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Neighbors Blast Off-Campus College Parties in Providence

Wednesday, September 09, 2015


Recent off-campus college parties have drawn criticism from neighbors across the city, after a number drew Providence Police -- and arrests -- over Labor Day weekend as the new school year gets underway.  

"PPD had 11 arrests for public drinking and 8 arrests for underage drinking from 9/3-9/6, mainly in the [Providence College} area," said Providence Police Public Information Officer Lindsay Lague. "67 calls for loud music/party on 9/5. 73 calls for loud music/party on 9/6 -- these numbers cover calls throughout the entire city."

Meanwhile, a large party on Hope Street with Brown University students drew the police early Sunday evening -- but according to neighbors, kept going later after the authorities initially broke it up at 10 p.m.

"We are disappointed in the absence of leadership at Brown regarding off-campus housing and student behavior. This partying issue could have been addressed by Brown clearly and confidently many months, if not years ago," said Chris Tompkins, who lives next door to where the party took place.

"Despite repeated administrative denials, Brown's on-campus party / alcohol policy since January 2015 has been driving partying off campus into the College Hill neighborhood," continued Tompkins, noting a recent Brown Herald piece reporting that the school upheld an interim policy prohibiting events with alcohol in residential spaces. "We know, we live here. Brown's on-campus partying / alcohol policies are all about eliminating potential liability rather than managing a healthy residential life for its students."

Colleges, Community Sound Off

Community leader Kobi Dennis, who lives close to Providence College, said that he saw the Providence police as "out in force" with the parties over the weekend -- but questioned whether the accountability for safety should rest solely on law enforcement officers.

"They don't come down hard on those kids, you don't want to make PC and URI look too bad, they spend a lot at these colleges," said Dennis, the Director of Night Visions, of the schools.  "I think it's unfair that [the colleges are] not taxed, and they don't give back as much as they should.  How many kids from Chad Brown go to PC? There's no program.  If you're going to terrorize our neighborhoods, then give back."

Dennis said one of his major concerns was the aftermath after parties, namely, trash. 

"They're littering out of this world -- and Radcliffe is a beautiful street," said Dennis. "They're kids, that's fine. But don't go terrorizing our streets because you go to PC.  All around you see are red cups.  Not too long ago there used to be some fraternities and sororities who would come back the next day to help clean. If I were to walk around with a red cup, drinking in public -- what would happen to me? People need to know there's consequences. And there needs to be an easier way to communicate with the school.  Not everyone can take time out of work to go on campus to lodge a formal complaint."

A representative from Providence College said the school will be actively looking into what transpired last weekend, and determine how it will act. 

"We get copies of every Providence Police (PPD) report that is filed concerning a PC student.  In addition to whatever sanctions or fines are imposed by PPD, our students also face disciplinary action by the College.  However, we don’t just wait for a PPD report.  If we are aware of unlawful, illegal or unruly activity by one or more of our students, we will step in and take action by asking the student(s) to come before our Community Standards office to explain themselves," said Steve Maurano, Associate Vice President for Public Affairs at Providence College.  "We are in the process of reviewing the reports and will take action as warranted."

Maurano said an effort has been underway to improve neighborhood relations.

"Last fall, we created the Campus and Community Coalition.  The group is chaired by our Associate Vice President / Dean of Students, Steven Sears, and includes Providence College students, faculty, and administrators, Providence Police, some neighbors, and landlords.  We’ve also had representatives from Johnson and Wales join us and plan to invite RIC and Bryant to future meetings this year.  At our most recent meeting, on August 28, 2015, Councilwoman Jo-Ann Ryan joined us," said Maurano. 

"In addition, I regularly communicate with neighbors through an Elmhurst Facebook page, and I am a frequent attendee at many community meetings.  Many neighbors know they can call or email me with their concerns and some do so on a regular basis," Maurano added.

Brown similarly addressed the measures it takes to oversee off-campus students

"Brown University makes no distinction between students who live on or off campus. All students are held to the same code of conduct," said Brown University's Mark Nickel. "The Office of Student Life, the Office of Residential Life, and the Office of Governmental Relations and Community Affairs work with Brown and Providence police and with neighborhood associations to address and resolve any problems that may arise."

Tompkins, however, said that he perceived Brown's off-campus housing needs - and associated issues -- as growing. 

"Brown is increasing its undergraduate student body and allowing younger students to live off-campus. There is no plan of where to house the students," said Tompkins. 


Related Slideshow: Providence College and University Tax-Exempt Properties

Below is a breakdown of how much revenue Providence will lose as properties recently purchased by four local colleges and universities are gradually phased off the tax rolls, rather than taken off immediately, in accordance with a 2003 set of agreements. The colleges agreed to pay full taxes for five years, then two thirds for the next five years, and one third for the remaining of 15 years. After that, the properties go off the tax rolls permanently. The first slide shows the total revenue decline in five-year increments. The second shows the total revenue loss over the entire 15-year period. The subsequent slides show for each of the colleges and universities lists the properties they own which fall under the agreement and how much each one is paying in total now and will be paying in the future. Data was obtained from the city Internal Auditor.

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Revenue Decline

Annual Tax Revenue Today: $1,908,927

Annual Tax Revenue in 5 Years: $1,354,570

Annual Tax Revenue in 10 Years: $655,292

Annual Tax Revenue in 15 Years: $22,010

Total Annual Decline: $1,886,917

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Total Revenue Loss

Revenue Without the Deals: $28,339,905

Revenue with the Deals: $14,163,338

Difference: $14,470,567

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Brown U. Properties

Properties that Fall Under the Deal

154 Angel

43 Elm Street

43 Elm Street

355 Eddy Street

222 Richmond Street

94 Waterman Street

269-289 Richmond Street

269-289 Richmond Street

269-289 Richmond Street

6 Elbow Street

221 Richmond Street

198 Dyer Street

337 Eddy Street




Prev Next

Brown University Taxes

Annual Tax Revenue Today: $1,597,929

Annual Tax Revenue in 2029: $5,353

Difference: $1,592,576

Prev Next

RISD Properties

Properties that Fall Under the Deal: 

189 Canal Street

123 Dyer Avenue

Prev Next

RISD Taxes

Annual Tax Revenue in 2015: $74,996

Annual Tax Revenue in 2029: $16,657

Difference: $58,339

Prev Next

PC Properties

Properties that Fall Under the Deal: 

71 Sandringham Ave, 47 Cumberland Street, 60 Devonshire Street, 62 Wardlaw Ave, 67 Sandringham Ave, 1 Sandringham Ave,198 Camden Ave, 194 Camden Ave,101 Dante Street, 6 Cumberland Ave,10 Cumberland Ave, 64 Sandringham Ave, 6 Ventura Ave, 58 Warlaw Street, 26 Cumberland Ave,18 Cumberland Ave, 22 Cumberland Ave, 14 Cumberland Ave, 2 Cumberland Ave, 31 Annie Street, 26 Ventura Street, 43 August Street, 1 Mowry Street, 31 Lucile Street, 309 Huxley Street, 29 Lucile Street, 19 Lucile Street, 32 Annie Street, 2 Lucile Street

Prev Next

PC Taxes

Annual Tax Revenue Today: $63,931

Annual Tax Revenue in 2029: $0

Difference: $44,160

Prev Next

JWU Properties

Properties that Fall Under the Deal: 

55 Shipyard Street

157 Clifford Street

47 Bassett Street

178 Cliford Street

75 California Street

Garage Parcel

Prev Next

Johnson and Wales Taxes

Annual Tax Revenue Today: $247,067

Annual Tax Revenue in 2029: $0

Difference: $247,067


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