broken glass, public urination and lots of beer cans into his property.

"We've lived here for 27 years or whatever it is, and no, we've never seen anything like this before," said Woodruff.

Woodruff and surrounding neighbors say they usually live peacefully with the JMU community. However, some residents say this block party crossed the line.

"Helicopters, ambulances, police cars...police cars came into our neighborhood after someone called and complained about a broken bottle in the driveway. Yep, we could hear it real well," said Woodruff.

JMU President Dr. Linwood Rose responded online to the Saturday night block party disturbance. In an online letter he wrote:

"Let me first acknowledge that many of you did not attend springfest on Saturday. To those of you who were involved, your collective behavior was an embarrassment to your university and a discredit to our reputation. No one is opposed to some fun on a beautiful spring weekend, but public drunkenness, destruction of property, and threats to personal safety are unacceptable outcomes. Yesterday's events reflect poorly on your character and were demonstrable evidence of less than sound judgment.

As a university community, we care about our neighbors. Unfortunately, the events of this weekend do not reflect that concern.

To mitigate the negative consequences of these types of situations in the future, we will be conferring with students, property owners, law enforcement, including the Virginia State Police, government officials and others."

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