This past September the Student Government at Manhattan College came face to face with upset Riverdale residents who were voicing their concerns about certain student misbehaviors.
More specifically, the residents shared a bill of rights that they constructed, which in short, said that neighbors of the college should receive a higher level of respect when students decide to enjoy themselves recreationally. The bill of rights had 150 signatures from residents of Riverdale.
Some of the issues that the residents were having included loud profanity, public urination, physical confrontation, and other things of that nature. All of which were occurring at late or very early hours in the day, multiple days a week.
In response to the neighborhood concerns, a sub committee titled the “Student Neighborhood Relations Committee” was formed that would focus it’s efforts to deter these actions. Now in February after a long semester break, the committee announces it’s pioneering attempt to restore the good relationship that Manhattan College promises to have with the community.
To begin stitching the relationship back together, President of Student Government, Nich Weyland, shared that Student Government will be sponsoring a luncheon on Friday, Feb. 26. at 12 p.m. on the fifth floor of kelly commons. One can RSVP by emailing “firstname.lastname@example.org”. Students and faculty, along with the community are all welcome to attend.
“We are taking the initiative to fix the problem,” said Weyland, “ We are trying to bridge the gap between the neighbors and Manhattan College.”
In Weyland’s eyes however, the gap is not monumental.
“The neighbors are well aware that Manhattan College has a lot of great stuff going on,” said Weyland, “They know that the issue is not every student.”
Weyland also added that the task to stop the students actions is not an easy one.
“What we can do is spread awareness that there is people around us that we need to respect,” said Weyland, “students need to realize that it is a problem.”
One of the most involved Manhattan College neighbors is Jean Rincon, who has lived in Riverdale for 15 years and attended a Student Government meeting for this issue in September.
“The students need to see us as people, not as a back drop.” shared Rincon, which is something that student government is attempting to fix with the planned luncheon.
Jean also discussed her concerns while offering her own solutions to the problem.
“The students are an untapped resource that could be very instrumental in helping make the situation better for everyone.” said Rincon, “ Put something in place where student peers can have a discussion with these kids.”
Policing the misconduct, Jean adds, could be more easily done at the student level.
“Kids need to blow off steam, I know they do, but they need some kind of formal mentoring,” Rincon said, “For an upperclassman to say “I’ll be watching you” is worth 20 administrators!”
The Student Government is continuing the discussions of the matter and plans to keep the ball moving and make progress with the neighbors following the luncheon.
“The conversations are being had,” said Weyland, “We just have to be adaptable to all situations.”
Rincon and Weyland both agree that neighbor and student arguments are not the route to solving the issue.
“I’ve heard a lot of ignorant comments from students like, ‘Well, they live on a college campus what do they expect,’ That’s not going to solve anything.” said Weyland, “Bickering back and forth won’t bridge the gap.”
Rincon also said “I don’t want to start a war, I just want it to stop.”
Rincon further questions the Manhattan College administrative team for what she believes to be very little effort on their part.
“Manhattan College… Hello! Why are these students getting a pass?” Rincon said, “The Administration needs to understand that it’s important too.”
Manhattan College however stands by their code of conduct which is given to every student and is available to view online.
The code of conduct also explains that, “Being in a state of intoxication is a violation of the Student Code of Conduct.” Which would include profanity, public urination, etc.
Weyland further supports Manhattan College’s efforts to police alcohol use when saying, “Manhattan College knows that a very small percentage of students are the problem.”
“It’s just a matter of respect,” said Weyland, “All we can do is spread awareness and eventually we hope to bridge the gap.”