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The Blue & Gray Press | August 15, 2018

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Problems of a College Town

By MEGHAN GRAHAM

The University Mary Washington was founded in 1908, so it is not exactly a new institution. So, residents of Fredericksburg beware: if you don’t want to be bothered by college neighbors that might get a little rowdy, do not live in College Heights.

The Fredericksburg City Council met on Nov. 22 to discuss a recent complaint of nuisance in the area, specifically in reference to residences of UMW students. Grievances included noise, trash and the biggest offenders: weeds. The Free Lance-Star reported that of the nine non-apartment residences pinpointed as nuisance residences, only four were college houses. However, the public continues to characterize UMW students as party animals scheming to blast their music, drink copious amounts of beer and let their weeds overgrow.

But let’s face the facts here: UMW is not a party school. There is no greek life and we don’t spend our weekends torching couches. Yes, we might hold a few house parties, but what else are we supposed to do on Friday and Saturday nights? Instead of focusing on the problems they have with UMW and its students, Fredericksburg should be thankful for how the university benefits their beloved community.

UMW offers jobs, business for local establishments, as well as great opportunities for residents to be a part of the culture on-campus.

It takes a lot of people to run a successful university, and Fredericksburg has provided employees for UMW to do so. In return, UMW provides them with a paycheck, something a lot of people don’t have these days because of our shriveling economy. And with the University constantly growing, the need for jobs also does. The UMW foundation will even be opening a hotel in 2013 in Eagle Village. This new business is sure to require a hefty staff that unemployed Fredericksburg residents will be ecstatic to fill.

Also, according to the school website, UMW has about 4,000 students. These students need food, clothes, coffee and beer to survive, and the businesses of Fredericksburg are more than willing to provide these items. They also provide them to the thousands of prospective students that come to visit every year with their parents, the alumni that return for homecoming every fall, and the cousins, aunts, uncles, neighbors, brothers and sisters that attend graduation every spring.

The tourists that just want to stop by Fredericksburg to see what is considered one of the most beautiful campuses in the country have to eat, too. These Fredericksburg business owners can take our money, but they turn around and complain about the very same people? Something just doesn’t seem right.

It’s not like we don’t include them in our little community. Fredericksburg residents are always invited to on-campus events, from orchestra concerts, to school productions like “Rent,” and the Multi-Cultural Fair. Even when there isn’t an event happening, it isn’t unusual to see a local taking a stroll through our picturesque campus with their dog.

So before you pick up that phone to make a noise complaint about your neighbor that might be playing his music a little too loud, think about your favorite downtown restaurant. Would it still be afloat if it weren’t for the college students? And remember the last time you walked down Campus Walk? Without those same students paying tuition, renovations and upkeep would not be possible.

It was probably just a few years ago that you were in college yourselves and I’m sure you weren’t a perfect neighbor. Just keep in mind: on the week after finals we might get a little loud, so cut us some slack. Try knocking on the door and asking us to turn down the music instead of involving the police. Hey, you never know, you might be rewarded with a delicious Natty Light.

Comments

  1. Cassandra

    This editorial reeks of entitlement. The town and the university need each other equally. It’s self-absorbed to think that allowances should automatically be made for students.

  2. Luca Toni

    I get that you’re young and you don’t get it, but someday when you pay several hundred thousand dollars to purchase a house in a beautiful town like Fredericksburg, have a couple young children, and take a little pride of ownership I’ll be interested in hearing your reaction to having a bunch of drunken college students living next door.

    “Yes, we might hold a few house parties, but what else are we supposed to do on Friday and Saturday nights?”

    I don’t know, how about NOT holding a house party that disrupts the neighborhood? How about being a little respectful of the taxpayers that pay 2/3 of your in-state tuition? How about acting like adults?

    I know that you’re young and don’t get it now, but you will someday. For now, just try to have a little empathy and maybe act like a good neighbor by keeping your house party indoors after 11:00 like city ordinances say you’re supposed to do. (Or at least be quiet while you’re outside, which I recognize is impractical) Why is the onus on the people who are obeying the law to act neighborly? How about you all go first?

  3. Kevin

    The university was established in 1908, you can’t be so shocked that there are college students that will live next to you.
    It isn’t required that every single student lives on campus and you can’t change that. Even if we did all live on campus we’d still go out on Friday nights.
    You’re not our mother. Don’t tell us what to do. And by the way, you’re not the only taxpayer. A lot of students pay their own taxes AND pay their own tuition. We’re going to get the most out of it and enjoy our college experiences before we become old and bitter like you.

  4. Parcell Street

    Everybody needs to lighten up and get away from the caricatures of the drunken college student and the old, lame nextdoor neighbor. There’s no reason why, if you’re a college student, that you can’t walk nextdoor sometime before a party to give your neighbor a heads-up and the same goes for neighbors with calling the cops on parties. I side more with the college students because the neighbors have been young once and should do the neighborly thing-ask the partiers to turn down the music.

    – an ’08 grad, not of UMW

  5. Natatia Bledsoe

    I live in College Heights and, for the record, I have never called my colleagues at the Police Department to break up a college party. Instead, my husband and I have dealt with the the less pleasant habits of our young neighbors by speaking to them directly and politely about the following issues (actual examples although the language may be sanitized and edited for publication):
    Please stop urinating on the side of my house.
    Please get off the trunk of my son’s car.
    Please pick up the beer can you just threw in my yard.
    Please pick up the Solo cup you just threw in my yard.
    Please pick up the cigarette you just threw in my yard.
    Please remove the Natty Lite box you just placed on my neighbor’s light post.
    Please refrain from smacking your boyfriend in the face while I am watching.
    Please do not abduct my cat.

    We love living in College Heights and we love the diverse ages and backgrounds of the different people in the neighborhood. We have a son in college at VMI and a son who’s a high school senior, so we do understand the expectation of young people to “live a little” before becoming boring adults like us. While you are enjoying your college experience and going to parties on the weekends, we just ask that you do not engage in activities that require your neighbors to clean up after you. Thanks much.

  6. Chelsea Lately

    You might was well have just written “sorry for partying.” This article sucks.

