City continues to address student behavior
The Mount Pleasant City Commission is working to control disruptive behaviors during popular weekends like Welcome Weekend by moving the focus from individuals to popular locations disruptive behavior usually occurs.
The commission originally met in 2000 to outline initiatives to control behaviors in neighborhoods and discussed what worked and didn’t work.
Mount Pleasant police chief Glenn Feldhauser said most students issued citations claimed to not be aware of the rules.
"This is not a student-behavior issue. This is a community standard," Feldhauser said. “Every member of the community is responsible for the safety and welfare of the community.”
People come from out of town to “prey” on the members of the community by attending large parties and to steal from the hosting homes, Feldhauser said. To prevent this, police are working to make locations less attractive to those visiting from out of town.
"When my pals come from out of town, they don’t come to your house and party like rock stars and if they do, you tell them that we don’t do it that way,” he said. “Pretty soon, from the freshman class to the senior class, the message is clear: you can have fun, but there is a limit because this is where we live."
The amount of nuisance party tickets issued has increased. Between August and February, 41 locations received nuisance citations. While Feldhauser said this may seem like a high number, 263 loud-party complaints we investigated.
“On big weekends, we do the same thing as every other weekend, we just staff up for it since there’s a lot more people,” he said. “When we started talking about this, we started by talking about the broken window theory, where if you take care of the little things then the big things don’t happen.
The police department renewed its partnership with local landlords. Any time a nuisance party complaint is filed, landlords are notified, even if a citation is not written.
In return, the landlord contacts the police department for updates on the actions that followed. Additionally, if a landlord doesn't take an action, they can be cited along with the tenant.
“Some landlords do a corrective action right off the bat and tell the tenant they don’t want the behavior anymore,” Feldhauser said. “Some take punitive action with $100 to $300 fines to the people living in the home.”
The police department viewed their ordinances and found they often matched those of the landlords.
Feldhauser said the partnership with the landlords is a “strong and positive thing." The current ordinance doesn’t need to be adjusted, but stuck with to see where it goes, he said.
The current issue is the lack of education about what a nuisance party is, said city manager Nancy Ridley. The city working to reach out to students to find out what is the best way to get the message out.
“We are hoping to engage in that problem solving,” said Ridley. “We are working on how to get the message out more effectively with student representatives and are working on how to get feedback on what is happening.”