By Amanda Webster
In continuing efforts to create a more harmonious environment between students who live in the Belvedere neighborhood and the permanent New Britain residents, CCSU staff members have been making periodic visits to the students who live in the area to remind them about community expectations.
The visits are made by Christopher Dukes, Director of Student Conduct, Sergeant Jerry Erwin of the CCSU Police Department and Jonathan Pohl, Coordinator of Alcohol and Drug Education.
The homes are selected by the amount of calls that the particular house receives. The houses that have several complaints made against it will receive a visit. However, Dukes said that they do not even know if students are living at the address at the time the visits are made.
With all the recent talk about student rowdiness off-campus and the efforts that CCSU and the city of New Britain are making in order to get students under control, it is not surprising that some students may feel that they are being attacked.
According to Dukes, the visits made to off-campus students are not intended to make students feel under attack or targeted by law enforcement.
“It’s not what I think people think it is where we go in and threaten people; don’t do this, don’t do that. There are some don’ts, but the don’ts are more about being mindful of being civil,” said Dukes.
Students are reminded to be thoughtful of their neighbors who are not college students and are encouraged to communicate with them and get to know them.
“It’s up to the students to realize that what if it were their parents? What if a student was urinating on your parent’s lawn at 3 o’clock in the morning,” said Erwin, “We’re not telling them how to live, we’re telling them how to respect the people around them.”
The students are also given helpful advice for when they do have parties in order to keep everyone involved safe.
According to both Dukes and Erwin, the majority of students that they met with were very understanding and the conversations were lighthearted.
“There was one group we visited and we had cited them the other day for underage drinking, and we had a fun time standing on the front porch with them. By the end of the conversation we weren’t the enemy but kind of stake holders, both of us,” said Erwin.
The visits also give students a chance to express their concerns with neighbors they have who may be giving them a hard time.
“We give the students an opportunity to tell us what they think is wrong, share their opinion with us then we come back and tweak some things,” said Dukes.
Jenna Casorio is a senior that lives off campus in the Belvedere neighborhood and has never heard of the visits made to off-campus students.
Casorio said that she thinks that it is a good idea for CCSU staff to talk with students about communicating with their neighbors but also thinks that more efforts need to be made to make this issue known with students who live on campus.
Casoria attended the Town and Gown meeting where New Britain residents expressed their frustrations with students in the area. During the meeting it came up that much of the noise that residents are hearing at night is being made by crowds of on-campus students who don’t understand the implications of their actions for students who live in the neighborhood.
“I really think that kids on-campus need to be talked to about how to appropriately drink and act when you step of off the campus and into the Belvedere neighborhood,” stated Casorio.
Though it seems that many students were unaware of the off-campus visits, it is not a new initiative to CCSU. According to Dukes the visits have been made since at least the early 2000’s. One visit has already been made this semester and included a trip to ten different houses off campus.