More UB students face university discipline as University Heights enforcement intensifies
Fifty-seven students have gone through Judicial Affairs so far this semester
Since the start of the fall semester, 57 UB students have gone through Judicial Affairs due to underage drinking and house parties in the University Heights off South Campus.
UB suspended 23 students and ordered 30 others to do community service in the Heights during the past few weeks. The suspended students were those who were arrested by Buffalo police. There were four additional referrals this past weekend, but those are still under judicial review.
The large number of students handed university discipline comes as Buffalo police crackdown on parties and the tension between residents and partying students in the neighborhood rises. UB officials and the University Heights Collaborative met and created a committee to review the UB Stampede buses that often transport intoxicated students into the neighborhood.
But Elizabeth Lidano, director of Judicial Affairs and Student Advocacy, said although the number of arrests seems high right now, it would even out to be similar to past years.
“The main difference is that they started coming relatively early,” she said.
Most of the students arrested and suspended hosted house parties and provided alcohol to underage students. Students required to do community service are mostly those who were walking around with open containers or were caught underage drinking at house parties, Lidano said.
Buffalo police report arrested and ticketed students to University Police, who then just refer them to Judicial Affairs, said Deputy Chief of Police Joshua Sticht.
UPD does not patrol the Heights, but it will assist Buffalo police if the department asks for help.
One UB student, who spoke to The Spectrum under agreement of anonymity, was arrested at around 11:30 p.m. Friday night and is currently going through judicial review. He was charged with unlawful dealing with a minor, criminal nuisance and assaulting an officer after he threw a party at his Winspear Avenue house.
The student was taken downtown and put in a holding cell until the next morning. On Saturday at 6 p.m., he was released on a $4,500 bail.
“I was in a cell with drug dealers, addicts and criminals and it was crazy because most of the other people in the holding cells were students who threw house parties,” he said.
He said his assaulting an officer charge came after he kicked a hand off his leg during the chaos of the party breakup. He said didn’t realize until after that he had kicked an officer.
The student said University Police knocked on his door Sunday morning and told him about his suspension from school and then questioned him on Monday. He said he still doesn’t know when his review with Judicial Affairs will be.
The other three UB students referred this weekend were charged for allegedly providing alcohol to minors in the Heights Friday night. All three were charged with first-degree unlawfully dealing with a child and second-degree criminal nuisance.
The student who was arrested for throwing a party said he doesn’t feel it’s fair for him to face university discipline for a situation he doesn’t feel has to do with UB.
“As a student on the Dean’s List, this whole situation is inhibiting my ability to do well in school,” the student said. “It’s a lot of stress over a house party that has nothing to do with school.”
The student said there has always been police presence in the Heights, but he sees more officers patrolling the neighborhood this semester than ever before. He said there are a lot more “angry neighbors” calling police to break up house parties and it’s probably due to meetings of the University Heights Collaborative – a community organization that works to improve the neighborhood.
Daniel Ryan, director of Off Campus Student Services, backed up what Lidano said: the arrests have simply come sooner this year than in years past.
“In my opinion the police have been as active as in years past but have been active earlier in the school year this year,” Ryan said in an email. “I remember two years ago we had the same number of arrests but they didn’t come until late September.”
Ryan said student arrests have gone down the past two weekends and it’s probably because word is getting around that UPD and Buffalo police will no longer tolerate large parties and students “strolling around” with alcohol.
The arrested student’s roommate, who “blended in” during the breakup and was not arrested, said Buffalo police told his friends they were planning on arresting students that night so they should spread the word. The roommate disagreed with Buffalo police’s strict enforcement on underage drinking and parties, as he said the focus should be on crime in the neighborhood.
“When there’s a party, you’ll see 10 cop cars on a street, but one time I almost got shot and mugged on South [Campus] and didn’t see a police car in sight,” he said.