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Town residents petition against QU
A group of Hamden residents is petitioning to have all Quinnipiac undergraduate students live on campus. The group, Concerned Citizens for Hamden Neighborhoods, is collecting signatures to petition the Hamden Planning and Zoning Commission to attach three conditions to the next phase of the construction of the York Hill campus.
In addition to requiring all undergraduate students to live on campus, the conditions include capping undergraduate enrollment based on residential facilities and limiting the number of student parking spaces based on the above parameter.
Les Faiman, co-president of the Concerned Citizens group, said the group does not object to Quinnipiac students living in the neighborhoods. He said the group objects to the houses in residential neighborhoods being used like rooming houses, with a new group of students moving in and out every year.
“We’d rather have families in here,” Faiman said. “The reason we’re doing what we’re doing is we want the houses to be used for residents, for families, for little kids.”
Faiman stressed that the group does not want Quinnipiac students to be kicked out of the neighborhoods because they’re causing problems.
“Ninety percent of the Quinnipiac students are no problem at all,” Faiman said. “It’s a small segment of the students on campus that don’t know how to behave and how to conduct themselves within a neighborhood. So that small percentage is a problem, but it’s not the reason we’re doing what we’re doing.”
Members from the Concerned Citizens group met with Quinnipiac officials and Hamden Mayor Craig Henrici a few weeks ago. Faiman said it was an open discussion and no demands were made. He said Quinnipiac officials did not indicate that they were looking into or planning to require all undergraduate students to live on campus when the York Hill campus is completed.
John Morgan, Quinnipiac associate vice president for public relations, said via e-mail: “The proposal has been discussed and it is no longer something being considered.”
Henrici said there was a tacit agreement to see whether the building of the new dorms rectifies the problem of Quinnipiac students living in Hamden neighborhoods.
“I think it’s premature to make this a requirement when the college has invested so much money into building the dorms,” Henrici said.
Faiman said the group plans to present the petition to the Planning and Zoning Commission when Quinnipiac submits its plans for the next phase of the construction to the town. Morgan said the university expects to do that in the next 60 to 90 days.
Faiman said the group does not expect the conditions attached to the proposal to pass, but hopes that students will want to live on campus for four years when the opportunity to do so exists.
“From what [university officials] tell me, it’s going to be a great facility up there,” Faiman said. “What we as residents of the town hope is that the students feel the same way.”
The York Hill campus is being planned with 1,800 beds in mind, Morgan said. Present plans include a student center, dining hall, fitness area and health services. Morgan said there will be at least 6 to 8 months of site preparation before building can begin and that no timetable has been set for completion.
Currently, Quinnipiac guarantees students housing for only three years, which requires seniors to live off campus. The main campus is housing 3,652 students this semester, according to Residential Life.
The new residence hall being built behind the Village residence hall, which the university hopes will be completed for the 2007-08 academic year, will house 330 students. Quinnipiac also recently purchased Whitney Village apartments, which houses 145 transfer students.
Even though Quinnipiac will be offering more on-campus housing in the future, many students disagree with the idea of forcing students to live on campus in dorms for four years.
“It’s just my personal preference,” said junior Ben Warner, who lives in a university-owned off campus house. “I like my space, I like having my own room, I don’t mind doing dishes and I don’t like being around partying every single day.”
Other students say that living off campus is easier as an upperclassman with jobs and internships to balance.
“I think for jobs, internships, extracurricular activities outside of campus, it’s much better,” said junior Steve Barreto, who commutes to school after living on-campus last year.
Faiman said he understands that there will be students who want to live off-campus in their own environment, but he said the best situation for Hamden would be to have the students stay on campus.
“It would just make Hamden a better place,” Faiman said.