In an effort to ensure the safety and welfare of its students and improve quality-of-life issues in the neighborhoods around Temple, the university is putting a stronger focus on reducing off-campus party behavior.
“We recognize that social events are part of college life, and as long as these events are conducted in a safe, respectful manner, they are acceptable,” said President Neil D. Theobald. “However, we cannot condone disrespectful and disruptive behavior by a relatively small number of students, nor can we ignore an increase in the number of students hospitalized and injured during events involving alcohol.
“For these reasons, Temple University is taking a strong stand against unruly behavior in and around campus,” he added.
President Theobald explained that with the increased housing development by private developers, there has been an increase in quality-of-life issues for neighborhood residents, as well as an increase in safety and health issues for the student population. Some private housing units are the sites of large parties and gatherings which often spill out onto city streets, impacting the people and properties around them.
As part of the initiative, Temple is working with the city’s Department of Licenses and Inspections to ensure that the homes that students live in are safe and meet the city building code.
In addition to the university’s Good Neighbor Policy and outreach efforts, Temple is taking several steps, beginning immediately.
During peak party times (Thursday–Saturday evenings), Temple will have members of a community support team who, working closely with Temple’s Department of Campus Safety, will walk the neighborhoods and work with students to be sure these gatherings are under control and students are safe.
Temple’s Student Conduct Code is being revised to further address parties where alcohol is served. Under the revised code, the mandatory minimum fines will be increased for alcohol violations. The mandatory minimum fine for a first offense will remain at $250, but fines for second and third offenses will be increased to $750 and $1,000 respectively. If there are further charges related to an alcohol incident, such as damage to property or disorderly conduct, the university will decide if suspension or expulsion is warranted. In addition, Temple will no longer “credit” students if they had to pay a fine assessed by the city of Philadelphia for the same incident.
Temple will also use the Student Conduct Code to address the issue of off-campus parties. To date, the penalties for alcohol have focused on individual students for drinking and related issues. Going forward, individuals who host parties and provide alcohol will be subject to the same penalties as students who are simply drinking. Any resident (i.e., anyone who lives at the residence or whose name is on the lease) of a house where a party is being hosted may be charged with a violation of the Student Conduct Code regardless of whether or not they were at the party. Fines may be as high as $1,500 per resident of the party house, and the university will decide if suspension or expulsion is warranted.
At the request of Temple University and the city of the Philadelphia, the Liquor Control Board (LCB) will work regularly in the area, particularly on weekends, to monitor parties at which alcohol is being served. The LCB fines for underage drinking and hosting and charging people to attend parties. Students caught drinking, as well as hosts of parties, are subject to those fines, the loss of driver’s licenses and court costs.
Working with Temple Student Government, the university will support alcohol education programs such as Define Your Line, which is geared toward helping students make informed decisions about drinking. These efforts will go hand in hand with the alcohol awareness campaigns already in place at Temple, which focus on the dangers of risky behavior.
“In talking with neighbors about their concerns, student behavior surrounding off-campus parties is one of the biggest complaints I hear,” said Joyce Wilkerson, Temple’s senior advisor for community relations and development. “These initiatives will make a difference in addressing those concerns and promote a safer environment for everyone in our community.”
To further improve neighborhood conditions and minimize trash on the streets, Temple is working in conjunction with the city of Philadelphia to provide dumpsters at key locations around the neighborhood during peak “move-out” times for students (around the end of the semester and graduation, and at the end of July, when many private leases end).