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Borough Council Continues to Try to Curb Behavior

West Chester Borough Council votes on several measures to curb unwanted behavior by West Chester University students.

The West Chester Borough Council took several steps to try to curb the behavior of West Chester University students earlier this week.

Those steps include raising the minimum fines for quality of life violations like public urination and noise, instituting an on-call judge for homecoming weekend and keeping track of what the borough spends annually on student enforcement.

“There’s absolute craziness,” said borough council member Jordan Norley referring to homecoming weekend.  “Things went beyond ‘controlled chaos’ into just straight chaos.”

Norley added, “We need to put an emphasis on the problem makers and not the taxpayers.”

Borough Council voted to increase minimum fines on public urination, open container and noise from $100 to $250, hoping the steep price would curb behavior.

“Hopefully, we can hit their wallets harder so they’ll think harder,” Norley said.  “Or at least hit their parents harder.”

Norley also led the charge on keeping track of how much the borough spends specifically on student enforcement.

“We need to create a benchmark,” Norley said.  “We need to find a baseline to see what we spend on enforcement.  True facts may help us with leveraging the university.”

“We need to send a message,” said borough council president Holly Brown.

Jere Kane November 23, 2012 at 02:13 PM
“Hopefully, we can hit their wallets harder so they’ll think harder,” Norley said. “Or at least hit their parents harder.” Brilliant move. Let's add more money for the parents to pay on top of tuition. How about Community Service or something more beneficial for the community? No kid is thinking about Mommy and Daddy's money when the next beer is handed to them.
Barb Burger November 23, 2012 at 02:33 PM
I agree with Jere, when the kids are "doing their thing" they are not thinking about money or fines. And they would probably just figure they'll ignore it, if they get one I don't like passing it on the parents because that is just taking the burden for proper decision-making off the students, which is exactly what they would want. "Let Mom and Dad handle it." And I don't think threats from the parents to their children about this situation would carry much weight, they students would figure that the parents don't know what they're doing anyhow since the don't live with them and they'd just go ahead and do what they want. The power of their peers and the freedom they have on campus, away from home, is way more powerful than any fine their parents may get.. I like the idea of some sort of community service for the boro. I'm sure if the word got out that a fine meant they'd have to give up part of a weekend doing work for the boro, that would have a far greater impact than any fine.
Milton Bradley November 23, 2012 at 03:21 PM
You are correct JK, the "kids" don't think. Lack of real consequences don't create a learning environment that enables them to think or become analytical. When parents receive their kid's drinking tab in the form of escalated fines the resultant parent-child conversation may produce altered behavior. It's a given that much of the real world revolves around money. The WC bar owners find it very lucrative to be in business in the borough. WCU needs higher enrollment numbers, revenue streams, to cover ever escalating expenditures related to facility expansion projects, etc. The WC police and borough council have found that the two preceding factors, a disproportionate number of bars and students, have been very costly to the borough. At least this current group of council members have begun to make strides to counterbalance what they feel is a disproportionate financial burden to the town. Not to mention addressing the long term degradation to the social fabric or quality of life issues in the borough. Norley, Brown and others should be commended for trying to address these problems in very real terms. Money.
FED UP November 23, 2012 at 05:30 PM
It's about time stated addresing the escalating expenditures of the drinking and the out of control bad behavior of the people that come into town with one purpose, rasing H----.I'm a Taxpayer and i need to see something done !
Mason crosby November 23, 2012 at 06:18 PM
You were all young once, and if you didn't party then you were probably a loser and mad about it now. I'm all for the $250 public urination fine. Make it $500!! But don't be mad at the kids for keeping the town of west chester's economies going and working the jobs like serving you $50 dinners and pouring you glasses of wine. Everything is fine. Relax. Live life.
Shayne Trimbell November 24, 2012 at 01:41 PM
I disagree with increasing the fines. What this says is that, do what you want and throw money at the problem to make it go away. The punishment does not effectively teach the offender that their actions disrupt the otherwise civilized life in the community. Make the offenders complete community service. Have them work on projects that add to the community, so that they not only learn that their actions bear consequence, but they also complete something they do not want to destroy.
Bored in WC November 24, 2012 at 06:05 PM
I say increase the fines, notify the parents, notify the school, AND make them go clean up after the mess they made. Hosing down a mess is unpleasant business. If there is a "judge on call", s/he should be in a position to put the drunken youth in a tank for a few hours (long enough to start sobering up), then send them out (when they aren't feeling quite so well) to clean up what they messed up, slap them with the fine & give them more community service as well. Problem is, who is going to supervise all that community service?
