SCRANTON -- Officials from the University of Scranton, the city, and residents of the Hill Section met Wednesday night to discuss the growing concerns with off-campus college parties.
Residents say those parties are getting increasingly out of hand and want the university to do something about it.
It's back to school for the University of Scranton, and in the nearby Hill Section, where many of its students find off-campus housing, the negative effects of student life are already showing as beer cans and garbage are left strewn in yards and on porches.
Residents of the Hill Neighborhood Association met with university officials over the growing anger they're feeling about the off-campus college parties.
“I've had kids in my backyard urinating. I see them out there doing drugs,” said one resident.
Residents say the parties go late into the night, are loud, rowdy, and at many parties, fireworks are being set off.
“People are really frightened by all the fireworks and the crowd sounds, the smashing glass,” said resident Karen Waldeck. “I've lived here a long time. This is the worst it's been.”
Video taken by a resident of the annual midsummer bash thrown by students on Clay Avenue on July 16 show a very large crowd gathered at a house; police estimated roughly 400 people were there.
The next day resident snapped several pictures of all the litter left behind from that bash.
Everyone at the meeting, which included city officials and Scranton police, agreed that party crossed the line.
“We did notify Scranton police of midsummer,” said University Police Chief Donald Bergmann. “I don't think anybody anticipated it was going to be as big as it was. I've never seen it as large as it was.”
“We knew it was going to be a headache, and I want to say by 4:30 we had the party shut down and everybody out of there,” said Scranton Patrol Officer Nick Hurchick. “I never saw that many kids in a confined area in my life.”
University officials say this is a step to make their students better neighbors.
“We're a Jesuit and Catholic university, and again, we hold our students accountable and we have high expectations for them,” said Julie Schumacher Cohen, the director of Community and Government Relations.
“They teach us you have to be men and women for others, and that includes your community, and that includes respect your community, doing what they see is best, as well, because it's not just our world,” said university sophomore Natania Feliciano, who says she’s glad the university’s taking a role in building bridges.
The Hill Neighborhood Association says it plans to continue holding these joint meetings with city officials, city police and members of the university to resolve these issues.