Aug 232009
 
Authors: Erin Smith

As freshmen and returning students get settled in for the first week of classes, CSU looks to implement its second trial run for a program that allows students to register parties with the university to avoid noise violation fines.

The initiative, called the Pilot Party Noise Warning Program, aims to reduce the number of noise citations issued — a statistic that has trended downward in the last five years — by encouraging students to register their party with Off-Campus Student Life.

In the event of a noise complaint, OCSL calls the host of a registered party and gives them 20 minutes to break up their party. If they then receive a second complaint, the police send two officers to break up the party and issue a citation.

The new trial period begins this Friday and runs until Saturday, Sept. 26.

“It’s a win-win situation. The police don’t break up parties, which frees us up for hours, students don’t get citations and it benefits the community because parties are broken up faster,” Fort Collins Police Officer Kelley Weaver said.

“It develops trust between the police and the three parties: the community, the university and students,” he said.

CSU Community Liaison Coordinator Melissa Emerson said noise complaints have decreased 45 percent when comparing the same six-week period from spring 2004 to 2009, a figure she attributes to increased noise education and enforcement against noise violations.

Emerson said the additional trial will gather data specific to the fall semester, which usually sees more noise complaints. She said the program is expanding citywide to gauge response and make sure non-students are offered the same services as CSU students.

“We certainly know that noise comes from comes from other people too, not just CSU students,” she said.

Emerson said OCSL registered 76 parties during the spring semester trial, seven of which received warnings, with one warning resulting in a noise citation.

To register a party through OCSL, located in the Lory Student Center, hosts must provide the date and location of their party and a phone number. They can register parties for Friday and Saturday nights only.

“It sounds like a good idea as long as there isn’t too much red tape,” junior history major Stacey Fitzpatrick said, adding that the idea of giving the police the date and location of a party was “sort of iffy.”

“I’d probably feel more comfortable talking to my neighbors before I have a party, which is what we do anyway. We have bands play here and haven’t had any trouble,” she said from her porch.

“Fort Collins is unique in that it’s not just a college town, it’s also a retirement community. It’s also one of the best places to raise children,” Emerson said. “I think it’s absolutely beneficial to do what we can to help students transition into those neighborhoods successfully.”

Staff writer Erin Smith can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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