House parties deemed ‘public nuisance’ at University of Kansas

Mid-South

A house party on Mississippi Street near the University of Kansas campus in September 2020. (Courtesy: KSNW)

LAWRENCE, Kan. (NewsNation Now) — As the number of COVID-19 cases rise at the University of Kansas campus, city officials in Lawrence are now turning to the police for help.

The city commission Thursday night voted to give police the power to enforce the city’s ‘public nuisance’ law. The vote comes less than a week after video surfaced of a number of house parties near the university’s football stadium. In each case, social distancing guidelines were not being followed, and masks were not worn.

City Ordinance No. 9811 states that maintaining a public nuisance is defined as “knowingly causing or permitting a condition to exist which injures or endangers the public health, safety or welfare.” Permitting a public nuisance is defined as “knowingly permitting property under the control of the offender to be used to maintain a public nuisance.”

The ordinance would not be limited to house parties, but also any other event that violates the current COVID-19 emergency order in effect within city limits. That emergency order currently bans mass gatherings of 45 people or more.

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