The state of Collegetown this year has deteriorated. Hordes of students have taken to the streets in search of the many parties on any given night, resulting in loud music, excessive consumption of alcohol and filthy sidewalks. Multiple members of the Ithaca Common Council have openly complained about and lamented the status of their neighborhood, for good reason. The current situation is a direct result of University policies that limit parties on campus. As this is the case, the University should step in to mitigate the increasing problem.
The problems associated with Collegetown parties have grown since the University increased restrictions on fraternity events. Parties are being held in Collegetown with greater frequency, as fraternities and other large organizations move their parties off campus. At fraternity houses, these events were supervised by sober monitors, did not interfere with Ithaca residences. Additionally, fraternities were held accountable to strict rules that prohibited the serving of hard alcohol.
Even though its decision to ban freshmen from parties on campus led to the migration of parties to Collegetown, the University has not taken responsibility for the worsened state of the neighborhood. We recognize that the previous arrangement created legal issues for the University that needed to be addressed. However, its outright ban on freshmen attendance was not the right approach. It has created a vacuum for weekend social life. Collegetown has filled the void, but for worse.
We believe Cornell should recognize the adverse impact of its action to limit its own legal liability. While the University does not have legal authority over what happens in Collegetown, the University should still take responsibility for the situation. It should act as an intermediary between students and other stakeholders in Collegetown and work to change this destructive climate.
However, this is not solely an issue of the quality of the neighborhood, but also of student safety. While protecting itself, the University has failed to protect students in Collegetown. Cornell should reconsider the restrictions it has placed on fraternities to hold events at their houses. The burden that these restrictions place on Collegetown is unfair to its residents and the greater Cornell community.