Controversial Nuisance Ordinance to be Voted On Tonight

Animal_House_ParadeThe State College Borough Council will vote tonight on a proposed nuisance ordinance that, if passed, would allow police to hold hosts responsible for the actions of their guests, even after the guests have left the party’s original location. The meeting is at 7:30 in the municipal building.

The ordinance is thought by many to unfairly target Penn State students. UPUA President Gavin Keirans addressed the proposal in a guest column published today in The Daily Collegian.

The document’s nebulous classifications of violations, as well as saying that the host is now responsible for individual actions after leaving a party is a step too far.

Police would be able to levy fines on hosts if their guests are charged with any of the following:

  • Excessive, unnecessary, or unreasonable noise
  • Public disturbances, brawls, fights, quarrels, or indecent or obscene conduct
  • Public urination or defecation
  • Unlawful deposit of trash or littering
  • Sale or possession of controlled substances
  • Indecent exposure

There’s little ambiguity as to the purpose of the legislation: to reduce the risk the drinking culture in State College presents to the borough and to account for additional expenses incurred when dealing with those risks. While I’m sure the current proposal would indeed generate revenue for the borough ($600 per party would add up quickly), it hardly seems like an elegant approach to moderating State College’s drinking culture.

Keirans elaborated in his column on why he thinks the nuisance ordinance is the wrong way to change the drinking culture at Penn State.

What is clear is that full time residents are tired of excessive partying that goes on within the borough and the aftermath of Sunday morning clean-ups.

I want to put a magnifying glass on specific issues of concern and partner to eliminate them.

An ordinance aimed primarily against the student population is a hasty move that will break the bonds that some students have been working diligently to build.

Borough officials should partner with proactive measures like the new Interfraternity Council social policy, the Off Campus Student Union LIONWalk, and University Park Undergraduate Association extended busing service.

What do you think is the right way to approach the problematic drinking culture at Penn State? Is it borough nuisance ordinances, UPUA-sponsored bus loops, or IFC-mandated bouncers? AlcoholEdu? Let’s hear it in the comments.

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