Boston College students caught partying off campus this school year will face arrest as the school rolls out a new zero-tolerance policy.
Boston College students caught partying off campus this school year will face arrest as the school rolls out a new zero-tolerance policy and team policing to cut down on the raucous undergraduate revelry that disturbs Brighton neighbors.
“We are sending a message, setting the tone, and we want to see how this works,” said BC’s vice president of community affairs, Tom Keady, at a BC task force meeting Tuesday.
Under BC’s plan, the school would hire five Boston Police officers to patrol problem areas such as Cleveland Circle, Chestnut Hill Avenue and Lake Street on Thursday through Saturday nights side by side with Boston College Police. The school would pay for the overtime details with its own funds. “To my knowledge, this has never been done before,” Keady said in reference to the team policing.
In the past, BC Police only had jurisdiction on campus and could do little to stop off-campus parties, BC Police Chief Robert Morse said. This year, the BC Police are working on obtaining sheriff’s powers in Suffolk County.
“Zero tolerance means they’ll be arrested,” Morse said. “We’re hiring Boston Police to arrest students.”
Officer Steve Law from the D-14 community service department said that local officers are on board and have been ordered to do more than just break up keggers and late-night merrymaking.
“Capt. [Genevieve] King has made it clear that if we show up and a party is raging, arrest is the preferred response,” he said, drawing applause from the crowd.
The college and neighbors are hoping that arrests are not the major means of stopping off-campus partying.
BC is notifying students through mailings, e-mails and mandatory meetings that “if they go off campus and get in trouble, they should expect to deal with the consequences,” interim Dean of Students Paul Chebator said.
Any student arrested is put on university probation, and another incident will result in a one-year suspension from the school, Chebator said.
To keep students on campus, the college will begin hosting weekly events dubbed “Nights on the Heights,” with dances and stand-up comedians.
Keady said the school will also visit areas that have been problems in the past so that trouble never starts.
“We are looking at this year as the year we can spread out and respond to complaints the community has,” Chebator said.
After a chaotic meeting in June that saw an attendee removed, the mood at Tuesday’s meeting was calm, with several residents and task force members saying they supported the measures BC is taking.
“I’m really encouraged,” said resident Karen Marshall. “Please, keep coming back and tell us what’s working and what’s not.”
Several neighbors said they didn’t necessarily want to see students arrested, but would like to see more students housed on campus to lessen the neighborhood impact.
“Who I’d like to see expelled is the absentee, negligent landlords,” said Theresa Hynes. “They are the people ruining the neighborhood.”
Keady said that he agreed with the statement, and BC is making strides to house more students on campus as part of its 10-year master plan. The college currently houses 85 percent of its undergrads, and in 10 years wants that number to be 92 percent.Whom to notify if you have problems:
Boston Police are always the first call to make when it comes to late-night merrymaking in Allston and Brighton, but police are often inundated with parties on weekends.
“I can be the first to tell you, on a Friday or Saturday night, we won’t get to them all,” said Officer Steve Law.
If police aren’t showing up, call Boston College Police at 617-552-4440.
If there’s a problem during a weekday, call the BC Office of Community Affairs at 617-552-4787.
If you still feel like police haven’t adequately responded, called the District D-14 community service department the next day at 617-343-4376. Provide the police with an exact address, if possible; the community service officers keep a list of homes they’ve already visited and make them a priority for patrols, Law said.