Westside Residents ‘Fed Up’ With Rowdy College Kids’ Behavior

OSWEGO, NY – The fall semester isn’t a month old yet and already some westside Oswego residents are fed up with the rowdy late-night behavior of some SUNY Oswego students.

Speaking at the public session of Monday’s Common Council meeting, two residents asked the council to give the police department whatever it needed to put an end to the bad behavior.

James Castiglia, a Third Ward resident, complained about the “constant drunkenness that goes on in our neighborhood because of the college kids. It usually starts on Thursdays about 10 p.m. and it doesn’t end until about three in the morning … filthy rotten language.”

He told the councilors he was there to speak on behalf of many of his neighbors who didn’t want to speak in public.

James Castiglia speaks to the Common Council
James Castiglia speaks to the Common Council

“They say they can’t get nothing done. They say this is the worst they’ve ever seen. There seems to be more and more of (rowdy college kids). They keep you awake half the night,” he said. “And, I’m also her to complain about these buses that keep going up and down our neighborhood. Passing each other, one right after another, four or five hours a night with loads of drunken kids on them; and I’m sure a lot of them are under-age drinkers!”

He said he has seen kids get off the buses carrying beers, “and I feel them buses are contributing to the delinquency of minors. And I think that something should be done about it. The neighbors are fed up with it. We want them buses out of our neighborhoods!”

Former Third Ward councilor Sue Sweet echoed his sentiments.

“This year is absolutely the worst I’ve ever seen for college student drinkers. They are terrorizing my neighborhood,” she said. “I am here on behalf of my neighbors, also.”

Some of her neighbors have lived in their homes for 50 years, she noted. She has invested several thousands of dollars to restore her historical home, as have other neighbors, she added.

“We have had it! We’ve absolutely had it,” she said. “We are looking to the city, the council to protect us. They are running in packs. This is not just regular normal drinking; they are now coming in packs into our neighborhoods, 50 and 60 kids screaming, public urination.”

This behavior ahs frightened her grandson. Now, he isn’t afraid of “bad guys,” he is afraid of college students, Sweet said.

“They are banging on the sides of our house, playing drunken hide and seek in our side yards, trying to find the next party at an illegal frat or sorority house, which are peppered everywhere in the neighborhoods of the First and Third wards.”

She wants the council to send a loud and clear message to the college and to set a zero tolerance policy in the city regarding the behavior.

“We’ve had enough. I am asking each and every one of you to get up on a Friday night or Saturday night and just see what we’re talking about,” she said. “It’s abnormal. We know that college kids drink. We know that they have fun. I don’t know what is happening this year; I’ve called the police department. They need help, whatever they need – please give it to them. It’s got to stop and it’s got to stop now.”

She urged the council to get the situation under control.

“I’ll tell you right now, we have had enough. Send an open message to these students: If you can’t behave when you come here, go home!” she said. “They are going to be the professionals; they are going to be our kids’ teachers. Are you kidding me? If they could only see their own bad behavior. If their parents could only see their bad behavior. First of all, we are committeed to death; you can committee all you want but we need action. The neighbors are sick of it. We want something for our investment in this city.”

Mayor Randy Bateman said he has been in contact with a group of residents regarding this issue. They are keeping an eye on their neighborhood and alerting police when needed.

“We have stepped up patrols in those areas,” he said. “If you do have an area of concern, please let the police department know.”

Police Chief Tory DeCaire said his department is aware of the problems and doing what it can to curb them and preventing future disturbances as well.

“We have had great cooperation thus far with SUNY Oswego, specifically SUNY police,” he said.

Some of the recent arrests have been for open container violations, disorderly conduct, a couple for littering and loud parties – in the First and Third wards, he noted.

“First and foremost, call when it is happening,” he advises residents. “Catching people in the act will help resolve a problem.”

“There is currently no legislation, either city ordinance or New York State law, that prohibits (the bus service) from dropping off or picking up passenger or fares in a neighborhood,” the chief pointed out. “What we’re doing is we are working with them to try and come up with a solution to the problem. The problem is not so much that they are dropping people off – it’s the people’s behavior once they’ve been dropped off. Working together, we’re going to try and come up with a solution that everybody is going to be satisfied with.”

The chief said he’s set up meetings with not only the buses’ owners but also the city’s taxi companies.


