- Arts & Life
I sat in the audience at a Hamden Planning and Zoning meeting three weeks ago and listened to several residents walk up to the microphone and describe in great, angry detail just how frustrated they were with off-campus Quinnipiac students.
Some had real justification for their arguments. There was a woman from Sherman Avenue who had her American flag and Adirondack chairs stolen and her lawn peed on. She has every reason to be fed up.
Others, however, simply don’t like Quinnipiac students living in their neighborhoods, even if they mind their own business. Some Hamden residents wish they could contain us all on Quinnipiac property, but until then, they insist on someone regulating our off-campus behavior.
I have my own problems with this university, but on this issue, I’m on Quinnipiac’s side. Students who choose to live off campus become responsible for their own actions. Quinnipiac cannot enforce its rules on students who do not live on its property.
Though Quinnipiac would certainly prefer students to choose on-campus living, it cannot force this decision on its undergraduates. And neither can the town of Hamden or its residents. We go to school in this town, and have just as much of a right to live in this town as anyone else.
To the man at the zoning meeting who wants us “out of the neighborhoods” because he “can’t tell you the number of times he’s been cut off by a Quinnipiac student who doesn’t know how to drive,” I say that even if you herd us like cattle back on to campus, we will still have to coexist within this town. And that includes driving on Hamden’s roads, shopping at Hamden’s supermarkets, filling up our tanks at Hamden’s gas stations and giving business to Hamden’s restaurants.
Bad drivers exist. Bad neighbors exist. But this is a college town. The sooner Hamden residents start realizing and embracing that, the better.
I am sorry for those residents who have experienced real problems with a select few Quinnipiac students who do not respect the environment in which they live. But they cannot turn around and blame the university for not teaching proper morals or values to its students, or not disciplining them enough.
Who knows where the bad decisions come from, but they certainly do not come from Quinnipiac not giving its students a proper moral education. These are upperclassmen who should have learned right from wrong by now, anyways.
Once these students choose to live outside of Quinnipiac’s property, they become the responsibility of the Hamden police, not Quinnipiac security.
And complaining to zoning is not the right direction for Hamden residents to channel their frustration, either. Some residents want to reduce the number of students allowed per house from four to three. This would not be effective because only a handful of houses with students contribute to the problem, not the majority.
The New Haven Register this week opened an article on this issue by calling student-rented properties “party houses rented by college students.” This type of language is simply feeding the hype that explodes a few incidents from the same select houses into a town-wide disdain for all students renting houses in Hamden.
Trying to cut out student-rented houses or trying to sap all of the college culture out of the town of Hamden is unrealistic. Quinnipiac students aren’t going anywhere, and if anything, they’ll be increasing in number over the next few years.
Hamden residents need to accept Quinnipiac students into their community, because for the most part, Quinnipiac students do respect their Hamden community. It’s only a few slobcats who don’t.
I’m going to be living off campus next year, and like many other Quinnipiac student renters, I’ll consider that house my home, and not my “party house.”