  7. Jennifer

    I think the complaints being made are valid, but also agree that they are not limited to college students. The behaviors cited in the complaints to the city (and Natatia’s comment above) show a complete lack of respect for others and are not conducive to creating a functioning community.

  8. Eileen

    I don’t live in College Heights and am frustrated that everyone thinks only CH has these on-going issues with childish college students. I’ve lived near and next to college houses and have experienced all the issues Natatia with the exception of the lamp & cat issues. Two of my neighbors had their property damaged by college drunk drivers driving into their yards. Thankfully no one hurt! Numerous trees and street signs destroyed (they are never caught so they don’t feel the financial hit). The litter is horrible. Yards and ignored pets are always an issue. Talk to them? A huge waste if breath. Myself and many neighbors have tried this. Then they have a massive party, pee and vomit in our yards, have drunken relationship arguments in the street, trash multiple lawns including broken bottles for our children & animals to step in. Talk to them? An officer told me once, after I had “talk” with some, that they tell you what you want to hear & forget the conversation. The next moment. Sadly, he was absolutely right. The students and landlords need to be held accountable NOW. Many colleges have policies in place. I was told by a college rep the even “if” they put one in place it would take years. Really?! So why try at all? I told him beginning the processes would show that the college gave a damn. Nothing was done.

  9. John

    Wow! Ms. Graham, If only your maturity were as developed as your arrogance!

  10. John Radolinski

    I found it interesting that my Father’s signs showing support for John McCain and Sarah Palin during the last Presidential campaign were shredded in his front yard, not once but twice. College Heights. If students are being educated @ UMW, it would seem to me that freedom of speech, and the freedom to have a different opinion should be respected, regardless of whether a college student agrees or disagrees with what is said or posted.

  11. Why, oh god why, are you people all trying to trash the entirety of the students at Mary Washington? You might not think it, but it surely does sound like this. Please, take the time to not lump everyone together. There are over 4000 students that go here, and I don’t think that every one of them is ‘childish’ nor tearing up your signs or pissing in your lawns.

    And to place the majority of students living off campus under the net that the police officer gave you (of being smooth talkers to get complaining residents to leave) is surely a little ignorant. I don’t believe that students are as self-absorbed as that, as I am one of those students. At Mary Washington. And I have been to those parties. Off-campus.

    Why not ask for a forum on campus where you can air these grievances against the partying classes of UMW. Please do. If you want a change, which it’s pretty obvious that you all do, then be proactive. Calling the cops will only stop that one party and probably cause future animosity between the students and Fredericksburg residents.

  12. Ed

    I am a MWC grad. Lived on and off campus. Very familiar with local college life and being a resident.

    1st – We are not a college town. We are a town with a college in it.

    2nd – Rowdy party behavior exists all over town (college and not) because landlords and their renters have little respect for their neighbors.

    3rd – I would never recommend my 78 year old mother go next door at 11:00 pm during a party and ask the participants to keep it quiet. Because she has, and it didn’t end very well. (don’t you have to be 21 in VA to drink?)

    4th – When I grew up in town, College Heights was a quiet family oriented, working class neighborhood. The college did not put up with rowdy, off campus behavior. Ask any student of the 70s and before.

    5th – Most students will filter through town in 1 to 5 years, depending on if they flunk out (partying instead of studying or working on Friday and Saturday nights) or actually get their degree. Don’t ask me to put up with your illegal, borish behavior because you chose my town to party in.

    I will never under-estimate the value of having UMW in Fredericksburg, but I think the town might do just fine if it wasn’t here. I might be wrong, but I doubt that the university pays much in the way of taxes to the city. Probably none. UMW supports many things in Fredericksburg, and the surrounding area, but there are many localities in VA that do just fine without a college.

    College students beware: Fredericksburg was founded in the 1700’s without a college, so if you don’t want to be bothered by residents that are upset by your disrespectful, I’m only here for the party, behavior, try going to college somewhere else.

  13. While the college wasn’t here in when Fredericksburg was founded, how many other schools are in the same boat? Coming well after an area was founded, that is. What about JMU? What about Virginia Tech? Those are primarily college towns now, and the towns were founded at least a century (plus or minus a decade or two) before the colleges were introduced. What makes the area around Mary Washington not a college town?

    “The Free Lance-Star reported that of the nine non-apartment residences pinpointed as nuisance residences, only four were college houses.” Ummm…..

  14. Natatia Bledsoe

    Fleur,
    Of the eight single family residences identified as possible nuisance addresses (1 doesn’t count because the noise violatoions were occurring outside of and not connected to that address), four were identified as occupied by college students. However, the City has a population of roughly 24,000 and the University has a population of roughly 4,000. Wouldn’t you then expect the ratio of student-occupied vs non student-occupied nuisance addresses to mirror the ratio student to non-student population?

    In other words, 50% of the nuisance addresses were identified as being occupied by UMW students. But UMW students do not make up 50% of the City population. Therefore, it appears that students may cause a disproportionate amount of the nuisance calls for the police. It is still very early in the process of analyzing this data, which is why I use qualifying terms such as “may” and “appears”.

  15. Are you claiming that only 8 houses are nuisances in Fredericksburg?

  16. By my saying that, I just want to point out that if there are only 8 nuisances, then yes, I do understand that it is disproportionate. However, I highly believe that not everyone in Fredericksburg went to this meeting to air grievances. If this was the case, I’m sure that there would be a good number more than just 8 residences. It is early in the analysis of the data, because all of the variables haven’t been accounted for yet.

