Plymouth State College Campus Police arrested eight students over the weekend as a result of expanding their patrol area to include selected off campus housing areas. The increased patrols have been instituted in response to numerous complaints from Plymouth residents regarding student behavior and noise in the overnight hours Thursday through Saturday nights.
The charges consisted of possession of drugs, disorderly conduct, public urination, open container, and unlawful possession of alcohol. In addition to the criminal charges brought against them, all eight are being brought before the College’s judicial review board.
“We have taken the noise and student behavior issues brought before the College at the last College Community Council (CCC) meeting very seriously, and the increased Campus Police are in direct response to those concerns,” says PSC President Donald Wharton. “As hoped, the patrols are having an immediate affect on identifying those students causing disturbances, and enabling the College to hold them accountable for their actions.”
As a short term solution to the problem, Wharton feels the increased patrols will be very effective, but additional action will be needed to change the behavior in the long term. He says, “We need to work together as a community to have mutual understanding, enhance our sense of community and find solutions. To that end I have appointed a student task force to work with the CCC to address the ongoing disturbances and improve the quality of the off campus neighborhoods.”
Sixteen students were present last night at the task force’s first meeting, all of whom live in the residential areas of concern. The students shared their thoughts and ideas about the behavior problems and noise, and all agreed there needs to be more interaction between students and residents. The task force felt students need to identify ways to get to know their neighbors better and to be more aware of town ordinances. In addition, the task force also suggested the College increase communication to all students on behavior expectations and the need to show respect to all neighbors a members of the Plymouth community.
Additionally, the task force is working with the student senate on a letter to the Plymouth residents living in the affected areas. At last night’s student senate meeting, the students went on record with their concern about how the actions of a few are reflecting on the student body has a whole, and that an increase in judicial sanctions may be appropriate.
“It is very important that students are part of the solution,” says Wharton, “and I’m pleased by the request for input by both the student senate and task force.”
The next CCC meeting will be held from 7 – 9 p.m. on Tuesday, October 29 at the Plymouth Town Hall to continue the dialogue and identify additional action items.