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Villanova 'Nuisances': LMPD Stats Show a Student Problem, Commissioner Says

Township and university officials have convened to discuss nightlife behavior.

Villanova University students committed the majority of Lower Merion Township's 'nuisance offenses' in the past three months, and the school must do a better job with discipline, one township Board of Commissioners member said at Monday's meeting.

Of 186 arrests for disorderly conduct, public urination, public intoxication and underage drinking in August through October, 110 involved Villanova students, Commissioner Scott Zelov said, citing data researched by Capt. Bill Boegly of the Lower Merion Police Department.

"That is just about 60 percent, which can not continue," said Zelov, who represents the area of Bryn Mawr—a pub-packed stretch of Lancaster Avenue—where most of those arrests typically happen.

In a Patch email interview after the meeting, Zelov said he and Commissioner Phil Rosenzweig (who represents the township's Rosemont and Villanova sections) earlier this month "met for about an hour with Paul Pugh, Dean of Students, and John Stack, Vice President for Student Life."

Zelov has spoken often this year, both at BOC meetings and to Bryn Mawr's civic and business associations, about his frustration with students' behavior and how often he hears from residents who feel likewise.

"VU student conduct is having an enormous negative impact on our community, primarily in Bryn Mawr, and it has to stop," Zelov told Patch. "Our police department is responding, and it is now time for Villanova to do more."

Villanova media relations officials have not responded to Patch's request for comment.  

Zelov characterized the township-university meeting as "constructive and frank" and said Villanova officials agreed to explore the feasibility of some ideas township officials presented for mitigating problems.

"In addition, we requested that they inform the community about their current procedures for addressing disruptive student conduct," Zelov said.

What do you think? Are Villanova students causing too many problems or are they being unfairly singled out? Are township and university authorities approaching their behavior in the right or wrong way? Tell us in the comments section below.

