The past few weeks in Lawrence have seen large student parties at private residences – parties that the city had little statutory power to stop.

A special meeting of the Lawrence City Commission has changed that.

The Lawrence City Commission voted 4 to 1 for a new ordinance to assist in stopping large gatherings of students.

Modeled closely after a State law, the new ordinance would make it a municipal offense to maintain a public nuisance, or to permit a public nuisance.

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.

A Memorandum of Understanding between the city and KU would allow the Lawrence Police Department to work with the KU Public Safety Office to jointly enforce the ordinance at large gatherings on and off campus.

The law enforcement agencies will work closely with officials at KU, and may evaluate whether such violations implicate KU’s Code of Conduct.