The Holy Cross Community Compact

Posted by Jeremy Shulkin

Last night at city council City Manager Michael O’Brien and Holy Cross president Father McFarland presented their recently agreed upon Community Pact, a four page document that show a “renewed, shared focus on improving the safety and quality of life for Holy Cross students and residents of the College Hill neighborhood.”

So what’s in the compact? Some recommitting to old techniques, some harsher enforcement of rules already in place and an emphasis on greater communication between the Worcester Police Department and the college.

The compact is split into six sections, each detailing a way to minimize loud partying or dealing with the aftermath.

The first section, headed “Expectations for student behavior off-campus”, reinforces that “there is no difference if a violation (of permissible off-campus student behavior) occurs inside or outside the gates of the College.” Even students who live off campus will be held accountable to the school’s code of conduct.

Violations of the code stay on the student’s personal educational record, and parents will be notified if they are involved in an incident that “result[s] in neighborhood disturbances or violation of any law.”

The school will also start an application process where students who want to live off campus will be vetted. This will begin in the 2011-2012 school year.

In regards to working with the Worcester Police Department, a couple of new steps will be taken. The school’s public safety officers “will have an actively integrated presence with Worcester Police patrols in the College Hill neighborhood during certain times, as agreed upon.” Currently, the school does not pair up their officers with WPD, and Holy Cross’ patrols don’t police off campus.

This could be considered a significant change. The school has said their officers are “in communication” with WPD throughout the nights they’re there, but from what I’ve gathered, they don’t range off campus.  Even if HC police don’t have jurisdiction off campus, actually having them patrol the streets creates a higher police presence on problem streets.

There will also be improved information sharing between the WPD and the school. Interactions between the WPD and any HC student will be detailed and “shared” with the college.

The school will provide the chief of police with any disciplinary action taken within the school relating to off campus disruptive activities.

HC will re-examine its shuttle service to the Canal District and Shrewsbury Street, and make adjustments that may make getting into the city easier and create a higher demand by the student body. The school will also look at increasing the hours of its on campus pub, adding hours to the Field House for intramural sports and creating a campus green in an effort to keep 18 to 21 year olds from resorting to socializing off campus.

Problem houses may be under more review and scrutiny by the city, including having problematic party houses submit to inspection from the city’s Property Review Team. (“Including while parties are underway, if necessary.”) Holy Cross will also continue to hold an annual meeting with landlords in the College Hill area. These meetings will continue to be voluntary. (Apparently, attendance at these meetings is pretty dismal.)

Basically, what this pact does is reaffirm the steps the city and the college say they’re already doing, but solidifies it in writing. There are some new wrinkles and improvements here, but from what I saw last weekend, Father McFarland’s letter to the student body was the most effective anti-rowdiness measure the school has taken in some time.

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4 Comments

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4 responses to “The Holy Cross Community Compact

  1. Tim Mac

    The first contradiction that comes to mind is that laws will not be enforced – drunkenness in public, alcohol possession etc., which are arrestable offenses for the public at large, but have not been enforced with HC kids in the past, nor has anyone publicly stated that arrest is an option. So it looks like the preferential treatment continues.

    And if the kids know the HC cops are there just for show, what will stop them from pursuing their fun? The HC cops who have few or no police powers right? The threat of reporting the violators to HC admin for disciplinary action? Get a slap on the hand? I honestly doubt that the HC cops are going to call the WPD to arrest HC kids off campus. And if the HC Cops rarely venture off campus, how can any incidents be dealt with or reported? The HC Cops sole job is to protect HC property. In other words its all lip service, in fact there is no real progress.

  2. Boots

    Any contract is only as good as the people who make it. HC, the city manager & WPD has ignored the laws of the state for years. Seems to me that if the city manager and the police chief did their jobs in the first place maybe all this BS wouldn’t have come to a head like it is doing now.

    How many HC students have graduated knowing that the elite don’t have to obey the rules? Like the CEOs and Supreme Court justices (Alito, Scalia & Thomas) who have connections to Opus Dei, believe they are untouchable.

    I have news for them. What goes around comes around. I’m sure HC party time will come back after things have cooled down. And the time will eventually come when the homeowners will take matters into their own hands.

  3. First off, the city needs to raise the tax rate on these profiteering absentee landlords; they have the most disposable income, and we need the revenue. Next, those landlords should have fines equivalent to three months “market” (over-inflated) rent imposed for every incident. And if their tenants continue with their criminal behavior, the city should take the properties into receivership just like they did with “Worcester’s Dirtiest Landlord” Conrad Swartz.

  4. -Q

    Wow!
    An actual “compact” to enforce existing laws and ordinances….how impressive……….so what we now have, thanks to the city manager, is a two-tierd justice system where the laws are applied depending on where you live and who you are.
    Why are there no other compacts in other parts of our city?
    What part of enforcing our existing laws and ordinances does the city manager find so distasteful to respect and uphold?
    Does any city councilor actually think this “compact” is the solution in resolving over 30+ years of Holy Cross students drunken debauchuary?
    This is nothing more than a temporary “feel good solution” that will not even last a whole year……..

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