For Fairfield University seniors, life is a beach and they are just playing in the sand. But for beach residents, life is a bitch.

Local year-round beach residents and The Connecticut Post continue to complain about the “Animal House partying,” at the beach this fall. National publications like the Princeton Review continue to slam the university for poor town-gown relations, ranking Fairfield number 17 on the list, an improvement to the number two spot it had in 2001.

There is constant, “yelling and screaming that wakes people up after 11 p.m. It even happens during the daytime. I don’t understand,” said Fairfield Beach Resident Associations (FBRA) president Paige Herman. According to Herman, that is then number one issue between Fairfield students and the locals.

But Chief of Police at the Fairfield Police Department Gary MacNamara recently told The Mirror that the situation at the beach this year has been better. The Mirror recently convened a round table discussion with the Fairfield police and president of the FBRA, along with one-on-one discussions with the Assistant Director of Resident Life at Fairfield University and students living at the beach.

We found a few disagreements about the disruptiveness of the partying at the beach. Here are the four different perspectives on the partying done by Fairfield University beach residents.

Fairfield Police: Law Enforcers

Although it is their job to issue tickets and make arrests, police insist they are not out to get students. For them, “Maintaining peace in the area is our main goal,” said Chief MacNamara.

If the police receive a phone call, they are required to go to the house and asses the situation. This is where the “no warning,” policy comes into play. If the police are contacted, and the house they investigate is loud, disruptive and/or unreasonable, a ticket will be issued. “Large gatherings with alcohol being served that disrupts the area, will not be tolerated,” said Chief MacNamara.

So the first time around a member of a house member will be arrested – meaning, a ticket and court date will be issued. If there is a next time, where the police, for any reason, find themselves back at your house, a custodial arrest will be made. This includes, handcuffs, Miranda rights, fingerprints, photos and being put into a jail cell.

The police have every right to issue a custodial arrest the first time around, but the policies stated above show they are trying to work with the students as much as possible. In addition they are a proactive body of law.

Chief MacNamara and Deputy Chief Christopher Lyddy, understand that parties with alcohol will occur. They see problems starting to arise and escalate when large crowds of both invited, and uninvited guests congregate outside and start to disrupt the neighbors.

Luckily for the students, if they are in the area and witness a situation that may lead to a ticket, they will knock on the door, advise the house that the noise is a little too loud, and that it is getting too late for guests to be there. “Being preemptive has helped to prevent a few arrests and can continue to do so,” said Lyddy.

Local Residents: The Problem Finders

Although the beach is our home for nine months, the non-student residents have called it home for years. For them, when the school year comes around it means three things; solo cups, large rowdy crowds and loud music. Being a resident for 25 years, Paige Herman has had many encounters with students and they haven’t always been positive. “I have seen a girl walk off my back terrace,” said Herman.

She thinks the students at Fairfield beach should be more than satisfied simply with the view and the nice homes they live in for the school year. She doesn’t understand the partying that the students partake in.

“This year my neighbors who are students ate dinner outside with candles. I wouldn’t call them nerds, I would call them human beings,” she said, meaning that students who don’t party shouldn’t be looked at differently than those who do.

One thing is for certain; the residents do not agree with the so-called “entitlement” that they feel the students at the beach exhibit. “When I talk to the students in the daytime we have a lovely conversation. Then at 1:30 a.m. when there is a lot of noise and I knock on the door, the first two students are nice but the third was totally bombed, telling me I don’t understand what it is like,” said Herman.

Residence Life: The Advice Giver

Every Thursday, Friday and Saturday night, Nathan Lubich, Assistant Director of Residence Life at Fairfield University, or the other Assistant Director, Tara Rupp, rides around with an off-duty police officer, paid by University, to patrol the area and see where the most problems occur.

They serve as the liaison between on and off campus students, and help to improve the town relationships. Like the police, Lubich sounds like he has seen it all. He offers some students’Ω suggestions on how to keep the town and police pleased, while still having fun.

“I’ve noticed that you [students] can be pretty loud and not be that disruptive,” Lubich said. He then suggested keeping your windows and doors closed, and music at a reasonable level, to avoid getting a noise complaint.

“Many times students are walking with an open container, see a cop, and throw it thinking the police didn’t see them. They did and not only will the student receive an open container ticket, they will receive a littering ticket on top of that,” said Lubich. So don’t walk around with an open container, and if you are going to, don’t throw it. No one wants to wake up with red solo cups in their trees the next morning.

However every incident documented by the police is given to Lubich, and sent to the Dean’s office on-campus. The reality is that the University would find out anyway even without Lubich because the arrests and tickets are public information.

“After a student is issued a ticket or arrest, I speak with the house. Then when the Dean and I speak, I am able to report about the situation. We see a lot of wrong place, wrong time situations, said Nathan Lubich.

Students: “Animal House” Returns?

Living at the beach senior year is a tradition that most Fairfield University seniors look forward to for years, for some it was even the selling point. Laying out on the beach. Lazy Lantern Point days. Going to the Grape. Themed parties. Life at the beach isn’t so bad, until the party is cut short for one of the many above reasons.

Senior events, such as the banned event, “Clam Jam” have been one of the main reasons for the strong tension that exists between the town and the University students. This past weekend, the senior class hosted Oktoberfest, where only 21-year old seniors, who paid for the event, were allowed to attend.

But, two days before the event even took place, the University sent out a message warning the students that “large scale gatherings at the beach cannot happen.” As a result, at least five police officers were patrolling the point area, hours before the event even began. The event, which included kegs, mugs, contests and Super Duper Weenie, was under control, as no arrests were made.

“I want the citizens of Fairfield to know the amount of money they wasted to employ an unnecessary amount of police officers for an even that was completely organized for seniors who are 21 and would have still been under control with one or two officers,” said Maxine Twonsend ’11.

The beach is a community for Fairfield University seniors to live and hang out and a place where we pay rent, just as the non-student residents do. In a survey of 30 students who live at Lantern Point, 29 stated that they felt they were being treated as children, not adults, by having police patrol the area in which they live.

From each perspective, there are different views about the partying done by Fairfield University beach residents. However, the numbers and actions prove that our traditions that we look forward to are not the “large raucous parties,” that the towns people automatically assume they are.

“The townspeople and police anticipate any event that will occur to be on the same scale as Clam Jam, which is not the case. If they were to open communication with the students living on the beach, they would have known it was a facilitated senior event for seniors only, who paid for it to happen,” said Brianna Camera ‘11.

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