Stella: CSU party registration is a good idea but needs improvements

Partygoers+hold+red+Solo+cups

Collegian | Sara Shaver

Photo illustration of partygoers with red Solo Cups Sept. 18.

Michael Stella, Collegian Columnist

Editor’s Note: All opinion section content reflects the views of the individual author only and does not represent a stance taken by The Collegian or its editorial board.

Too often in life, the road to hell is paved with good intentions. The Colorado State University Off-Campus Life and City of Fort Collins Party Registration program is a good start to a common problem, but it needs improvement. 

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The party registration system is part of the city’s town-gown programs, said Greg Over, community liaison specialist for Off-Campus Life.

“I try to ensure that what we call a ‘town-gown relationship’ is a positive one,” Over said.

What makes up a town-gown relationship? The town is represented by the City of Fort Collins, and the gown is an academic one represented by CSU.

The CSU Party Registration program is a largely successful system. The program is a joint effort between CSU and the City of Fort Collins. Since 2009, more than 4,000 parties have been registered, and 97.5% of those parties have been citation free. A full 85% of the parties registered had no issues — this means 85% of registered parties in FoCo received no noise complaints or had little to no contact with law enforcement.

“At its inception, it was only for parties on Fridays and Saturdays, and it was only for the first six weeks of the fall semester and the last five weeks of the spring semester,” Over said.

When you register your party, your information, such as phone number and address, is given to dispatchers at Fort Collins Police Services so that if there is a noise complaint called in, a police officer can contact you to let you know you received a complaint. From then, you have 20 minutes to shut it down, or the police can come and have the authority to issue a citation.

This is a successful part of the registration system that benefits both students and Fort Collins residents. Students avoid a noise citation — an honestly over-emphasized punishment — and Fort Collins residents do not have to deal with loud parties all the time.

However, if you register a party and receive a complaint, you cannot register another party for 30 days, even if you shut down your party within the 20-minute window given by Fort Collins Police Services.

It is counterproductive to encourage students to register their party and then punish them for using the system if they get a noise complaint. Students who did the right thing by registering their party with the party registration system should be rewarded for their effort and for doing the right thing. 

“The party registration system is beneficial to students and the Fort Collins community; however, for this program to be fully utilized by the student population of CSU, hosts should not be banned from the system for getting a noise complaint.”

Instead, they are punished when they get a noise complaint call regardless, even if the police never show up. If the police never show up, the hosts have likely quieted the party down, and their neighbors felt no need to place another complaint.

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At this point, if the host took the time to register their party with Off-Campus Life but they received a noise complaint and shut the party down, they would then be unable to use the system supposedly designed to protect them for another 30 days. 

Patrick Sciammas, a CSU senior and former president of Pi Kappa Phi — a fraternity that had its chapter suspended by CSU in fall 2021 — became frustrated with the party registration system during his time in the fraternity for flaws in the system. 

“I found that the school would find out every time one of our annex houses, by the name of Chapel, would have a party,” Sciammas said. “So whenever Chapel threw a party, they refrained from registering because whenever they registered, the school found out.” 

Sciammas also suggested the system should reward students who use it with an incentive program, such as giving them priority with RamRides

“If the cops call and say they received a complaint and are on their way to your house, then they get there and there are no loud noises and nothing illegal going on, then (the people who registered the party) should not be banned from using the system,” Sciammas said.

The party registration system is beneficial to students and the Fort Collins community; however, for this program to be fully utilized by the student population of CSU, hosts should not be banned from the system for getting a noise complaint.

That is how the system is supposed to work and exactly how it should work. Otherwise, students are punished regardless for using the system that is supposed to protect them.  

Reach Michael Stella at letters@collegian.com or on Twitter @Michaelstella_.

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