Last year, a court issued an injunction responding to complaints by non-student residents about excessive parties at Lantern Point. The court found that these parties constituted a nuisance and interfered with the neighborhood. No reasonable person could argue against that finding.

What is troubling, however, is that the injunction specifically forbids any event which attracts more than 250 “students,” that is housed or “in any way allow(ed)” by either the Lantern Point Association or student tenants in common areas.

This seems to fly in the face of the Bill of Rights, which have protected the citizens of our nation for more than 200 years.

It seems that the injunction infringes on the right of assembly for student tenants in their very own backyards. Ultimately this would have to be decided by a court, but matters of questionable constitutionality tend to raise eyebrows at the very least.

If student tenants or members of the Lantern Point Association were to somehow “allow” 251 students to congregate at the common areas of Lantern Point, the two groups could face penalties determined by the court. However, the injunction forbids any gathering, no matter what the cause or reason. If 400 students had convened at Lantern Point for a candle light vigil on September 11th, it would have been in violation of the injunction.

Furthermore, there may be an ACLU-esque concern with exactly who is targeted by the injunction. “Student(s)” is referred to 17 times in the barely five page document. Granted, this number is somewhat inflated since student tenants are named as defendants and the issue revolves around gatherings populated mostly by students. However, it is conceivable that a question of Civil Rights could be raised with the explicit ban of only students. 251 people that can claim to be from any other group are not denied their otherwise constitutional right to assemble if done so peaceably.

Students are usually young adults, so is this a case of age discrimination? The injunction does not specify the 250-cap for any unruly crowd gathered at any event. Instead it specifically targets students. Of course this issue would also have to be determined by a court, but the term “discrimination” tends to draw attention to matters.

The case of Ramos v. Town of Vernon may have implications to such narrowly applied constraints. The suit is currently under appeal to reverse a District Court ruling which uphold a curfew on minors. The Connecticut Civil Liberties Union claims on its website that such a curfew infringes on the fundamental rights of minors.

Are the fundamental rights of students being infringed upon with the denial of assembly numbering more than 250 participants and the narrowly defined constraints of the injunction?

The editorial represents the opinion of the majority of The Mirror Editorial Board. What is your opinion? Write to us: mirror@fair1.fairfield.edu

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