  17. Eileen

    Fleur: the points made by Natatia and Ed are factual not emotional and knee-jerk. The percentage of nusience issues to population is more than I realized. There are students who follow the rules and laws. And, as Ed noted, approaching the students to discuss inappropriate behavior can turn nasty. It just isn’t parties, it’s trashes lawns that are unsightly & can be so bad that rats/ mice are an issue. Weeds, overgrown and dead shrubs, illegal parking, unmowed lawns and nasty language are also issues. I don’t live in the dorms, obviously. I moved to a family neighborhood to raise my children and did so far away from the college (but still in city) as I knew living near the college could be troublesome. We tried nice visits each and every time a house became a college residence or the new set of students moved in in August. It doesn’t work. 1 in 8 students cared but had no authority to keep the peace in their household. Meetings. Been to several meetings. It doesn’t work. Only the Fredericksburg PD has stepped up to work with the nusience houses. The city council and college keep waiting and, strangely, that hasn’t solved the issues. There will always be the fee who will feel entitled to bad behavior no matter their age/circumstance. You have seen the numbers and the facts. Please take a stand as a student organize the majority to educate those students who give you a bad reputation. After 4 years, the general population will remain here to live, work, enjoy community events, watch our children grow, etc… We want to live WITH our neighbors. Please ask the offenders why they treat their neighbors with such great disrespect.

  18. Mark D

    This editorial is spot on. If people have a problem with some minor noise a few times a year, then wear earplugs. They cost $2 at Wal Mart. City Mayor Tom Tomzack, who drinks more alcohol than any college student on campus, made ignorant statements that night about college students. And the problem isn’t even caused predominately by college students. The city is blowing this issue up and placing blame on the college without having all of the facts, and that’s sad for the college and a slap in the face to the 4000 students. These minority very small few people who are complaining need to get a life.

  19. Eileen

    Mark D: You did not share how long you have lived, or are currently living, next to or very close to off campus student houses. Please let us know your personal experiences as others have in this forum. If you don’t have that first hand knowledge, please consider riding along with the PD on a known party weekend or visit with a friend who experiences these issues. Your input in the way of potential solutions is welcomed!

  20. Jennifer

    The City already has a property maintenance code that includes to requirement to keep weeds and grass below a certain height and addresses trash and other circumstances that lead to disease vector harborage. I believe the noise ordinance was modified or strengthened a few years back as well. It seems that these codes should be enforced before going forward with additional nuisance code. Why isn’t this happening?

  21. Mark D

    I don’t live in the city anymore, but I did for 6 years and I went to the college. I left last summer. I just think this is a small problem and in a few areas that could be fixed with a few community meetings. I think this is being blown out of proportion and the college students are getting an unfair reputation. UMW is by no means a party school. Not even close. I lived next to a house that had parties. I actually used ear plugs. No joke. They partied maybe 4 times a year. It was no big deal. But I understand the concerns about the property damage and all of that….and those punks should be held accountable, but there are people calling the cops just because of noise….get real

  22. Mark D

    Eileen if I lived in the city still I probably would take you up on your offer. Does the city do ride alongs for something like this? I would be curious to see how big of a problem this really is. But how many weekeends would I need to do this before we hit a week where they are parties? There’s this perception based from all of the calamity that this is happening regularly. Is it?

  23. Mark D

    Reading Ms Bledsoes comments, I definitely sympathize for her and others who have to deal with that kind of nuisance but how often is this happening? And if she has asked the neighbors to stop the behavior and it continues, then she should notify the police. In her circumstance, I understand the frustration. But I wouldn’t have bought a house in “College Heights” if I didn’t want to live next to college students, who most likely are going to party and act like kids.

  24. Are my statements not factual as well? The 50% is without all of the information, and a jump to a conclusion all too soon.

  25. And I still don’t believe that people giving the dirty look to all college student is justifiable because of the parties that some students go to. We should have a bad reputation because people are living next to a house that hosts parties. Is the house able to fit all 4000+ students? If not, then why are we all getting the blame for this?

  26. And I meant to say *shouldn’t. I apologize for the typo.

  27. Natatia Bledsoe

    The eight residential addresses which have so far been identified as “nuisance” addresses were found by querying all of the police calls for service classified as a “disturbance”, then narrowing the query to identify only those addresses which had three or more police calls from August 15, 2011 through November 8, 2011. So all of those eight addresses had three or more police responses to some type of disturbance within the specified time frame. Not all of those disturbances were parties, or loud music, since the call type is a comprehensive descriptive term for essentially anything that disturbs someone else.

    The number of addresses on the nuisance address list will grow as the time frame expands. We will run the query every two weeks so that we can identify those locations that are causing repeat problems in a neighborhood.

    If the problem addresses are outside of College Heights and/or unrelated to college students, the City will deal with the landlords and tenants in the same manner as if they are students. I do know that we are already looking at additional addresses that have been identified since the initial article was published highlighting this topic, and the owners of those properties deemed as nuisances will be receiving letters from the City Attorney’s office advising them of potential repercussions.

  28. Anon

    When the university decided to change the name from “Mary Washington College” to “University of Mary Washington” that should have been your first sign that things were changing. I’m sorry that you dropped a few hundred thousand on a house with an expanding college in such close proximity, but it isn’t the students fault that you did not plan well in your investment.

  29. Ed

    Mark D, Fleur, etc. I have lived 54 years in F’burg, graduated from MWC having lived on and off campus, raised in the suburbs and previously below the college, and yes, have been a contributor to some of the problems people are still experiencing. But, I finally grew up and have come to realize that the amount of disrespect SOME college students show the local population is appalling. No one wants to condemn the entire college over the behavior of a few, but the opinion writer is obviously trying to be sensational and confrontational with her comments. My thoughts – college is an experience to gain education and for most, to mature into adulthood. My experience at MWC was one of learning to respect others and pass that along to others. The writer would be better served to try and foster these ideals within the rowdy and disrespectful, instead of promoting the bad feelings that already exist in the community. And BTW, the late parties, noise, trash and parking issues in the College Heights area have been around since the 1970’s. The College and city have had ample time to come up with a solution and here we are, still talking about it. PS – as a college town, Fredericksburg does not even come close to Harrisonburg or Blacksburg. That is why MWC/UMW has a reputation as a suitcase college.

  30. Anon

    As a student, I have no idea where College Heights is and have never heard of a party being there.

  31. 2010 alum

    “I’m sorry that you dropped a few hundred thousand on a house with an expanding college in such close proximity, but it isn’t the students fault that you did not plan well in your investment.”

