Quiet hours on campus serve a pretty good purpose, they keep people from being annoyingly loud on weeknights when homework and studying need to happen. Quiet hours have been put in place for a reason, and I won’t argue that. That being said, I’m going to make a plea to the campus of Springfield College, it’s time to extend weekend quiet hours to 1:00 a.m., moving them forward an hour from the current time.
I know we aren’t supposed to drink until you are 21 years old, that’s the law and that needs to be respected. Although, we all need to be honest with ourselves, this is college and people are going to consume under age. It happens everywhere, and while that doesn’t make it right, it does present Springfield College with a problem. Do you pursue underage drinking, or do you make the on campus experience as safe and enjoyable as possible for students?
I want to make this clear, in no way, shape or form, am I encouraging the school to turn a blind eye to underage drinking, I think the way they handle that right now is pretty fair for the most part. It just has to be acknowledged that students are going to consume underage, you’ll never be able to truly enforce that, it’s all about keeping kids safe.
There is a perception about the city of Springfield that isn’t completely true. I’ve heard some pretty bad things about both the people and area off-campus, and most of it is not warranted. But keeping kids on campus should be priority number one for this school. Having kids walking off campus anywhere, not just Springfield, at 12:15 on a Friday or Saturday night is dangerous.
Let’s be frank with each other here, off-campus violence does in fact happen from time to time. It happens in Hartford, it happens in Boston, it happens in New York City, it happens everywhere. It won’t stop either; there are bad people in this world and they live everywhere.
This isn’t a shot at the city of Springfield at all. We saw an example of this on Monday night when students were robbed at gunpoint on King Street, a very popular street for off-campus parties at this school. This isn’t the first time that this has happened and I promise you that this won’t be the last time either.
Having kids who have been drinking all night walk these streets while they likely aren’t in their best state of mind is just flat out dangerous and it isn’t a good idea. This danger can in fact be eliminated by pushing the quiet hours on Friday and Saturday nights to 1:00 a.m. Let kids hang out in the backyard of the townhouses where you know it’ll be safe and you know you can keep somewhat of an eye on them.
Trust me, fewer kids will go off-campus or will go to bars after the townhouses are emptied if it’s a 1:00 a.m. last call of sorts back there. I know that because I’ve talked to a large number of students who share that same sentiment as me.
And let’s be honest about this too: the kids living in the townhouses have been very responsible this year. I’ve noticed kids cleaning up the backyards when it’s time to leave, and I haven’t seen a single issue go on back there. It’s not like you’re letting a crazy frat party run to the end of the night, not even close.
I hope those in power here will test this theory out on Halloween night, a Saturday this year. Halloween is notoriously a dangerous night in cities everywhere, and it will only be magnified coming on a Saturday. Let kids stay on campus later and you’ll have less to worry about.
Will this go anywhere, will this pick up any traction? To be honest, I don’t know. This school has done a lot of good in the last three years, but the late night dangers on Friday and Saturday are still very real. In my mind, letting kids stay in the backyards later and allowing them to have fun on campus until 1:00 a.m. is a very fair compromise. There will be fewer kids going off-campus and more responsible fun.
If the school’s goal is to make sure kids are safe while they drink, and I believe that is the goal, then this should be a no-brainer. I trust this school to do the right thing and at least open dialogue on this idea for the rest of the 2015-16 school year.