The Signal

Serving the College since 1885

Monday May 20th

Living with Lions and Broncs: Life near college party houses brings mixed opinions

<p><em>College parties occur in many neighborhoods around the College, leading to clashes between quiet residents and college students (Photo by Mike Sherr / Former Editor-in-Chief).</em></p>

College parties occur in many neighborhoods around the College, leading to clashes between quiet residents and college students (Photo by Mike Sherr / Former Editor-in-Chief).

By Isabella Darcy and Mike Sherr
News Editor and Former Editor-in-Chief

The College, as a medium-sized school, isn’t exactly known for its raging parties. With only about 7,000 undergraduate students enrolled, the student body’s social events can’t even come close to those at larger schools. 

Off-campus house parties do happen in Ewing residential areas, sometimes leading to college renters clashing with full-time residents. A tense relationship between the two can become strenuous as complaints pile up. 

Ewing residents have three major complaints about living near houses that throw parties: trash, noise and poor parking.

“It was really variable, it just really depended on the students you got,” said Stefan Michael, who grew up in Ewing. “[Some] people had no respect, they’d be carrying on super late into the night, and be super loud.”

Michael lived around college students his whole life, eventually enrolling at the College and living in an off-campus house himself. Michael was a brother of Alpha Chi Rho and graduated in 2016 with a degree in physics.

Throughout his childhood, college students interacted with Michael’s family, often respectfully. Michael recalled students baking cookies for and introducing themselves to his family and even inviting his parents to a party. While students were generally fine to live near, according to Michael, one incident involving his family and a loud college party stood out.

Michael’s father once asked a batch of students, who were throwing a party late at night, to quiet down multiple times. “They didn’t answer so he went over and knocked on the door, he did this two or three times and they didn’t quiet down,” Michael said. “So he ended up calling the cops on them.”

Many Ewing residents have experienced at least one stand-out party-related incident. 

34-year-old Matt Hasbrouck lives close to a college party house in Ewing and is used to common partying antics, such as noise. Hasbrouck said that noise doesn’t particularly bother him and is expected in any neighborhood — unlike one behavior that partying students in his neighborhood participated in.

“They had a very big party and men were urinating all over outside of the house and it encroached into my yard,” said Hasbrouck.

The Ewing resident then said that since that incident, things have been “pretty tame” in his neighborhood.

Similar to Michael, Emily Friel, 23, who also lives near college party houses in Ewing, said those living in the college party houses near her home don’t tend to cause a lot of issues. Her main complaint about parties held near her residence is the abundance of cars that larger parties attract. There are often many cars parked in the streets and in front of her house when a party is going on in the vicinity of her home. 

Along with car-related issues, noise is a large concern for Ewing residents.

When late night parties get too noisy, Ewing residents occasionally make noise complaints to the Ewing Police Department. Officers dispatched to party-related noise complaints break them up and issue warnings to house residents along with a magnet with information on Ewing noise ordinances. When officers are sent to repeat offenders, especially rowdy parties, students are given a summons and must appear in court. 

According to police reports obtained by The Signal related to college parties from August 2023 to April 2024, many of the noise complaints are affiliated with Greek Life organizations and sports teams from both the College and Rider University. The obtained reports include those given just warnings as well as those who received summons.

Noise complaints responded to by police included students from the College affiliated with the football team, wrestling team, women’s soccer team, Sigma Pi, Phi Kappa Psi and Delta Zeta. 

Other noise complaints included students from Rider involved with the wrestling team, track team, Tau Kappa Epsilon, Sigma Phi Epsilon, men’s tennis and men’s soccer. 

Police have also responded to other noise complaints, however, including those of students not affiliated with athletic teams or Greek Life organizations. 

One Ewing resident and former landlord, who asked to be referred to only as Jessie, once rented a house to a group of Rider students who held parties that disturbed their neighborhood. Jessie included a line in the lease that the tenants could not host any parties. 

After a warning and another subsequent party, Jessie asked the tenants to move out. When the students protested, Jessie complained to their athletic coach and they soon moved out.

Not all residents living near college students have experiences like that, however, with some even welcoming it. 

“I don’t mind it as much as I think older adults might,” said Khristopher Brooks, 39, a Ewing resident. “I know there's a lot of noise and a lot of activity that comes with living closer to college students.”

Even some older residents see little problem with college houses. 

“Once in a while, it would annoy me to see them out there drinking, but that’s normal — my kids drink, so what can I say,” said Pat Wesner, a 76-year-old Ewing resident. “We’re all a little loud every now and then.”

With the College being in Ewing since the 1930s, it's obvious to any new residents who move into Ewing that there will be college students. 

“You know that going in,” Brooks told The Signal. “You don't move somewhere and then magically college kids just pop up.”

Even if the extent of off-campus housing in Ewing is not obvious, some residents believe that the number of students is still manageable. 

“I've lived here for five years and I didn't really know how big the student body was,” Hasbrouck said. “And it's not like an alarming amount.”

Community posts in Facebook groups like “Ewing, NJ — Our Town, Our Neighbors, Our Voice and Ewing Community Update,” however, reflect many residents' negative views on college houses. 

“There's always gonna be some people who have raised complaints that are loud and fierce, and they have valid reasons,” Brooks said. “Some of them have valid points and they should be considered too.”

Some students, like some of those who lived near Michael, do what many Ewing residents wish all students would do — give a heads up before throwing a party. 

Along with a heads up, Michael suggests that college students keep parties within reasonable hours and minimize noise. 

“It always helps to knock on your neighbors' doors,” Michael said. “Introduce yourself, give them your phone number and tell them to call you before they call the cops.”


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