    Someday, if you manage to graduate and land a job with that kind of attitude, you’ll move into an apartment or a house with five roommates because that’s all you can afford. It won’t be much, but it’s the closest you can get to your office without spending your entire paycheck on rent or living in government subsidized housing where 2 nights out of the week you can hear gunshots and most nights of the week you hear that couple next door throwing beer bottles at each other. So you’re going to settle in and try to make it home. Maybe you’ll go get some furniture from Ikea, buy some potted plants, maybe even get a dog if you’re trying to score some points with the girl/guy who works at the corner cafe. You invest money in this little s***stain that’s now your home. You work hard to bring home a paycheck that makes you wonder how your parents ever managed to pay for your privileged little a** to go to college. Imagine how pissed you’d be if your neighbor decided to throw a rager the night before that big presentation you’re going to give in front of the company president. It’s your one shot to impress them and now you’re up until 3 am. Ear plugs don’t help because you can feel the floor shake from the bass next door. You walk over finally and try and get them to quiet down. They’re all drunk and laugh and say “Sure! You betcha.” You manage to squeeze out 2 hours of sleep and you wake up, get dressed for work and go outside and see that in retaliation for asking your neighbors to keep it down, they’ve covered your car in saran wrap. Or maybe they’ve decided to wall in your car with empty beer bottles. Use your imagination. Imagine how that presentation is going to go now that you’re not only tired, but distracted and pissed at your neighbor. You’re probably also late for work. In this economy, there’s probably 10 people who aren’t going to give your boss an excuse for being late, and with the kind of attitude you have, you’d probably give them lip and get fired.

    I don’t blame your parents for the way you were raised–ignorant and self-absorbed. It’s not their fault that they didn’t invest well in the kind of upbringing that might have made you less of an entitled a**.

  32. The Devil

    I live in College Heights on Augustine Avenue. I have lived here for over 50 years. The problems I have been having are the same as listed above by others. Whether this is a “college town” or not isn’t the problem. The problems come from UMW students, NOT ALL, that have no regard (consideration) for the community that you live in. Most of the people who live in the neighborhoods around the university are working people who don’t have weekends off and some have kids. College town or not, there is NO REASON why they should have to be subjected to all of the problems that come with college kids as neighbors. You “KIDS” are not on campus, you are in a residential neighborhood, it is not a college campus. I have a problem with “college KIDS” walking by my house at all hours of the night and early morning, going from one house to another and talking loudly, yelling, vandalizing, urinating and trashing the immediate neighborhood. It wouldn’t be as bad if they stayed at one house and partied, but, there are usually three or four party houses going on at the same time and groups of 10 or more seem to all decide to go from one house or the other until about 3 AM when it seems to taper off a little. I haven’t been calling the police, but, I think I am going to start, because apparently these kids can’t be stopped until the house becomes a nuisance property. You can’t tell these kids to stop because they will want to fight you. Trying to talk to drunken collge students and get them to stop making noise is not a good idea. They barely listen to the police. Calling the police will teach the landlords a lesson, because if a home becomes a nuisance property they could loose the right to rent that home, they may loose their property or they will not be able to rent to “collge kids” ever again and that may be the only way to solve the problem since the “kids” seem to think that they have the right to disturb others and make a general nuisance.

  33. The Devil

    OH, and by the way, kids, Fredericksburg has an occupancy law,
    No more than 3 unrelated people can live in one house. Many of you are breaking that law and the City has been ignoring it, but, when you keep drawing attention to yourselves like you have been doing………that is one of the things that the City is going to use against you to help you CLEAN YOUR ACTS UP.

  34. anon

    2010 alum, I enjoy the blind accusations and I’m sure we can go back and forth all day, but all I’m saying is that the signs were, and still, are there. The university is a force of the state, so it is unlikely that their plans will change. We are animals that have survived for as long as we have by adapting to our surroundings. If little shit’s like me are next door keeping you up on the night of your big presentation, do something about it, whether you talk to them, or call the cops, better than lashing out on a college newspaper website.

  35. fresh

    The transformation is happening…a town with a college in it….to a college town. Look out Fredericksburg.
    We would socialize/party on campus, but every time we do, we get in trouble. The college tells us if we are going to drink, be sure to do it off campus.

  36. 2010 alum

    Sorry anon, it’s called a hypothetical situation, but I guess you missed that. Putting yourself in your neighbor’s shoes and empathy and all those nice things UMW tries to inculcate in you. Guess you missed that too.

    And as far as lashing out on a college newspaper website, I’ve got as much right as an alumnus as you do as a current student. I was always proud that UMW students does some real good in the world with SHH, Students Empowering the Poor, COAR, not to mention all the graduates entering AmeriCorps and the Peace Corps. But it doesn’t mean much when the town that houses the school has such negative opinions of the student body because of a few rude individuals.

  37. anon

    That did go over my head, 2010 alum. You had some very choice words for me, but it’s all good since it was a hypothetical situation.
    It’s interesting to see that you hold SHH in such high regard when they often host these obnoxious, parties which are tearing apart the relationship of the residents of Fredericksburg and the UMW students. I do not want to be a nuisance to Fredericksburg, but I do also enjoy going out to parties on the weekend, when I find myself walking I am respectful to the residents, and try to control others to the best of my ability. Like I said these blind accusations aren’t going to do much good as we do not, and most likely will, not ever know each other. In my original post I commented on how it was unfortunate people’s investments did not turn out for the best as college student houses were bringing down the property value, but the signs were there. All that seems to be left, if the university is continuing to expand, would be to compromise. I don’t know about you but the idea of off campus owned housing could be a good idea, it would contain the drunk college students to an area rather than them wandering all through out Fredericksburg disturbing the neighborhoods. Although it may feel like a “Fraternity row”-esque area, it would help balance out the wants of the students and the residents.

  38. Reality

    Stop judging the whole fucking campus based upon this. Only a small handful of students do this kind of thing. Stop yelling at me.

