The historical struggle in Fort Collins between college
students, notorious for having effervescent social gatherings long
through the night, and non-student residents, who prefer a calmer,
quieter atmosphere, was recently epitomized when four CSU students
living together received the dubious record in Fort Collins for the
most citations from the police.
“We have eight tickets, which is the record,” said James Purvis,
CSU student and tenant of the house that has been red-flagged by
the city. “We’ve been labeled a public nuisance twice, two times
Derek Breier, the Associated Students of CSU’s director of
community affairs, said Fort Collins has red-flagged zones, one of
which is the grid centered near Prospect Road and Constitution
Avenue. This is where Purvis resides.
Purvis said when he and his three roommates had their last
offense (two outstanding noise violation tickets in one night), the
police officers told them that they held the record for most
The four tenants have collectively paid more than $2,000 in
fines from their citations, an amount that has been incredibly
difficult to amass, Purvis said.
“They better chill out now, or have a grand a pop,” said Breier,
adding that the Fort Collins judge just deemed that the court can
now slap a $1,000 fine on first offenses, whereas in the past it
was a stair-stepped system of incremental fines.
“My belief is the city is using it as a scare tactic for
students. It might work, but I don’t think that it’s the way to do
it,” said Breier, who communicates student positions to City
Council on these types of issues.
With so many outstanding citations, Purvis and his roommates
expectedly ran into even more legal complications.
“The city called me and said that they were going to start an
action to evict us,” Purvis said. “But I worked with them and since
we’re all leaving in a few months, they said they’ll let us
The police have been called to the house more than 20 times and
the majority of the time they simply say to turn down the music and
quiet everybody, Purvis said.
“We’ve had some cops that recognize us when they come over,” he
said, adding that they usually appreciate how cooperative they are
but that two officers were rather “pissed” when they saw that the
tenant’s first public-nuisance ticket was hung up on the wall.
“They were upset that we were promoting it,” Purvis said. “But
we are kind of proud in a way, especially now, just because we
broke the city record.”
One reason the city believes cases such as this occur and why
the Prospect and Constitution grid has such high complaints is
because many college students are breaking the three-unrelated
persons rule, Breier said. This ordinance makes it illegal for more
than three unrelated people to live in the same household, but
Breier said he thinks the rule is useless.
“On a busy day, you could throw a rock out on the student Plaza
and four out of five people you hit are violating the rule. It’s
not like students are trying to break the law, but it’s how we
afford living,” he said.
Purvis attributed a different reason for his house’s outstanding
record and problems within the community. He said his house is an
example of the fact that Fort Collins is a college town and not a
retirement party, which some unrelenting neighbors refuse to
accept. This results in older residents with an
unnecessary-but-genuine distaste for college students and call the
police on them habitually.
“These guys hate us,” he said. “One neighbor, Paul, said that he
thinks we have a whorehouse because he sees women coming in all the
time, but those are our girlfriends that come over and stay with
Purvis said one particular neighbor, Victor Smith, makes
cohabitation within the community extremely difficult.
“I talked to Vic in the beginning and he basically said that he
will have zero tolerance,” Purvis said.
Smith, who lives directly across from Purvis’ house, has lived
there for 22 years and said people will have parties around the
block, but only in moderation, and that Purvis’ house makes a
tendency of it.
“People get loud routinely in the middle of the night and it
bothers everybody,” Smith said. “The noise level can be really loud
up until 3 at night.”
Smith said he owns rental property and that he rents to students
and tries to be flexible. He lets them know what they can do to be
good neighbors and that he doesn’t dislike living near college
students, but he wishes that the communication was more clear.
Purvis said he and his roommates never intended to disturb their
neighbors or the community, but sometimes “a night starts off with
a 30-pack and turns into four kegs.” They try to cooperate and let
the neighbors know they are being responsible.
Purvis said he and his roommates will be leaving and all hope
that their next location has a better situation where they can
maintain a pleasant relationship with their neighbors without
compromising their youthful magic moments.
“Hopefully we won’t get tickets any more,” he said.