Can’t We All Get Along?

For quite some time now, at least since my college career began, the student body has somewhat been at odds with McDaniel College Campus Safety. The current situation with off-campus complaints has seemed to somewhat amplify the partying “problem” both on and off campus, creating quite a bit of tension between McDaniel students, the school, and the citizens of Westminster.

The most recent events have stemmed from articles written in the Carroll County Times about problem houses and how much of an “issue” they are to citizens living close to campus. While I can understand the problems that Westminster as a community may face being so close to a college campus, the expectations of these citizens are slightly ridiculous.

I know if I was looking at real estate and saw a house for sale near a college, ‘solitude’ is definitely not the first thought that would pop into my mind. The school was founded in 1867; it isn’t like a college with party-going students popped over night.

On the other hand, I can understand that having a bunch of drunks urinating in your yard and making noise all hours of the night Wednesday through Saturday probably isn’t the best thing on the planet either.

One Carroll County Times article explicitly names three properties that all house McDaniel students accused of going overboard.  One of those, 148 Pennsylvania Avenue, was accused of excessive loudness.  Witnesses claimed seeing “people coming in all hours of the night on weekends.”

The problem with this is that McDaniel College is even associated with these specific houses; yes, these houses are where students reside, but they are not McDaniel College houses. They have agreed to a renter’s agreement, and therefore, are residents of the city first. The fact that McDaniel is willing to reallocate grant funds previously spent on campus to reduce underage drinking to pay overtime for Westminster police is effectively taking money from on campus activities.

McDaniel senior Jake Nichols attended the campus meeting with school officials and summed it up: “The administration made statements that the overwhelming opinion in the mind of the community is that McDaniel College has a positive impact on Westminster and that this is a small group of citizens airing their grievances.”

If this is really the case, then why are grant funds being reallocated based on the accusations of a “small group of citizens?” The root of the issue lies in understanding.

McDaniel College students don’t feel that they are able to party on campus without being labeled as counter-productive or troublesome. There is no trust between the administration and the students; if students were able to have a little fun, they wouldn’t feel the need to party off campus.

The point is instead of jumping to conclusions and overzealous solutions, there needs to be more understanding between the student body, the people they employ (every employee of the college since our tuition pays their salary), and neighboring residents.