  39. 2010 alum

    I’m not sure what the solution is, and it is a definite problem. Some sort of compromise is needed and I know that George Mason University has something similar to what you mentioned, at least their Fairfax campus. Those units are detached from the main campus and from my understanding the RAs are much more lax about parties and noise levels. The problem is that with any kind of university affiliated housing, even if off campus, it will probably be mandatory that RAs supervise the students living there. I had a friend who graduated this past May whose parents were financially well off enough to actually purchase a house a block away from campus, looking at it as both a place to house their son and a few select friends, as well as an investment (a house one block away from campus is always going to have potential tenants). This would be long term, but if there is enough interest in this kind of thing (and wealthy parents/alums) eventually an entire block could be purchased for the use of students, and agreements regarding noise levels, max occupancies, etc. could be negotiated between students and individual owners. If an entire block is habitated by students there wouldn’t be this kind of pushback from the Fredericksburg community–but this kind of thing would be on a timeline of a decade or more, certainly nothing that would benefit students in the short term. Although I had thought that UMW had plans to acquire properties up and down College Avenue in the years to come to allow for expansion, but I doubt that the BOV would use any properties purchased to house students, let alone allow partying.

    The esteem I hold SHH comes mostly from my interactions with Shin, it’s founder, and the organization’s mission. In the past 2 years or so SHH has turned into something more akin to a frat and yes, I do acknowledge that they are adding to the problem. Like I mentioned before, it doesn’t matter much if you can do good a half a world away if you can’t treat your neighbor with respect–that’s a dialogue Shin will have to address directly with current SHH members.

  40. The Devil

    Fresh,
    Shouldn’t that tell you something? If, the college is telling you it’s wrong and you get in trouble on campus, shouldn’t your brain be telling you that it is wrong to do in the neighborhoods surrounding the campus as well??? Wrong is wrong and you ALL know in your sense of right and wrong that you shouldn’t be doing the obnoxious things that you do that are ILLEGAL, or, is that too complicated a thinking process for “KIDS” that are in college. Why don’t you all go to a bar????? Oh, wait, they wouldn’t let most of you into a bar, would they, could it be because you are too young to drink……legally……….

  41. The Devil

    If you lived where I lived it would not seem to be JUST A FEW that are the problem.
    On any given Friday, Saturday or Sunday night there are several “homes” rented out to students in this area that have parties and there are “LARGE” groups of “KIDS” that roam the streets until about 2 or 3 AM.
    I guarantee you that I see groups of 10 or more every 5 to 10 minutes roaming the streets in front of my house. No one is saying that it is ALL of the students that go to UMW that are the problem, but, it is more than a handful as you suggest.

  42. The Devil

    Natatia,
    You may want to have some of your co-workers check the 7-11 at Augustine and RT. 1 becuase I see students going to that 7-11 and returning with several large packs of beer late at night and they can’t all be 21 adn if they are than they better check out where these “students” are going with these large quantities of beer, because, I guarantee you that they are serving this beer to underage students. The police always break the parties up, but, they never check ID’s that I can see. There should be a lot of arrests for drinking in public, drinking under age and contributing to the delinquency of a minor, but, it never happens from what I have witnessed.

  43. The Devil

    Reality,
    If your comment is true, you should change your handle to something else besides REALITY, because REALITY is what you are not even close to………..

  44. Sooooooo, let’s say 100 kids roam in front of your house then. Out of 4500+ students on campus, this is a small amount. This equates to roughly two percent of the campus population.

  45. You’re being condescending in the majority of your posts. I’ve noticed that.

    The college isn’t saying that drinking is wrong. The college is saying to be responsible. If people are being stupid when they decide to drink, then there will be repercussions. But also, the school does say drink off campus not because it’s wrong, but because of other reasons. I could list a few if you want me to, but only if you truly do.

    And I still get into bars even under 21. I don’t get alcohol, but I still go in. How long ago was 18 the legal drinking age? I forget.

  46. Please name houses that do that. All of the people who I know living off campus (I know the majority of those living off campus, too) are following occupancy laws. And the ones that aren’t following the three-person law are living in circumstances that are in fact legal, such as a three story house.

  47. I see. So you think that because students are returning someplace with beer, they’re almost all automatically under 21. Or they’re serving it to students under 21. Jumping to conclusions is never a good quality, as it’s akin to judging a book by its cover.

    And you want people to be tailed when they buy alcohol? That’s just silly (and illegal, I’m sure). If students are just drinking, you want the cops to spend all of their time arresting students? If a party has 50 underage students caught drinking, how do you want the cops to explain that they spent all of their night shuttling students to jail for the night?

  48. Cassandra

    When I attended Mary Washington a few years ago, I had several friends who lived in houses with more than three people but less than three stories. It happens.

  49. Natatia Bledsoe

    Fleur, the number of stories in a home have nothing to do with the number of occupants that can legally reside there. A single family dwelling is only allowed to be occupied by no more than three unrelated adults.

  50. The Devil

    Mathematically, you are correct. As, I stated, it is not ALL of the Students. It is a small portion, but, at 1 or 2 AM, it doesn’t make a difference of how small a percentage of the total population it is that is causing the problem. At 1 or 2 AM, that small percentage is a “BIG” problem and your math skills fall very psychologically short……………GIVE ME A BREAK. If you were actually a working family instead of a partying student you wouldn’t try to be so mathematically correct and fall very short of a logical arguement. You need to take a class on common sense which you seem to be lacking greatly in. It is not enough to be able to pass college exams, you should also learn about life……..common sense……….and how to get along with your fellow man and not just learn to make excuses for bad behavior.

  51. ks

    If the cops find a party full of underage drinkers, they should absolutely all be cited for breaking the law. The police have the discretion to determine whether someone should be hauled off to jail or not; in most cases, they try to do warnings or citations.
    Fleur, you don’t seem to realize: drinking underage is illegal. violating noise or other city ordinances is illegal. against the law. subject to fines and punishments up to or including jail. people break the law, the police do their job…what’s the issue?
    And as far as I can see, no one has said “all 4000 UMW students” in any manner. Everyone’s referring to specific incidences within houses or large parties. no one has labeled all college students as anything – only you have.

  52. Anon

    another umw grad, lived in a house I’m sure was considered a “nuisance address”. Although, interestingly, this was due to the fact that our neighbors called the police almost every time someone they recognized as a non-resident entered the house. The police came almost every weekend–we were frequently just playing guitar hero.

