College culture has long been coined as a juvenile, alcohol-filled lifestyle that is mostly made up of partying with the occasional class sprinkled in. In some cases these generalizations are accurate.
Anyone who believes otherwise is being far too naïve and foolishly optimistic about college students’ priorities. This conception about how students act has recently been the hot topic in the City of New Britain.
During a Town and Gown meeting in September, dozens of disgruntled New Britain residents voiced their concerns over the blight and noise problems that have been plaguing their Belvedere neighborhood for over a decade.
Some were elderly citizens, complaining that they would wake to find their property covered in beer bottles and other party related trash. Others were concerned that their kids couldn’t get a decent nights’ sleep on any given Wednesday or Thursday because of the commotions that came with the pack of students walking around at all hours of the night.
These problems would result in numerous calls to the New Britain police department, costing what is estimated to be thousands of dollars from New Britain’s budget.
On Tuesday, the City of New Britain’s Town Council voted to pass an ordinance that will create a “hot spot” fee to target owners of properties that emergency personnel are called to between five and nine times a year, depending on the type of dwelling. Violators will be fined around $500 for a typical call, in which just one police cruiser is dispatched. This fee is expected to generate about $1.1 million in revenue for the city, according to the New Britain Herald.
The idea behind this new ordinance is well-intended. College kids have a tendency to get out of control and disrespect the property owners around them. Students have to remember that CCSU is located within New Britain, not the other way around. We as a University have to abide by its rules; the city shouldn’t have to adjust to us. If students from CCSU are causing problems for local residents then it is the city’s responsibility to look into the issue and attempt to resolve it.
In theory, if you’re not causing trouble then this ordinance will not affect you. This issue can be avoided if off campus residents abide by the rules. As college students, it is expected that we act like adults, and it will not be a concern if you respect your neighborhood.
But one of the problems is that it is left entirely to up to the discretion of the police. This opens up the door for discrimination and other issues of biases. This could cause financial problems for students who are wrongly accused, who cannot afford to pay the fee.
Setbacks like this will also arise when residents will find a way to avoid paying the ordinance by using these outlets.
What many have not realized is that although the city’s intentions are good, there could be some serious side effects to this ordinance. If students feel singled out or discriminated against, this could push them to look for housing in surrounding towns like Newington and West Hartford. Although some would surely be cheering if that was the end result, this would be bad news for New Britain’s economy.
The students of CCSU provide a constant source of revenue for landlords and local retailers. Many have said that CCSU is the gem of New Britain, and it would be a shame to drive away reasonably behaved student over a budgetary issue. What people need to remember is that not all CCSU students are the cause of this problem; rather it is a very small portion of our school population.