  1. While I’m definitely not one of these rowdy kids that go around and disturb other people in their homes, but I am an Oswego student, I do not think that the buses picking and dropping kids off is the problem. Students are going to go drink no matter what, whether there are buses or not, there are still taxis available and we can walk. I think the buses actually help the situation because it prevents drunk driving. Allowing us to have these available to us keep us or anyone else in this town from getting hurt because some students are stupid enough to get behind a wheel but with the providing of these buses it prevents it.

  2. I too have been bothered by drunken college kids for 2 weekends straight now. I have had political signs that are in my yard in support of my fellow candidates knocked over, bent and almost stolen. I have also had many beer cans in my yard. I confronted 3 unruly college kids attemting to steal a sign in front of my yard at 3AM and was told by them I was unruly . I did manage to get the signs back but do not feel that I should guard my property from these people to protect my self. The big thing is that they dont care whatso ever. Last Friday I was sitting in my vehicle from 12-2:30 AM so I could keep watch on my yard and was called every name in the book by guess again a drunk college student. I am getting tired of it myself . I will say Oswego Police and Border Patrol were cruising my street frequently but we need to do something. Maybe an arrest or 2 will curb the problem or maybe a curfew. My friends political sign was also demolished on Friday. Do these kids know that tampering with a political sign is a felony? Maybe we need to teach them a lesson in respect for others. Its too bad that a select few can tarnish the reputation of all the students at SUNY Oswego

  3. Come on u people is that all u can complain about is some college kids trying to get home safe by walking on a fri or sat night ya thay may be a little load or rowdy at times.what about the crime rate,the drugs comeing in and out of the city,the weifare.no jobs ,small business leaveing,DONT U THINK THAT WOULD BE SOMETHING TO COMPLAIN ABOUT…..

  4. As a 3rd ward resident,I second and applaud the comments of my neighbors in thematter of the roving ,marauding bands of drunken youth in our city. It’is one of the reasons I’m moving out of the city. I can expect groups of 10 or more to congrigate on the cornor out side my bedroom window thursday-sunday nights. The volume and choice of vocabulary from 10 PM-3:30AM is troublesome and annoying.If an “F” bomb is not the first word in the sentence it sure is in there somewhere.
    As to the busses..Could they not have a scheduled route? West6th,7th and 8th streets are not wide enough for bus traffic. Could the party busses follow the centro bus routes? I agree that reducing drunk driving is a big positive.
    To the students, Party on dudes and dudettes, But don’t forget to be excelent to the residents when you invade their neighborhoods.

  5. You people complaining are why Oswego is such a joke…why would anyone want to live in a town where their residents cant seem to remember that the college is the only thing supporting it…

  6. I am a junior at SUNY Osweego. While I cannot deny that some students conduct themselves in manner that is less than fitting of a good citizen, a crusade against the entire college population is going to do nothing to solve the problem.

    As others pointed out, the buses reduce drunk driving. Furthermore, they prevent drunken party-goers from simply trying to walk home and going to sleep in some ditch halfway home.

    I believe part of the problem is a lack of communication between the college students and the permanent community. My housemates and I have had around 20 people at our house at a time before for birthdays and other special occasions. We do not mean to bother anyone and legitimately try to keep the noise down. Neighbors have a right to enjoy their evening as they wish. That same right should apply to college students, given they are making a reasonable effort to follow the law. If a neighbor thinks the noise level is inappropriate, I encourage that neighbor to attempt to make contact with the resident before simply calling the police. Some people will be belligerent and uncooperative. Then call the police. But many students would be happy to apologize and turn down the music. If it gets too loud again, then call the police.

    If Oswego becomes notorious for policy that has disparate impact against students, then students will be less eager to choose this town for college. Some residents might think that is an improvement, until stores and restaurants begin shutting down. 3,049 jobs are estimated to have been created in Oswego County in 2009 because of the college. 156,000 volunteer hours have been given by college students in 2009 to the Oswego county community. These are things that need to be taken into consideration. There are some mean, nasty students out there. There are also some mean, nasty permanent residents, just as there are nice, reasonable people in both catagories. I think everyone should make an effort to get to know their neighbor, and they may be pleasantly surprised. There is one woman who lives 2 houses down that I have meant to meet for some time now, but she scares me because she was muttering nasty things about us as soon we moved in, simply because we are college students. Just be kind to your neighbor.

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