Concerns about students partying at The Province led to a meeting between RIT and the company that manages the complex prior to Thanksgiving break.
|A dramatization of students after a crazy off-campus party.
Dawn Soufleris, assistant vice president for Student Affairs, met with representatives of Edwards Student Housing Management to discuss problems. RIT became concerned after the first two weeks of school, Soufleris says, when reports began coming in about heavy drinking at The Province, a student-housing complex on John Street. Soufleris said she received reports from parents as well. Investigations were conducted by Public Safety, who concluded that some students had been drinking off-campus at The Province.
Within the first six weeks of classes, Student Affairs reported 10 transports to the hospital, a fight involving brass knuckles and a few arrests, all related to drinking at The Province.
Originally, the communication between the RIT and complex managers was minimal. When The Province was first built, both parties met to discuss their future relationship. Soufleris recalls the first meeting with Ty Mendelson, The Province’s assistant community manager, being great. After this initial meeting, however, nothing was solidified regarding communication over behavior at The Province.
This lack of communication concerned RIT because federal law requires the university to report behavior statistics and information about crimes both on and around its campus.
The series of alcohol-related events and concerns from parents and faculty has led RIT to meet with employees of The Province and bridge a communication gap about student behavior. Soufleris met with Nate Rivard, the regional manager of Edwards Student Housing, to discuss concerns. Rivard also met with The Province’s community manager, Patricia Militello, and Mendelson.
Since those meetings, The Province has done everything RIT has asked, Soufleris said. Both are hopeful about their new, more communicative relationship.
Last week, The Province held an event for residents where they served free Buffalo Wild Wings food. At the gathering, Soufleris and Joe Johnston, associate director of the Center for Student Conduct & Conflict Management Services, gave a presentation at the apartment complex’s clubhouse to approximately 50 to 60 students about safe partying and RIT’s relationship with the company.
“It will definitely be an ongoing relationship with RIT,” Mendelson said. “We’ll work in conjunction and think of what will benefit our residents the most and make them more aware and responsible.”
The Province has also implemented a few new practices to control the number of guests entering the housing area. Militello says that a courtesy officer will be positioned at The Province’s entrance on weekends to try and stop people without any definite destination from entering.
“Maybe they won’t even be RIT students, riding in a car looking for an open party, not knowing anyone who lives here,” Militello said. “We are trying to curtail that behavior.”
As for RIT, Student Affairs sponsors the Off-Campus Task Force, which reaches out to students who live off-campus. Their main tool for reaching out is the Off Campus and Apartment Student Association (OCASA), which is located on the second floor of the Campus Center. There, Student Affairs distributes brochures about being a good neighbor and partying responsibly, including notifying neighbors of any social events.
RIT plans on being supportive of future programming at the off-campus apartments, Soufleris said, and The Province plans on sharing information with RIT to ensure the safety of students, Mendelson said.
“Collaboration is best for the safety of our students,” Soufleris said.