Colorado College and the Colorado Springs Police Department pledged increased neighborhood vigilance after a group of neighbors complained about drunken and disrespectful student behavior off campus.
A letter sent in October to Dean of Students Mike Edmunds, signed by members of 21 households within a three-block radius of campus, cited a "dramatic increase" this year in disruptive partying, wanton vandalism and even student intimidation of neighbors.
"The attitude [of students] has just been real antagonistic," said Shauna Prince, who signed the letter referring to confrontations her neighbors have had with belligerent students. The letter describes a showdown between bleary-eyed neighbors and drunken students shortly after 3 a.m. one Saturday morning in September. When a neighbor asked the drunken revelers to stop racing shopping carts down the street and skateboarding on private property, the letter says, a student responded that "they should move because the parties are going to continue and they should have known that when they bought their house near a college."
Megan Day, community relations manager for Colorado College, says the college is committed to doing everything it can to help the situation. "President [Richard] Celeste has been out at one in the morning walking the streets to see what the situation is," she said.
Day outlined a variety of steps the college is taking to help assuage the neighbors' concerns, including a Nov. 30 meeting designed to hear the neighbors' complaints. The dean of students also sent a letter to all students urging them to follow city laws and college regulations off campus. Specific complaints are acted on immediately, and the college says it plans to punish students in violation, including putting them on probation or even expulsion.
In addition, the city's police department has stepped up patrols for students caught with open containers of alcohol, noise violations and other violations occurring at late-night parties, said spokesman Sgt. Tony Erickson.
Student Vice President Greg Putnam said he'd suggest allocating $25,000 from the approximately $60,000 student government budget for after-hours on-campus entertainment that could reduce the disturbances.
But not all of the neighbors' complaints can be blamed on college students. "[Colorado College] students are getting blamed for outsiders kicked out of those parties," Day said. "They cause damage because they're mad."
Neighborhood resident Prince agrees it can be impossible to say for sure that students are responsible for vandalism such as smashed windows and public urination. But, she said, "the parties are from the school."
-- Dan Wilcock and Michael de Yoanna