Cathy Binder November 24, 2012 at 07:17 PM
Keep in mind that some of these offenders are legal adults - over the age of 21. In that case why call parents? At this point it is up to the so called kids to be responsible. Realize that once these darlings go off to school their parents have no legal right to even be informed of grades etc. unless the kids sign off to give permission. If they are legal at 18 make them legal for their consequences - fines, community service etc. Time to grow up.
Jere Kane November 24, 2012 at 07:39 PM
Underage obviously has to be under 21. Legal at 18? They are not legal at 18 to drink. Now, years ago it was legal to drink at 18. Were all these problems present then? Most of Europe has a lower drinking age. There is some thought lowering the drinking age lessens the fascination with drinking and getting drunk. Until you have had a kid get a citation, go to court, do counseling, still get fined $400 and lose his license for 3 months, Ms Binder, maybe you will realize that it is not realistic to just raise fines and increase punishment. It all comes back to the parents unless you want your unemployed child to spend a couple of days in jail. Though it wouldn't eliminate all the drinking problems, maybe the bars should be more diligent in not over-serving the kids once they turn 21. Maybe they enter a bar and get a card limiting them to three drinks in the establishment. Sure there are ways around that, but it would be a start. Thebars have to take on more responsibility also.
Shayne Trimbell November 25, 2012 at 01:11 PM
Notify the parents, notify the school? First of all, anyone over the age of 18 is a legal adult. If they were charged with any crime anywhere else, there is no legal obligation to notify parents, because the individual is their own legal guardian. Notify the school: what do you do in the case the offender is not a student? Limit them to three drinks? There is no way the bars will ever support that measure. They are already responsible for not serving a visibly intoxicated person. I am 31, I can very easily consume more than three drinks during the course of the night and not be visibly intoxicated, but remain under the legal BAC of .08. Increasing the fines disproportionately harms the offenders of lesser wealth. For the offenders to which money is insignificant, a $100, $250, $500 fine is no more or less of a punishment. They have the means to pay the fine and repeat the offense. These are crimes against the community and against the quality of life. Make the punishment restore that quality of life through mandatory community service. Time is universal, and does not have more or less value with wealth. If an offender is made to perform community service in a manner that is obvious to other members of the community, the punishment will be more effective. If we treat them as children, they will never act as adults.
Cathy Binder November 25, 2012 at 11:34 PM
Sorry Jere, but if they are in a bar at 18 they are breaking the law and deserve the consequence and should go to jail or whatever. If it were my kid, so what - they would not be immune to the consequence of their own bad decision. Why would they be. At 18 like it or not they are legal adults. They go to school as such, or out into the world as such. They cannot legally enter a bar. Most establishments are tough on this, but I know lots of kids get fake ID's - easy to come by. Not my problem either. At 21 - you should control yourself the same at 18 - if you can't you have a problem and maybe you do need counseling. My kid could do the time in jail. And then find a job to pay off the fines. This idea of having to "fix it" is the exact problem. "They had enough money to be pounding them down at the bar? Yank their butt out of school until they get it together. Sorry, hard line for me here based on experience. Half the problem is that we scream about accountability until it is "my kid". Guess what do the crime, do the time - even if it is underage drinking. I am not saying I was any angel at this age, but we didn't act like this either. This is a culture of I do not have to be responsible because mom and dad will get me out, complain about it and fix it for me. Sorry. Can't buy it. If you are so intoxicated to be acting this out of control 18-80 you deserve the citation.
Jeffrey Beitel November 26, 2012 at 01:14 PM
Use the extra fine money to pay for the community service supervision.
Jeffrey Beitel November 26, 2012 at 01:19 PM
Jere, you have got to be kidding. The bar owners only care about one thing...the all mighty dollar! They would not even agree to pay a per drink fee to help support the local policing effort their establishments need to address the chaos after closing time. The West Chester tax payers are fed up with the situation and can not afford it any longer.
Jere Kane November 26, 2012 at 02:08 PM
So, instead of just criticizing me for discussing the issue, what's your solution? Easy to rip people, isn't it?
Jeffrey Beitel November 26, 2012 at 03:41 PM
Jere, The people causing the problems need to pay for the costs of the police needed to protect the community. That means fines that cover those costs....and it would be nice if the business owners who are fueling the problem with alcohol realized that they should shoulder some of the costs to the community rather than just pocketing the profits and passing the costs on the the West Chester taxpayers.

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