Today: Apr 21, 2024

New off-campus townhouse raises safety concerns for Southern students

Sarah Mastroni News Editor

The new townhouse complex located by campus has been attracting party-driven Southern students since the beginning of the semester, and residents of outlying residence halls such as North Campus are have safety and noise concerns, as well as the possibility for continuous distractions throughout the school year.

“Every weekend there is a party,” said Kayla Jackson, whose boyfriend resides at the townhouse.

“I see kids walking back and forth all night from here to the school, and they leave a mess.”

Located on Pine Rock Road, the new development is an off-campus apartment complex that is no way affiliated by Southern or the campus’ police protection. The townhouse has hired their own security and is responsible for taking action against residents and their guests who decide to challenge standard state laws.

Southern’s Police Chief, Joseph Dooley, said that students should be cautious when leaving campus property.

“Students should always be aware of their surroundings and trust their instincts. Students who are on campus should utilize the shuttles that travel the campus, especially during the evening hours,” Dooley said.

“Avoid walking alone as there is strength in numbers; always stay in well-lit areas.”

The 2011 Uniform Crime and Fire Safety Report has been released and it complete with statistics taken from Southern college life from 2008 to 2010, and ranges from assault to motor vehicle theft. While Southern has not seen a robbery in the recent years, there have been 10 reports of forcible sex offenses and three accounts of aggravated assault, both occurring on campus.

However, the most astounding statistic in the given time period is the 1,287 liquor law violations and 141 drug abuse violations within that same three-year span, which resulted in disciplinary action.

While the report does not specifically state how many Southern students have been arrested off campus, according to College Parents of America over 1,400 college students between the ages of 18-24 die each year due to alcohol-related incidents.

“Students and/or guests under the legal drinking age of 21 who are found in possession of alcohol may be subject to a $136 dollar state fine as well as administrative sanctions from the university,” Dooley said.

“In addition, students will need to complete an alcohol education program administered by the Drug and Alcohol Resource Center. Repeat violators may be subject to the loss of housing privileges.”

Starley Krikau, a first-time nursing student at Southern said her stay so far has been a peaceful one.

“I am over at Hickerson [Hall]. Everyone there is laid-back. I haven’t experienced any problems yet,” she said. “I feel safe.”

While Hickerson Hall is located at the center of campus and houses freshmen and sophomore students, resident halls such as North have mostly upperclassmen and house students who are of the legal drinking age.

Associate Director of Residence Life Robert DeMezzo said that while upperclassmen are permitted to have alcohol in the campus dorms, there are still guidelines that need to be followed.

“The alcohol must be unopened and in limited quantities. However, any student caught with alcohol underage, we will have to contact the campus police. The amount that student has on them will not matter,” he said.

DeMezzo said that although the activities that Southern students engage in at the Pine Rock townhouses are out of the campus police’s jurisdiction, it is not going unnoticed.

“The university is working closely with the Hamden Police as well as the staff and security there,” he said.

According to the state of Connecticut, overbearing noise should cease no later than 8 p.m. or a noise ordinance could be filed.

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