  53. Natatia Bledsoe

    Well, it is not illegal to purchase beer from the 7-11, even large quantities of it, as long as the purchaser is of legal age. We do monitor the sales of alcohol to underage persons and it does not happen as often as you might think. The police also do make arrests for drinking in public, underage drinking, and contributing (by the way, very few minors attend college parties), and those arrests occur all over the city.

    As to checking IDs, the officer will request identification when the suspected offender appears to be intoxicated, is in possession of alcohol, or is actually drinking in public. All of these offenses have to be witnessed by the officer; simply attending a party is not sufficient grounds for charges.

  54. Travis Bickle

    Yes sir. An accredited university in Virginia does not pay any taxes. The University of Mary Washington has found a loophole and pays no taxes. Those wily students have done it again. Also, in case you haven’t noticed, the name of the only hospital in the area is Mary Washington Hospital. I’d say the town needs the university, wouldn’t you?

  55. Travis Bickle

    So you want our tax dollars to go towards the arrests of underage minors in a house then say arresting rapists, drug dealers, and other true criminals? Personally, I’d rather pay to arrest a heroine dealer then an underage student drinking a Pabst Blue Ribbon.

  56. Travis Bickle

    If I can be drafted into the military at age 18, fight and die for this country, don’t you think I should be entitled to a Pabst Blue Ribbon every now and again?

  57. Tyler Stewart

    he did sound self absorbed but if my neighbors who arent in college were getting to loud i wouldn’t call the police… so when you say special allowences i hope you dont mean not calling the police. Heaven forbid you knock on a neighbors door…

  58. tstew

    You sir, must be kidding. What did you do in college? Stay in all night and play clue with your roommates? You never drank one alcoholic beverage before you turned 21? I’m over 21, and now that it is legal for me to go to the bar, what reason do I have? Why pay 2 to 4 bucks a beer, when I can go buy case and hangout with my friends and socialize for $11.99. Or I could get 3 or 5 beers and hangout with the creepy guys at the bar who are trying to pick up the college girls or have a full night or twos’ supply of beer for the same price and be with my friends… which sounds more appealing?

  59. The Devil

    There is always bad with good. I am sure that there are lots of regular residents that call the police for no good reason except maybe someone in a particular dwelling pissed them off 6 months ago and they are going to get even by calling the police every chance they get.
    I haven’t been calling the police because, unlike some of my neighbors, I don’t care if the people making noise stay at the house that they are partying in. My problems are people wondering around DRUNK in front of my house, screaming, yelling, takling very loudly, pissing on my dogs, pissing on my car. throwing garbage all over my property, vandalizing my property, etc..
    If you want to party, FINE, but, do it INSIDE the house that is having the party and stay inside that house and don’t wonder around the neighborhood. That would allow you to party and also make MOST of the ADULt residents of the area HAPPY and avoid having your parties raided by the police and broken up. Just use some COMMON SENSE which MOST of you seem to not have.
    I don’t see how you can judge whether you are having fun or not by how many cops are sent to shut you down.

  60. The Devil

    Mark D
    I live in College Heights and have gone to community meetings. All they do at the meetings is have a gripe session and some people feel better after the gripe session until the next time their college neighbors keep them up till 2 or 3 AM. I don’t need a community gripe session. If you “KIDS” can’t follow normal moral and noise standards that all of the “permanent” and ADULT residents abide by than you should find another city to live in or go to school in. I agree with “THE CITY” passing as many laws as possible to force “children” who should be acting like adults by the time they are in college, to live with their neighbors, who are hard working, in peace and QUIET.

  61. The Devil

    I understand the economics of not going to a bar.
    For most of us, the problem is not your drinking it is what you do after you have consumed alcohol.
    Most of you are not mature enough to handle the consumption of alcohol. If you acted in a bar the way you act on the streets of this city, you would be thrown out of the bar and it is my intent to have you thrown out of the city, so, we can have peace once again in this historic city. We had enough loud noise and violence durring the Civil War and we were at peace until your kind invaded this once quiet city, yet again.

  62. I call shenanigans. This post sounds pretentious.

  63. Natatia Bledsoe

    Fleur, I give you credit for maintaining polite discourse despite provocation. I speak as a neighbor and as the FPD spokesperson when I say that we have no intention or desire to have anyone thrown out of the city, but we do seek ways to peacefully coexist.

  64. anonymous

    heroin. unless you’re referencing a pimp.

  65. The Devil

    You are right, I was making a bad joke. Sorry.
    I was making a bad joke to show how outrageous some of the comments are that are being given by people pretending to be students………….I applogise for stooping to the low level of some of the people making comments on here that don’t seem to understand that they are causing a problem and think it is ok to break laws because the laws are not for them……..the laws are only for rapists and murderers and as long as they are not raping or murdering it is ok to break the law.

  66. The Devil

    that’s apologise…….sorry, it is late at night and it has been a long day……

  67. The Devil

    It just so happens that in the area of College Heights that I live in, it is just college students that are the problem, the people that aren’t a problem are the settled down families that have real world lives……..they are adults with jobs that they have to go to everyday. If any of my neighbors were a problem and they weren’t college students, I would feel the same way, it just isn’t the case in my situation and the only time I have called the police is when there is vadalism or some other danger to property in the area.

  68. The Devil

    You are right Ed, the City and the college have had ample time to come up with a solution and they have dragged their feet because not enough people have complained long enough. As the years go by the problem get worse and worse because the City/College has done nothing. I am not sure why. I know what the problem is, but, I guess I do not know what a fair solution is. The problem could be resolved if the offending students would just act more like adults. I don’t know why we have to depend on law enforcement to solve the problem when the solution seems to be so much easier and less of a headache for everyone…..just act like adults……isn’t that what you should be doing by the time you are in college?

  69. The Devil

    I went to VCU. In case you don’t know VCU is in Richmond, VA. Richmond is a large city with all kinds of stuff going on late at night. Richmond is used to noise all night long. Fredericksburg, is a small city more like a town. The residents who have lived here for awhile, like me, are used to quiet after 8 PM. There really isn’t any reason to not keep it that way.

