“This fall got off to a rocky start,” Dean of the College Adam Weinberg said. “We’ve had more complaints in the past two weeks of school than the past two years.”
Residents all over the Village of Hamilton have been raising concerns about the behavior of Colgate students. From Lebanon to Spring Streets, incidents of loud noise, vandalism and bicycle theft have been reported.
“This year seems a little worse,” Hamilton Police Chief James Tilbe said. “I met with residents a week ago [Tuesday] from Lebanon Street, who were upset about the number of students going by, waking their kids up.”
Several instances of bicycle theft, criminal mischief, mailbox damage and trespassing have been reported around the village.
“I think most of these crimes are being committed by a small percentage of the population,” Tilbe said.
In contrast, the Hamilton Police have received a greater number of nuisance noise complaints. Several arrests have already been made already this year, including two arrests at two different parties on Saturday, September 18.
“We don’t want to see a lot of arrests,” Tilbe said. “Under village law, a nuisance noise ticket comes with a fine of $250.”
Tilbe also stated that each year landlords must apply for permits for multi-tenant housing. If a residence has too many complaints against it, a landlord may be denied the requisite permit. Many of the noise complaints, however, have been in response to groups of students walking around Hamilton.
“The parties we can handle,” Tilbe said. “It is the groups walking on the streets – often with alcohol – who think they are not being loud, but we are getting complaints.” Weinberg, meanwhile, is turning to the student body for a solution.
“This is not how students behave,” he said. “It’s not realistic for the Hamilton Police to handle this situation. It’s a good opportunity for peer-to-peer leadership.”
Appropriately, Weinberg raised the issue with the Student Government Association (SGA) earlier this week.
“This is a good government with strong senators,” Weinberg said. “A lot of what the college is trying to do is self-government. This is a good moment for the administration to step back and let the students come up with solutions in a peer-to- peer way.”
The SGA has approached this issue with a two-pronged plan.
“We’ve identified two problems,” first-year senator Rob Sobelman said. “There is not enough to do on campus, and students are being obnoxious downtown.”
The SGA’s solution is to ask students to be role models within their own groups in addition to bringing more social events to campus so students do not have to go downtown.
“I think this could be successful,” Sobelman said, “as long as students take our message to heart. If everyone is a role model within their own group, this can work.”