CSU is not necessarily a party school

In the wake of huge parties like the April riot, CSU gained nationwide recognition — and it’s not always positive.

The Ram’s Pointe pool party in August 2011 resulted in multiple hospitalizations and the April riot in 2013 caused thousands of dollars in damages as well as 15 charges, eight of which against CSU students.

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“We get big parties every three to four years. It happens, it’s not weekly or daily,” said Patrol Captain of Fort Collins Police, Jerry Schiager.

The party scale is cyclical, according to Schiager. New generations of students have their own events, but the mega-parties are not necessarily reflective of the CSU population as a whole.

“A pattern that we are seeing is not so much an increase in parties … it’s an increase in social networking,” said Assistant Dean of Students, Craig Chesson.

In the April riot, a Facebook page allowed the party to grow exponentially in numbers, bringing hundreds of partygoers to one location.

“With networking, 12 people can turn into 50 really quick,” Chesson said.

With a growing student population, CSU students occupy larger portions of the city. Sometimes students are placed next to families and retirees, causing tension, according to Schiager. Problems arise when parties become loud and destructive to property.

Fort Collins has two ordinances that protect residences — a noise ordinance and a nuisance gathering ordinance. Both can result in costly tickets to party throwers — anywhere from $100 to $1,000, according to the City of Fort Collins website.

In 2009, CSU started the party registration program to aid students with noise violations. It allows students to register their party and receive warning phone calls if it becomes too disruptive.

“Our statistics really speak for themselves,” said Emily Allen, who works to register parties for Off-Campus Life.

85 percent of registered parties receive no calls, 12.5 percent get a warning via phone or in person, and about 2.6 percent are cited, according to Allen.

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To be proactive in approaching students who are cited, CSU looks into student code violations on a case by case basis, according to Chesson. FCPS delivers student-related reports to the school.

“It allows us to check in with students,” Chesson said.

Chesson also said that, despite the recent large-scale parties in Fort Collins, the legal reports are remaining steady, rather than growing.

Schiager noted that immediately after large-scale events like the riot, parties die down.

“You get a lot of students coming out saying this is wrong and it makes us look bad,” Schiager said.

“We saw that students post-riot were kind of embarrassed,” Allen said. “They were saying, ‘This isn’t who we are.’”

The mega-parties are usually early-semester occurrences, when the party season is especially high. In the Campus West area, the first week of school saw 66 party-related calls. More recently on the weekend of Nov.4, there were only 24.

“Right around now, the parties step down. People are studying,” Schiager said.

Calls also depend on neighbors. Families are more likely to complain than college-aged neighbors, according to Schiager.

Registration remains an option for careful students, despite student suspicion about its legitimacy.

“Students are wary,” Allen said about those who register. Oftentimes students are not aware that the registration only covers noise complaints and not the nuisance gathering complaints.

If there is property damage, public urination or another issue, the police can be called right away, resulting in a ticket.

The big parties will — and have — happened, but CSU is not a riot school.

“Fort Collins ebbs and flows,” Allen said.

Collegian Senior Reporter Mariah Wenzel can be reached at letters@collegian.com. For more content follow her on Twitter @mariahcwenzel.