April 20, 2004

Group Discusses Ordinance

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The Campus-Community Coalition met last night to discuss anti-alcohol measures occurring at Ithaca’s three campus communities. The coalition, comprised of judicial administrators, campus-community officials, student representatives from Cornell, Ithaca College, and Tompkins Cortland Community College, city officials and law enforcement officers, meets regularly to develop methods of minimizing off-campus alcohol-related nuisances.

The city’s new noise ordinance was the first order of business. Michael Taylor ’05 (D-4th Ward) outlined noise policies that are now in effect following the launch of the ordinance over the weekend, underscoring that the major changes affect noise punishment, but make few additional demands to noise enforcement.

“The major change is that the fines went up,” Taylor said.

Ithaca Police Officer Christine Barksdale reiterated that the ordinance does not alter her job significantly, but will, instead, have a greater affect on the ensuing judiciary procedure. “If I’m writing a ticket, I’m writing a ticket,” she said. “After that, it’s up to the judge.”

However, Taylor and Barksdale agreed that the ordinance’s recent publicity will lead to increased noise enforcement.

“Because more people know about the ordinance, there will probably be more enforcement,” Barksdale said.

In addition, Bob Holt, director of the office of public safety at Ithaca College, announced IC’s recent initiative to target and act on rowdy partying taking place in the South Hill area. Working in conjunction with the Ithaca Police Department, the college has identified particularly problematic off-campus addresses and is in the process of drafting a warning letter to the residents of those houses. Holt explained that this course of action is in response to numerous testimonies from South Hill residents that detail incidents of alcohol-related aggravation.

“It’s a volatile situation when you sit down with neighbors that put up with what they’ve been putting up with,” he said.

According to Holt, the letter that will be sent to houses that frequently violate government standards will be “pretty specific as to what the consequences will be,” if their past behavior continues.

“This marks the first time that IC has moved off-campus,” he added, emphasizing that the administration has extended action beyond campus.

Slope Day, another alcohol-related event that commands the attention of city law enforcement and University administrators, was a significant topic of discussion as well.

Tim Marchell ’82, director of alcohol policy initiatives, outlined steps that the University will take to minimize alcohol-related incidents that challenge campus life and judicial administrators each year. Like last year, the Libe Slope will be fenced in and no outside food or beverages will be allowed on the slope. In terms of changes, Marchell said that he slope will be opened an hour later than last year to dissuade students from drinking so early in the morning, and non-Cornell students will pay $15, rather than $5, to attend the event this year.

“The biggest problem we anticipate is drinking before the event,” he said.

According to Marchell, banning outside refreshments on the slope last year caused on campus drinking to decrease, but led to an increase in off-campus drinking. Marchell hopes that providing an entire afternoon of musical entertainment will be an incentive for students to limit their alcohol consumption.

Nick Linder ’05, president of the student assembly and member of the Slope Day Steering Committee, agreed that musical acts taking stage late in the day will persuade students to consume alcohol with caution.

“OAR is a huge band and the are an excellent performing act,” he said. “I think that people will want to see them at 4:45 in the afternoon.”

“If you get up at seven or eight and start drinking, you’re going to be passed out by the time [the entertainment] comes out,” he said.

Judicial Administrator Mary Beth Grant described the University’s plans to address Slope Day alcohol offenses. Minor alcohol offenders will undergo alcohol education programs, while more serious offenses will be subject to traditional judiciary protocol.

Gary Stewart, assistant director of community and government relations, also announced plans to place informative door hangers on Collegetown doors as a part of a community alcohol awareness project.

Other ways that the university has decided to take a more active role in off-campus behavior includes meetings with Kent Hubbell ’69, Dean of Students, following alcohol-related offenses taking place off-campus. While this measure does not pose judicial consequences, administrators hope that these meetings will dissuade students from repeatedly engaging in aggravating alcoholic activity.

Stewart also outlined plans for Senior Week, emphasizing that the University has planned many on campus activities so as to minimize any destructive alcohol-related effects on Collegetown.

“The University is investing its resources in having events kept on campus,” Stewart said. “We want to keep as many folks from Collegetown as possible.”

Archived article by Ellen Miller
Sun Senior Writer