  70. You know something, we’re not going to just do something rational and act like adults with UMW and Fredericksburg, Tom Harkin. We’re gonna go to the police! We’re gonna go to the sheriff! We’re gonna go to the courts! The city and college have had ample time, so let’s take it out on the students! Byah! Then we’re going to Corporate America to take down the OWS Movement! Byah! Then the White House to make things happen! Byah!

    Byah!

    Byah! Byah!

  71. The Devil

    Ofcourse, we are going to take it out on the STUDENTS.
    The students are the problem.
    You can’t be serious.
    You really think that UMW or the city are responsible????
    The students are responsible for their OWN behavior.
    By the time you are in college you are supposed to be showing the world maturity and how you are going to be responsible educated adults and not have to have someone watching over you to make sure you live by the rules that the rest of civilized society has to live by.
    You are just showing all who read these comments, WHY, there is a problem.
    Instead of taking responsibility for yourselves and your own actions you want MOMMY AND DADDY(the government) to be watching over you and keep you in line becuase you apparently aren’t capable of doing the right thing on your own.
    We wouldn’t need the police, the sheriff, the courts, etc., to get involved if you looked after yourselves and did the right, mature thing on your own……..RIGHT?
    It’s simple if you don’t want problems…….don’t cause problems. Don’t draw attention to yourself……learn how to blend in and be invisible.

  72. My dear, I don’t portray the average college student in any of my mannerisms. You’re trying to generalize all of the UMW students into pretentious partiers who give no cares for the community in which they live in. Students are certainly a problem, and the only one in Fredericksburg at that!

    Plus, weren’t you just complaining that it is on the school or city to come up with a long term solution for residents? I think that does show that they’re partially responsible as well. I’m not saying it’s just them, but it’s a full community effort that needs to be enabled rather than just on students, or just on residents, or just school or city, etc.

    I don’t think I’m showing any sorts of problems. You’re coming on a STUDENT newspaper trying to argue with STUDENTS while using a profile name that is THE DEVIL. I enjoy the occasional caps lock as well.

    I came to college to get away from MOMMY AND DADDY and am doing a pretty good job at keeping myself in check. A lot of other students are doing the same. Please, how about you stop looking down on ALL of the students by clearing up your statements into a more coherent fashion. It might not be what you mean when you say these things in your head, but it definitely is appearing that way.

  73. The Devil

    My Dear,
    It is you that are again generalizing. I have repeatedly stated that it is NOT ALL students and is only a small percentage, but, you read into my statements only what you want to derive form them.
    Yes, I have stated that the city and the school should come up with a solution, but, I have also stated that if the offending students would take care of the problem on their own by being mature adults instead of selfish brats, that that would take care of the problem without involving government control. You said you came to college to get away from MOMMY AND DADDY and that is probably why the offending students also came to college, but, maybe it was not time for those students to leave the confines of the “home”. Maybe mom and dad hadn’t finished their parental obligations are hadn’t even started and that is why we have misguided (not all…….not the 99%….just the 1%) of the students who still need a structured environment to learn to deal with civilized society.
    Addressing your statement about my statements not being coherent, that is what comes from imbibing in alcohol and drugs when I was in college, so, if you and your fellows don’t want to end up incoherent like me, you may want to think about not taking the risks that you ( and by you, I am talking about a general you, not you personally) are taking and that I took in the years that my brain was forming and brain cells disappeared do to overexposure to substance abuse. Let my incoherence be a warning to you and save you from my fate……that is you in the general sense…..the 1% not the 99%
    I am giving my diatribe on the school newspaper site, because, when I did a search to find the city newspaper article on the subject, this article appeared in the search and I found this article quite amusing and was confounded by the lack of reasoning not only in the article itself but in the comments by so-called students that don’t seem to want to take the blame for their actions and instead decided to blame everybody and everything else. By, the comments left here, It seems to me that You, the 1%, seem to think that it is for everyone else to have to follow laws and rules and they are not meant for YOU, the 1%.

  74. The Devil

    If you are not part of the 1%………why do you keep defending them……..be part of the solution, not part of the problem……..you have probably heard that before……

  75. Talking big on a comment section of the Bullet is a solution? Take your own words of wisdom before sharing them. I’m defending them because they’re my peers and not “kids” like you call them out to be.

    And no, I’m reading your statements with my mind as a tabula rasa. I didn’t come into this discussion with a bias of who’s right and who’s wrong. I came with the idea that those who need a defense will get one. In this case, it is the students. While they are at fault in some ways, they are not as big as the faults of certain people on this post and what they’re saying.

    I apologize for your lack of inhibitions during your collegiate history. I will also admit that this article is not a good one. However, the backlash from the community seems to be overly strong, and very passive aggressive. Everyone is complaining, and saying that the only solution is to only call the police. No one is willing to talk to the students. No one is willing to be more proactive in a peaceful manner. What, will the students bite your heads off? No, of course not. A lot of different groups are at fault here; not just the students.

    All in all, when people begin to make assumptions, everyone’s wrong. You, the writer, the Bullet, the school, the city, and even myself.

  76. Don’t know how I missed this one…hmm…

    As I’ve stated as well, your calling to arms in your posts make it read as though you’re attacking them all. Vague sentences and such, and you need to know that to attack the integrity of one student, it then throws into question the integrity of all students. While we may not have the school spirit in sports and such, we do feel a familial bond with our peers. I feel one with the majority of the Fredericksburg community as well, until commenters such as yourself begin to call into question my common sense. How’s that treating your fellow man with respect?

  77. I guess I got my info wrong:( – I know a group that is living 4 to a house, but they have a permit – I must have misheard the reasoning they gave behind it… Whoopsies.

