posted on: Thursday October 5, 2017
by Daria Purdy ’19
Assistant News Editor
A significant part of life at Providence College is the experience of students Many upperclassmen live in the neighborhoods surrounding campus, and they and their guests are brought into contact with other residents of the community and with Providence Police. An Off-Campus Coalition Meeting, between students, administrators, and members of the police force convened last Wednesday in order to address the issues, conflicts, and shared interests between the three parties and ensure a positive off-campus experience.
The students who attended the meeting were all seniors who lived off-campus, or who observed the meeting for a community organizing class.
The administrators who attended the meeting included Dean of Students Steven Sears, Vice President of Student Affairs Kristine Goodwin, Associate Vice President of Public Affairs Steven Maurano ’78, Executive Director of the Department of Public Safety Major Jack Leyden, and David O’Connor, assistant to the director of citizenship and off-Campus life.
Representatives of the Providence Police Department included Lt. John Dunbar, the crime prevention/campus relations officer for Providence College, and Lt. Patrick Reddy. The main concern the students brought to the meeting were the discrepancies between communication and conflict resolution between the students, administration, and police department off-campus. Some of the students at the meeting had received orange stickers on their houses.
The students pointed out how the lack of entertainment options for underclassmen on the weekends have led them to flood Eaton Street in order to find fun social activities. The amount of students that go to Eaton Street on the weekends have led to over-crowding at parties and more incidents of open-container violations.
The students also wanted more clarity on why they were being given stickers, and how they could possibly appeal against the giving of a sticker.
Additionally, the students wanted to know when and how it was appropriate to get the police involved in a party.
Goodwin stressed that students have to take responsibility for the people that are entering their houses, and that if they do not know a person, they should not let them in.
Reddy emphasized that if a student felt a party was getting out of control, or if a large amount of students were gathering in their yard without their permission, they should call the police and ask for help in clearing the area. If a student calls the police to help control a large gathering, they will not be given a sticker, but they must do this before the police arrive by their own discretion.
Reddy went on to say, that if a student were to call the police to help control a large gathering, “they must be detailed in their call, and say that they feel unsafe.” This will ensure that the police will respond to the call in a timely manner and that the student will not be penalized.
The coalition discussed many possible methods to alleviate the huge numbers of students that go off-campus to the community immediately surrounding campus every weekend. The solution included giving more options for socializing to seniors outside their off-campus residences, along with providing more entertainment options to underclassmen.
Dean Sears suggested that PC students should take advantage of the RIPTA more, in order to expand their socializing options. Dean Sears suggested that seniors could take the RIPTA to Thayer Street on the weekends, as there are many fun entertainment options there for students.
Dean Sears went on to say, “Thayer Street should be advertised more to freshmen”. Therefore, freshmen and seniors would both be more inclined to spread their socializing beyond the community surrounding campus.
Dean Sears and other administrators also expressed great enthusiasm for McPhail’s as a possible hub for socializing. Especially since McPhail’s now has food options for students, the administrators and students agreed that it has great potential to be a fun and safe gathering place for students.
Students and administrators also discussed possibly using fences as a method of crowd control on Eaton Street. If fences were put in behind houses, residents would find it much easier to control and take responsibility for who was entering their backyard. On Eaton Street, it is hard for residents to stop people from entering their backyards without their permission.
Reddy said, “I am a firm believer in community solutions, and I hope that we can work together to solve these problems.”
Similar feelings of a willingness to communicate and work together were expressed by the administrators and students. All those attending hoped that the coalition would mark the beginning of a period of greater cooperation and communication between the students, administration, and police.