Tuesday, July 23, 2013

War on Rowdyism: The Tide Is Turning

 Graph courtesy of APD

With overall citations up 30% over last year it may seem counter intuitive to declare the problem of rampaging college aged youth is getting better ... but it is.

Note, for instance,  the decrease in arrests for "noise" vs citations issued this year vs last.  But an increase in "nuisance" tickets, a slighter higher level of response/sanction to a party.

A cop in the field has a fair amount of latitude in deciding to arrest (cuff hands behind back, throw -- err, gently place -- in the back of a cruiser and bring to the station for booking) or simply issue a $300 ticket.

If the perps are cooperative they only get a warning, or civil infraction ticket; if not they get arrested.

Word has gotten out about noise/nuisance bylaw enforcement, and the kids are starting to get the message.

According to UMPD Chief John Horvath:

"UMPD dedicated more officers to supporting APD with off campus issues in spring 2013.  The two departments have worked together for a long time and there are good relationships built, while new ones are forming.  It is my intention to continue to work with APD, Chief Livingstone and the Amherst & Hadley communities to support them when needed, while respecting the jurisdictional boundaries that are established."

UMPD Mounted Patrol stationed on Phillips Street April 5th 

I also asked APD Chief Scott Livingstone if this past spring seemed better controled than last spring because of a united crackdown:  

" We know that the weekends have been quieter than past years, because of enforcement, assistance from UMPD and MSP, and the cooler weather…I also think the continued messaging from Enku Gelaye's office helped as well." 

This spring UMass officials issued stern messages to students and their parents warning about the consequences of bad behavior.  They also instituted "Walk This Way", where a legion of volunteers set up at high traffic areas during the late night to redirect revelers away from residential neighborhoods. 

Amherst Select Board Chair Stephanie O'Keeffe in the dead of night mid-April

Chief Livingstone agrees enforcement is working, but it also comes at a high cost: 

"We can put an end to much of the bad behavior with enforcement, but not all the bad behavior. Problem is, it cost a lot of money in overtime  cost, and my cops get tired and burned out, and that worries me…Tired cops and stressful situations are a bad combination…" 

According to a prominent longtime local landlord (whose property once made my "Party House of the Weekend") this past spring was "as under control as any I can recall."

Yes, of course the "Blarney Blowout" stands as a notable exception.  But perhaps -- coming in the early spring -- it acted as a wake up call, setting off a "we're-not-going-to-take-this-anymore" response.

A kind of high water mark for rowdy behavior that, like Pickett's Charge at Gettysburg, represents a dramatic example of a turning point ... the beginning of the end.


Walter Graff said...

Don't let one year fool you.

Anonymous said...

Sorta reminds me of William Westmoreland describing American successes in Vietnam.

Just before Tet....

Larry Kelley said...

Actually I'm a reporter, not a general.

And nobody has covered this beat closer than I have over the past three years.

Walter Graff said...

"Sorta reminds me of William Westmoreland describing American successes in Vietnam."

Just shows he lack of resolve on the part of US administrators to continue the war. Reminds me of when Obama said he'd never let Detroit fail.

Anonymous said...

No Walter, we won every battle in Vietnam -- we won Tet, right on down to shooting the enemy as they came over the backstop of a rifle range.

We lost the war because the costs necessary to continue fighting it the way we were exceeded the ability of the politicians to sustain it.

Historians generally state that "The Quakers won the Battle of Boston by sending more people willing to die into Massachusetts than the Puritans were willing to execute." (E.g. Mary Dyer.)

And Amherst is going to loose this war because of equally stupid tactical and strategic blunders. Telling people they aren't allowed to walk on certain sidewalks -- that worked for a while in Selma, and will for a while in Amherst, but only for a while...

Dr. Ed said...

Part 1 or 2:

And then there is this from the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Fewer large lecture classes....Web-enhanced hybrid classes, fully online courses, accelerated courses, and competency based modules.

While all the students in a large lecture class (as well as the person(s) teaching it) need to physically be in Amherst, hence "live" in Amherst, this will no longer be necessary.

Pressure to accelerate the time needed to get a degree and to demonstrate greater accountability for student learning will encourage institutions to provide credit for learning that takes place outside the regular curriculum, whether from MOOCs or from "real world" experience.

Learning that has/is taking place OUTSIDE OF AMHERST!

We will see a proliferation of online-degree programs, virtual universities, and corporate training programs. Today, most online programs serve an institution's existing students, but over the next three years, a significantly higher number will pursue nonmatriculated students at all levels. This rush will result in bone-crushing competition, so only a few of these efforts will succeed.

If higher education truly went from a "seller's market" to a "buyer's market", an institution with poor customer service (UMass) located in a community that is openly hostile to its customers (Amherst) -- an institution which currently is viable largely because it holds a monopoly on the "cheapest option" niche of the market -- isn't going to do well.

