Students, Community comment about PA Ave disturbances at City Council meeting

Concerning the recent issue with residents along Hersh and Pennsylvania Avenue and disrespectful and noisy McDaniel students, McDaniel students’ main concern now is the separation being created between Westminster and McDaniel.

The Westminster City Council Meeting at City Hall on April 9 brought six McDaniel students who voiced their concerns over McDaniel’s reputation throughout the Westminster city, as well as suggestions for solutions to the controversy.

A Westminster resident and senior at McDaniel, Katie Pickett says “I am proud to say I go to McDaniel as well as proud to say I’m from Westminster.  I think there should be more of a focus on the relationship between the community and college events, more of the outreach and acceptance of the community. It’s a great town and I don’t want the disparity between McDaniel and Westminster to exist.”

Junior McDaniel Student Noah Patton, a political science major and intern with the city government, admits that there is a problem with some students who do not act as courteous and respectful during late hours as they should, but that it is a small group, and not the majority of students.

Mayor Utz, whose daughter graduated from McDaniel, says, “We have seen value in McDaniel and we know that these recent issues with students have been a very small amount of students.”

Patton says “McDaniel students want a better relationship with the town and the college and to feel loved by the city and love back.  We are residents of the city for 7 months.  We want to enrich both our experiences and the town’s. I want to supplement comments with solutions.”

Patton suggests two main solutions. First, increasing the frequency of the CATS transportation system to McDaniel to increase student involvement and travel in the city.

Second, he suggests creating a sounding board consisting of McDaniel students who could attend city meetings and inform the city of college students’ thoughts and needs.  Additionally, the board could help promote McDaniel events to the community and the city could inform students of city events.

Patton says, “It would be cool and very interesting to see city residents at these college activities.”

“We could develop ad campaigns to lobby students to go to city events. By next semester, we would lay the groundwork.”

In regards to the city’s view of the college, President of the City Council Damian L. Halstad says, “The city feels fortunate, for a city this size, to have a quality liberal arts college.”

Dr. Casey definitely heard students’ comments, said Councilman Tony Chiavacci.  On April 9, Dr. Casey informed the council of the comments made by students at the Campus 411 discussion on March 28, according to Chiavacci.

“Dr. Casey seems like a pretty proactive thinking guy, you may be able to get some buy in on his side and on ours and maybe give you that sounding board you are looking for,”  he said.

Chiavacci says “I love your ideas of ‘let’s find some solutions’ opposed to everybody complaining about it.  If we can take a few steps, there are economic and cultural benefits, as well as a better collegiate experience for students.”

In regards to students getting involved in city-college relations, Dennis E. Frazier says, “We have had a very productive relationship with the school and administration and adding…students to the mix can only be a positive step.”