February 16, 2012

Collegetown Officials Urge Students to Work With Local Residents

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Speaking at a Student Assembly meeting Thursday, Ithaca Common Council members Graham Kerslick (D-4th Ward) and Eddie Rooker ’10 (D-4th Ward) solicited student feedback as a possible resolution to what they called worsening relations between Collegetown residents and student tenants. They cited increasing social activity in Collegetown as one cause of the conflict.

“We want to work with students to tone down partying,” Kerslick said. “The ‘no alcohol on campus policy’ has had an impact on alcohol consumption. High-risk drinking has increased. We all realized that there has been an impact, but the problems haven’t been addressed.”

Rooker said that in order for students and Collegetown residents to establish a working relationship, communication between the two groups must improve.

“There’s a disconnect between the residents of Collegetown and the students that live there,” he said. “We need to recognize that there are issues on both sides.”

Kerslick and Rooker emphasized the need to “formalize student input” to give students “more of a voice in the city.” They said students need to play a more active part in city development.

Rooker also stressed that students need to be better educated on the Collegetown rental process, saying that they often do not realize that they can “tattletale on their landlord” if the landlord does not adequately maintain a property.

“Their rights as tenants need to be better communicated year to year, and not disappear from knowledge when one student leaves,” he said.

The council members said that a student advocacy group could be one way to accomplish that goal.

Rooker suggested that such a group could also play a role in planning future commercial development in Collegetown.

“I think there is an opportunity here … to get more student input in terms of amenities in Collegetown,” he said.

Original Author: Sophie Lin