Innovation 12: Online and low-residency degrees at flagships
This could prove to be severely disruptive to many less well-known institutions, while prompting resistance from traditional-classroom students and alumni.

And a lot of folks in Amherst when they realize the economic consequences -- but well over 90% of the General Court will be more concerned about what is best for their own communities & constituents.

Dr. Ed said...

Part 2 of 2"

Assuming, for the sake of argument, that UMass Amherst is able to hold onto its "flagship" status -- that it neither looses it to a large private (e.g. Boston University) or to an out-of-state public flagship (e.g. U-Conn), this still means a whole lot less UM students physically in Amherst.

In other words, the summer will be year-round, except that all the jobs preparing for next fall's students won't be there either. UMass could well go from having about 5000 non-teaching employees to having 1000 -- maybe only 500. These are good-paying state jobs with *family* benefits, and loosing them is going to truly impact the town in ways you can not even begin to imagine.

There are 63 sworn UMPD officers (twice what there was in the early '90s) largely because the students are on campus. Without them there, it could go to the pre-Grabiec "Campus Security" department it once was, with 6-10 security guards and law enforcement being an APD function (as fire is an AFD one today).

Do not forget that is how it was for the first hundred-or-so years of UMass -- as late as the 1960's it was only "security" with APD being the police -- there's no law that says UM has to have its own police department, only that they can.

Alternate forms of credentialing will become increasingly common. Some students might prefer a certificate in business, for example, from a more prestigious institution, rather than a business minor from their home institutions.

UMass Amherst is not prestigious within the Commonwealth -- this is a fact regardless of merit -- and what's not being said here is that companies may prefer to hire the 20-year-old with an 18-month certificate from, say, Bently or Brandeis than the 22-year-old who either couldn't get into all the courses they would have liked, and thus didn't take them, or spent 5 years out there so he/she/it could.

Throw in the fact they may have graduated themselves from Bently or Brandeis, along with the fact that not having as many student loans, the 20-year-old will accept a lower starting salary -- and why would anyone trek out to Amherst?

Anonymous said...

A cop in the field has a fair amount of latitude in deciding to arrest... or simply issue a $300 ticket.

For an offense that, itself, does not include incarceration.

This is not only unConstitutional but simply wrong -- and that is because the purpose of the police is to apprehend (and subdue)lawbreakers, not to punish them.

Remember the movie "Judge Dredd" where the police officers were also "judge & jury", where the officer (Sylvester Stallone) would find people guilty and execute them on the spot?

Remember that infamous photograph of the Saigon Police Chief shooting the captured prisoner in the head -- remember how people, *particularly* in Amherst, had a lot of problems with that?

Remember how people had problems with the LAPD beating up Rodney King -- who quite likely "deserved it" in that he had done things for which punishment was warranted -- but we didn't want (a) the cops being the ones who did it, (b) prior to anything resembling a trial, not to mention (c) this form of punishment.

Remember that pre-trial detention is credited toward any jail sentence, but there has to be a potential jail sentence for the "time served" to be credited toward. Otherwise, the police jailing a person is every bit as illegal as what they did to Rodney King -- and that *was* wrong, wasn't it?

So what you have here is not the officer having the discretion to charge the individual -- legitimate "prosecutoral discretion -- but to sentence the individual.

In this country, a police officer neither has the authority to determine what the punishment for an offense should be, nor to convict an individual of the offense -- that's what the 14th Amendment is all about.

And you are putting people into jail and requiring them to pay bail bond fees to get out of jail -- for an offense which doesn't authorize them to be jailed in the first place.

Larry, there's right and wrong.

Anonymous said...

And just because Bill Newman chooses to ignore this doesn't legitimize it -- the ACLU is not what it was a half century ago, and Newman himself is only one of the 42,483 lawyers licensed to practice in Massachusetts.

Yes, with 6.4 lawyers per thousand residents, Massachusetts is the state with the second highest percentage of lawyers (NY has 8.4) -- and sooner or later, one of those 42,482 other lawyers is going to do to Amherst what other lawyers did to the Catholic church.

Anonymous said...

You cannot win this war. If you demean the "rowdyness" of Amherst enough, you lose the students all together. I used to live in the area/work at the school. Their kids, let them be kids, if they get arrested it will be a lesson. You reporting it for three years is just an honest waste of time.

Larry Kelley said...

Oh. okay. I'll stop now. Anything for a CAN.

Anonymous said...

Larry. The vast majority of students always get away scot free. There are ~40,000 of us in the area, and one of you.

Get over it. You don't "follow a beat." You're not a reporter. You write a nuisance blog and should be cited for it.

Larry Kelley said...

Make my day, CAN.