NEW BRITAIN - Itâ€™s a new school year but an old issue: college kids partying in off-campus houses surrounding Central Connecticut State University.
â€śThereâ€™s houses all over the neighborhood now,â€ť said Keith Briggs, a resident of 190 Hillcrest Ave. â€śAnd thereâ€™s more than one party at a time.â€ť
Recently, members of the CCSU athletic program were suspended ater police responded to a house on Roxbury Road, New Britain Police Chief Chris Chute said.
CCSU assistant Athletic Director for Communication and Media Services Thomas Pincince confirmed Thursday to The Herald that 11 members of the menâ€™s soccer team were suspended for three games over the past two weeks for a â€śviolation of team rules.â€ť
He declined to say which rules were violated, but went on to say athletes are spoken to at the beginning of the season and every day about being respectful members of the community and representing the school in a positive manner.
Briggs shared his comments and concerns of the students leaving trash and urinating on peopleâ€™s lawns at a recent New Britain Police Commissioners meeting after several users on Facebook posted about the issue.
While some of the posts say kids are going to party, the issue has been going on for about five years ago, Briggs said at the meeting.
The school has had issues with partying, as several football players were suspended from playing in 2017 for partying.
At the police commissioners meeting, Chute outlined ways his department is combating the problem. The suspension came as his department has worked with CCSU on strengthening penalties for violators, he said, â€śSo weâ€™re taking this very seriously.â€ť
City police have increased patrols in the area with CCSU on the party nights of Thursday, Friday and Saturday, Chute said. His department has identified streets with â€śrepeat offenderâ€ť houses, which were not immediately available. The houses have been warned so full on-site arrests or arrests by warrant can be made for their occupants.
Samantha Downham, 21, of 44 Biltmore Street, was arrested Saturday, Sept. 14, for second-degree breach of peace, after police heard loud music from two houses away at 3 a.m. and observed people drinking inside the house, according to court records. Her house had received six complaints for loud partying/noise between Sept. 7 and Sept. 14, according to the warrant for her arrest.
â€śWeâ€™re not even waiting for calls. Weâ€™re going to houses,â€ť Chute said. â€śWeâ€™re moving forward very strongly. â€¦ This year, the cooperation at CCSU has been the best weâ€™ve seen so far.â€ť
CCSU President Zulma Toro said she has been working with several campus departments to have students change their behaviors and understand there are consequences to misconduct. Itâ€™s something that must be done every year, she said.
She has spoken with students and neighbors about the issue, and is in the process of developing by mid-October an online portal where residents can file complaints that will be sent directly to the presidentâ€™s office, she said. A certification process for landlords to be verified and advertised with the school as responsible landlords for students is also being worked on.
â€śI can guarantee you that since my arrival, I have been more involved (with this) than any previous CCSU president,â€ť Toro said.
â€śWe understand neighbors have been in their homes for many years. They are part of our community as well.â€ť
A Town/Gown meeting, which is a public meeting on the use of alcohol on-campus and off-campus in the neighborhood surrounding the school is scheduled for Oct. 7 at the CCSU student center, and Toro said she will be there.
Charles Paullin can be reached at 860-801-5074 or firstname.lastname@example.org.