By Sam Pfeifer
Earlier this year, some Colorado College seniors signed their names in support of a letter that voiced frustration with the school’s handling of off campus parties. On Oct. 7, the letter was published in The Catalyst by Isabella McShea ’20.
In the letter, McShea pointed to the leniency that members of the senior class experienced when they were first-year students. This has changed, according to McShea.
“As our time at CC has gone on, however, it seems that campus safety, CSPD, and the administration have chosen to make school camaraderie through parties much more difficult,” she wrote.
After the letter was published, the expressed concerns went unaddressed until Nov. 7, when CC Student Government Association hosted a dialogue on the issue. The meeting included members of the class of 2020, along with representatives of the college.
The goal of the meeting was to begin what will be a long process of dialogue between students and the school. Josh Isringhausen, Community Standards & Conduct Specialist, and Cathy Buckley, Assistant Director of Campus Safety, hoped to clear the air about the process by which parties are shut down.
Ultimately, the reason why most parties are shut down can be attributed to noise, Buckley and Isringhausen said.
There are two ways Campus Safety or Colorado Springs Police Department (CSPD) respond to a party.
Contrary to popular belief, the only time that Campus Safety shows up to a party is when they receive a phone call from the Colorado Springs community. If a party is registered, Campus Safety will make their first contact early in the night. Afterwards, they are on patrol until a call is received. Every time a call comes through their dispatch, the staffer always asks whether the caller would prefer that the party be shut down or simply quieted.
“We have a little bit more latitude that way,” Buckley said.
The other way that calls can be received is through CSPD. In this case, party hosts will have a uniformed officer knocking on their door. Hosts lose that latitude when calls are received specifically by CSPD.
Buckley also said that when officers — Campus Safety and CSPD alike — arrive at a party, they will determine the actual level of noise.
“Most of the time when we are on scene we will figure out, how far away are we hearing this noise from?” she said.
Both Isringhausen and Buckley, along with Resident Life Coordinators Luis Valdez and Sergio Portesan, hoped to give tips on how students can make decisions that enable fun while also taking into consideration their neighbors.
“I think part of this conversation comes down to Colorado College’s relationship with the Colorado Springs Community that we are embedded in. We are not in a bubble. … We have to share this space,” said Isringhausen.
While this information proved to be helpful, some students were still dissatisfied and confused as to what more they could be doing to not get shut down.
In response, Luis Valdez said, “It’s only playing into it if you all are way too loud.”
“Think about your neighbors,” Buckley said.
Students also expressed frustration with broader issues, including CSPD presence. McShea and Rachel Powers ’20 told their story of a run-in early in the semester with CSPD. They said their house had received a noise complaint early in the evening when CSPD officers showed up. The conversation was brief and instructive. They were told they needed to centralize their party and everything would be fine.
Campus Safety had not shown up yet. Instead, McShea and Powers said a CSPD patrol was parked in front of their house for 40 minutes, making them and other partygoers uncomfortable.
Eventually the police car left — at this point the house was nearly empty with only seven people still in attendance, they said. CSPD showed up again, about a half hour later, this time with Campus Safety, saying that this time the party had to be shut down.
“The officers that are just strolling by or parked outside people’s houses have made a lot of students uncomfortable, especially in the wake of the De’Von Bailey shooting,” McShea said.
With much left to be discussed, CCSGA hopes to organize another meeting next semester.