  78. The Devil

    No. It isn’t a solution. I explained what the solution is that wouild work out for everyone and keep Big Brother out of it……..and that is to stop placing blame every where else but on the students who are causing the problem and have those students clean their acts up and act like law abiding mature citizens.
    I assume by your comments that you have never tried to talk to a bunch or rowdy drunks. The best way to get yourself into a fight is to try to talk to the drunks next door that have beer and testosterone running through their veins and little common sense. Believe me I have tried it and I am sure the other residents that have made comments have also tried it and all you have to do is try it once to find out that the best people to handle the situation is to call the police.
    I don’t and haven’t called the police unless there is vandalism or trespassing going on. The last time I called the police was because three males were urinating on my car and on my gate where two of my wifes dogs were standing. The time before that, was last year and that was because a house on the corner had a large group gathered and one of the males in the group was throwing beer bottles into the intersection of two local streets and smashing the bottles. A couple of the bottles came very close to my car and I figured that had to be stopped before something bad happened. I don’t really care about the noise myself as long as they keep it at the house that has the party, it’s when they wonder the neighborhood drunk, loud and destructive that gets me involved and I have some other neighbors in the area that have lived here longer than myself that will call the cops for ANY kind of noise late at night.

  79. The Devil

    Well, Fleur,
    We seem to be the only ones butting heads on here any more, so, I am just going to have to say, that we are going to have to agree to disagree and leave it at that.
    Like you said, we aren’t getting anywhere on here and the same things are being said just in different ways.
    So, no hard feelings on my end. It was interesting and I hope this all gets worked out in some way that works for everyone and I hope you achieve everything in life that you strive for.
    I am going give this comment section a rest from me.

  80. Miiiiiight want to read into some of the comments and change the last portion of your comment. 🙂 and a happy holidays to you, good sir or madam.

  81. The Devil

    Fleur,
    I am not sure what you are talking about when you say that I might want to change the last portion of my comment……..please explain.
    I could put in an explanation reply, I guess, but, I don’t know how to change a comment or delete a comment.
    If you could explain my mistake and how to correct it, it would be helpful to me.

  82. Not you, Travis.

  83. Erm…ks I mean. A mistake, lulz.

  84. (required)

    I agree with you that people (students included) should be expected to abide by the law or face the consequences.

    Furthermore, I would like to congratulate you on abandoning the caveat emptor tenet of free market fetishism: disagreeing with the statement “I’m sorry that you dropped a few hundred thousand on a house with an expanding college in such close proximity, but it isn’t the students fault that you did not plan well in your investment.” How dare you consider yourself a conservative!

    Finally, thank you, “2010 alum” for this lesson in civil discourse. Your profanity-laden rant has been a pleasure to read. My compliments to your parents for raising such a well-mannered child.

  85. Steven muth

    Have your fun but do it respectfuly would want all of you scum bags to get run over or your hous eaccidentaly burn down at one of ypour little parties

  86. Well that isn’t very nice. You sound like a pleasant individual.

  87. UMW Non-Partying Student

    I like you.

  88. UMW Non-Partying Student

    I agree that it isn’t fair to lump all UMW students together. The ones that move off campus do so for a number of reasons, but almost all party kids move off campus because there aren’t as many rules – no RAs for neighbors to complain. UMW is a “land locked” university attempting to grow, tuition is ever increasing, and not only is desirable housing on campus a persistent issue, when combined with the forced meal plans it is often just more economical to live off campus with room mates. We have to pay tuition and can’t always work at the same time, you know. But those pleasant, responsible students are overlooked, and the party kids are the ones that stand out.

    I’m sorry that they have now become your problem. And I apologize for the students who pee on your house and try to abduct your cats, who cuss in the dark and freak you out.

    However, while my apology is sincere, it is impractical to expect that living in a neighborhood called “College Heights” won’t provide encounters with college students. And sometimes these encounters will be dreadful. But when you think about the riots, bar-hopping, and other horrible problems for REAL college towns, UMW isn’t all that bad in comparison. For the most part, we like to do things like go to forums to debate articles about female attire and its effect on men. We don’t ALL party every night all night long. I’m not saying be grateful that some darn kid just threw beer in your yard, I’m just saying you live in COLLEGE Heights, and it could be worse.

    By the way, we don’t call the cops when you let your dogs run loose on our campus. No leash, no nothing. When you bring your toddlers to the fountain (kids cramp our style – its why we try not to have them), or when you run through with your old man tiny shorts and sleeveless T’s with your belly flopping and arms flapping (seriously. My eyes are scared for life.) I doubt you’ll appreciate my comparison… but you invade our space and inconvenience us, too.

    In the 1920s students were forced to bored in downtown and be carted to class everyday because there was not enough on campus housing. It was quite a disaster for the schools social control over the girls… I apologize that the issue persists.

  89. UMW Non-Partying Student

    The formatting of this comment certainly failed…

  90. It comes with practice. It’s all in the wrist.

  91. College Heights Citizen

    I like Ms Bledsoe’s points. I live in College Heights and I talk with the students proactively. Nothing happens suddenly with them and when I see something I don’t like I let them know – they have generally been respectful. Look up and down rt 1 – the only reason College Heights is as nice as it is, is b/c of UMW. Would you want to live on the side streets of rt 1 anywhere else but College Heights? I can answer that, no. The residents if so concerned should police their street and also try to get the landlords to clean up many of these blighted properties, that obviously are not college houses. Remember, trash in a yard is the landlord’s issue – not the collegeo or the police.

  92. Andrew

    That was horribly condescending. You characterize all college students as wild partiers with no understanding of responsibility. You are conflating being “young” with being “immature” and it is as offensive as it is inaccurate. This is a broad generalization. Some college students party, and at UMW the wild partiers are the minority. But to paint all UMW students that way is disrespectful to the hardworking responsible majority.

  93. You’re kind and thoughtful, which is a welcomed change of pace from other residents who have posted on here.

  94. On the bright side, at least we weren’t being blamed for urinating on cats/dogs/cars/airplanes like some other posts in regard to this topic. I mean, the thought never crossed my mind…even though it sounds hilarious the more I think about it.

  95. Andrew

    I agree with the above posts. As far as rental properties that are unmaintained and need up keep to neighborhood standards, I do agree as a student. I enjoy a nice neighborhood to live in and to be honest, I don’t exactly feel compelled to purchase the mower, rake, hammer and what other tools are needed, therefore I have to say the appearance of my house could be better. If laws and codes aren’t already in effect to enforce appearances, they should be and hold landlords responsible. They can furnish the cost of these in rent if they wish. For this I have no objections as long as I’m not being taken advantage of.