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.
“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.