Off campus police presence increase drastically

Managing Editor

Since the beginning of the semester, students have claimed that they have been noticing a larger presence of University Police Department patrol cars on campus than other years. Even more, off campus residents have said that UPD and the Scranton Police presence off campus has increased as well.

Students are noticing this larger presence of both University Police and Scranton Police is more pressing now than ever before. Junior Karolina Gomez believes that she has seen more police off campus this semester than ever before in her past two years while at The University.

“They are just patrolling a lot more. You see the police out all the time now. I have never seen them [off campus] as much as I have this semester, and I’ve been here for two years already.”

This larger police presence could be due to a various range of subjects, but most students agree that there is one defining moment that has caused such an increase. The annual midsummer’s party held during the middle of summer break smashed headlines this past summer when local ABC affiliate WNEP reported on the party.

The article, titled “Scranton’s Hill Section Residents Meet with University Officials Over ‘Rowdy’ Off-Campus Parties,” explains that Scranton residents are starting to get fed up with the midsummer’s party. Residents have expressed their concerns and want The University to take action in order to prevent the party from growing.

As reported by WNEP, “Residents say the parties go late into the night, are loud, rowdy, and at many parties fireworks are being set off,” the article, written by Peggy Lee, said.

What many do not understand is the emphasis and stress that The University puts on its students to hold themselves accountable and to be responsible individuals. The University held a panel discussion and met with the Hill Neighborhood Association on August 23 to discuss concerns that were being addressed by residents of the Hills Section.

One member of this panel, Police Chief Donald Bergmann, says that many of the neighbors of the Hills Section are misinformed about students at The University, and that they are only experiencing a very small piece of a very large pie.

“The University tries to explain to the neighbors all of the programming outreach we do and how issues involving students off campus are addressed. We try to demonstrate that The University is coordinating with outside agencies, even code enforcement, and that students are held accountable,” Bergmann said.

Bergmann also explained that their meeting with the Hill Neighborhood Association allowed The University a chance to show them how The University plans to ease some concerns.

“We are giving them an idea of what the conduct process is like and how off campus and student affairs try to track who lives in what house. It is an opportunity for The University to try to explain to the neighbors what we are doing,” Bergmann said. “They often don’t know everything that goes on here. It’s a good opportunity to alleviate some of their concerns and I think after an hour and a half meeting we got there.”

Another source of tension for the Hill Neighborhood Association is believed to be frustration from Senior Week during the 2017 spring semester. Bergmann believes that the Hills Section residents were frustrated with the off-campus students who were causing a ruckus late into the night during the spring, and the midsummer party was the final straw.

“There was a lot of late night parties, and there were a lot of fireworks. When people have to get up for work in the morning and people are setting off fireworks at 2 am, it causes a lot of problems,” Bergmann said.

Safe to say, The University is taking very proactive steps to ensure that the residents of the Hills Section are happy, as well as making sure the off-campus students are behaving appropriately. Further discussion and mutual respect for both students and Hills Section residents is sure to solve the frustrations and, in the end, will provide a mutually beneficial community for both groups.

If you would like to view the WNEP article, follow the link to their website.