Effective immediately, Plymouth State College Campus Police will expand its area of active patrol to include off campus student housing areas. This action is being taken to help reduce the noise complaints and behavioral issues that have been negatively affecting Plymouth residents’ quality of life.
“We recognize there are behavioral issues affecting the welfare and safety of both residents and students living in, and adjacent to, the off campus housing areas,” says PSC President Donald Wharton. “We have been working with the landlords to address many of these issues, and they have been very helpful. We also recognize the current problem requires an expanded effort on the part of both Campus and Plymouth police. To that end, I am requesting increased visibility and enforcement in the areas of concern.”
Wharton says the goal of increased police patrols is to affect immediate change in the short term, and significantly diminish the number and frequency of noise complaints and disorderly conduct in the off campus housing areas.
On October 1, PSC began limiting access to the Boyd path — a pedestrian walkway providing access between Pleasant Street and the campus — to between the hours of 7 a.m. and 9 p.m., weekdays only. Since then, Campus Police have arrested seven individuals for trespassing, two of whom are not PSC students. Additionally, the College is in discussion with the property owners of 10 and 12 Pleasant Street about the gate behind those properties, which has been an active thruway to the campus for the past 10 years.
“The most important thing right now is for the town and the College to engage in a dialogue focused on finding solutions that will enhance our sense of community and mutual respect,” says Wharton. He says the College and community need to work together to develop initiatives, evaluate existing programs and policies and determine the best course of action going forward.
“Students have to participate in the creation of solutions, and that is why I’m in the process of appointing a special student task force,” Wharton says. “Just as the residents of Plymouth are directly impacted by these issues, so are the students and it is important that they have representation in the ongoing discussion.”
Wharton adds the College Community Council has always been a forum for solving neighborhood problems and has a pretty good record of success. He says, “When we work together we’ve found solutions, and this is an opportunity to raise the bar on efforts the College has made with local landlords to increase social responsibility.”
CCC was formed in 1987 in response to concerns from local citizens living in areas heavily populated by college students. The CCC addresses issues relating to student activities and their impact on town residents. The components of this comprehensive management approach include environmental, education and enforcement strategies. Students, college administration, landlords, residents and area law enforcement are all involved in the discussion.
Last year the CCC received a leadership award from New Futures of New Hampshire recognizing the group for their contribution to reducing alcohol, tobacco and other drug problems in New Hampshire. The efforts of the CCC were also cited in Sourcebook 2001 as a result of a multi-year project, “Promising Practices: Campus Alcohol Strategies,” undertaken by institutions of higher education across the country.