Walter Ebmeyer November 15, 2012 at 12:22 PM
It's pretty bad, although I think the noisy drunks walking up Merion Avenue are more likely Bryn Mawr people. Do the bars stay open until 3am? It sure sounds like it. When I was a boy, bars closed at 1am.
robert roth November 15, 2012 at 03:09 PM
I own a business accross from the Grog restaurant and have vandelism at least once a week to the planters in front of my shop. I've called the police and they can't sit in front of every business when the bars let out. I don't know what the solutuion really can be, has been going on forever in Bryn Mawr. Just a lack of any respect for anyone or anything.
Kat November 15, 2012 at 04:16 PM
I live on Glenbrook Ave, which is Radnor, but it's pretty much the same. The kids are nice during the day, but at night, they turn completely obnoxious. This year, almost every night they wake me up coming home drunk. Villanova needs to take more action to work with its neighbors - I hear they have a strict policy on drunkeness (LOL) so I would say that at the very least kids that have a run in with cops should be reprimanded by the school.
BCG November 15, 2012 at 04:19 PM
One suggestion might be to get behind Villanova's planned development for Lancaster Avenue. This plan would bring the University's on-campus student number to 85% of the student body thus pulling nearly 1/2 of the students currently living in the surrounding area to residences on campus. Currently, roughly 27% of Villanova students live in the community, walk to the bars, pee in the alleys and puke on the street. Further, the housing these students pay good money for (often up to $500/head/month) in Bryn Mawr and Rosemont is deplorable. No wonder they lack a respect for the area. They see their slumlords treat students and the community with little respect. If the township wants to get serious about sorting out the problem, support the Lancaster Avenue development proposal (although the proposal occurs in Radnor Township support from other townships would be appreciated I'm sure) and enforce strict codes and penalties which are often overlooked that allow slumlords to take advantage of Villanova students at the expense of the township. I wonder what would happen if all of those crummy houses and apartments were vacated once the new housing is built on campus. With no more rich kids to pay the inflated rents the township could face a valuation crisis when those rents and properties are right-sized to reflect their true quality. Think about it.
S. E. November 15, 2012 at 07:33 PM
I own a buisness in Rosemont, and i also went to Villanova University. I have had no problems whatsoever with students at my buisness nighttime or daytime. I think that the people who have problems with students should not have started a buisness so close to a college campus. Villanova students must walk home to their dorms if they are out at night, and they constantly get harassed by LM & Radnor police. The last thing this area needs is to get more strict with students who bring major money to buisnesses in the area. One thing Villanova should consider is opening a bar/restaurant on campus to keep some students on campus. How many of you had fun when you were young and in college? Don't ruin the fun of the current Villanova students!
Edward Tobin November 15, 2012 at 07:46 PM
Another possibility is to ask the University and the establishments that they frequent to have some sort of street monitors to assist the police and assure there is some sort of respect for the neighbors. I have lived on South Merion Av for over 20 years and the noise between midnight and 2:30 AM can be deplorable. Sometimes they just stand out on the street and shout at each other!
Professor 1982 November 15, 2012 at 10:39 PM
@S.E. - What planet do you live on. These students are being arrested because their behavior is intolerable and destructive...not because "they are walking home from class". Moreover the residents and people where here far longer than the transisient non-taxpaying students so your position carries no weight. Moreover, since VU and other Universities doent pay any taxes, its a double whammy as VU is not even picking up the tab for the Twps to babysit their students.
Cindy T November 16, 2012 at 02:24 AM
The bars should not serve anyone who is intoxicated or becoming toxicated! That is where the problem lies. They are only concerned about taking these kids money. Have snacks on the bar to soak up the alcohol and have a hot dog cart or serve food and close at 12am! No need to drink all night! Other businesses property should not suffer because they have their businesses so close. Fine the bars!
JEFFREY November 16, 2012 at 04:22 AM
I've got to say that there is already a law prohibiting bars from serving anyone visibly intoxicated. There is not law concerning becoming intoxicated. "Becoming" intoxicated does not exist. Either you are or your not. Having said that, it's not the drink then eat that will solve anything. There is a law about serving intoxicated patrons and if the patron gets into legal trouble and found to be intoxicated from a bar, that bar owner should be fined accordingly. I don't hear anything about the owner's taking responibility for serving those already intoxicated.
JEFFREY November 16, 2012 at 04:26 AM
You have it all backwards. Arrest those who break the law, not try to stop the police from protecting our neighborhoods. Where did you ever see LM police or Radnor police harrass anyone, let alone a Villanova student. Describe it in detail and you'll find your thought process belongs with Peter Pan.
JEFFREY November 16, 2012 at 04:32 AM
Villanova's planned development of Lancaster Avenue has absolutely NOTHING to do with this late at night criminal activity. If it's starting at the bars, then Villanova will have to have many pubs and bars on campus and make the local ones off limits to them. Neither will happen as Villanova can't have pubs and bars and you can't make a legal establishment off limits to the general public. So forget the Project on Lancaster Avenue. I'm not against it, but it has nothing to do with the problem at hand. If students break the law, they should get arrested and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. They are here to get an education, not forget all the things that they should do, and try to stretch their wings to the point they think it's ok to violate the law now. The will surely get an education with the law. I have a few ideas that may help, but I will submitt them to the proper authority at the right time and place.
JEFFREY November 16, 2012 at 04:53 AM
I agree. Sadly, Villanova word is NOT it's bond. They don't enforce their policy of lawlessness as strictly as they say. They want the money from the students more than lose students to petty lawlessness and the money. Remember, Villanova is first a business and Religious organization second. Pretty much the same with almost every college and university. Don't be surprised at that. That was the downfall of Penn State - Money first, students and the public, last. Big V may end up with a loss of prestige if it got out how many students were arrested for these misdemeanors and maybe even felonies if someone is aggravatedly assaulted, etc. Also, it depends on the amount of damage that was caused. Just being loud or urinating in public, etc, is a misdemeanor. The University should, but won't appropriately discipline those who do that, for their money. It will take a more serious crime which keeps the student out of class long enough they would not be able to keep up before they expel the student or sanction them severely.
JEFFREY November 16, 2012 at 05:40 AM
One idea that I have is to have a town watch in the areas that the trouble occurs during those time of day. I don't really think that will stop the problem as town watch folks can't arrest or detain anyone. Better plain clothes police should do a "sting" operation and let it known anyone who commits these crimes will be arrested and prosecuted. When the word gets out, the trouble will abate somewhat.
JEFFREY November 16, 2012 at 05:53 AM
As far as not drinking all night. It's no one's business who drinks what or when. That is a direct violation of their civil rights. That said, once intoxicated, the law does kick in and stops serving that individual. Those bar owners should be held accountable and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law and closed if need be (legally) .
Mildred Roberts November 16, 2012 at 08:23 AM
The choices are simple: 1. Raise the drinking age in Pennsylvania to 25. 2. Bring back Prohibition. 3. Force VU to impose a Campus Curfew of 11 p.m. Pick one or more = problems solved.
JEFFREY November 16, 2012 at 08:41 AM
I have to laugh, Mildred. The state will never raise the alcoholic beverage age above 21 as that is the legal age. You're having a nightmare if you think Prohibition will ever be reinstated and VU can not impose any curfews of any kind. It's illegal. That said, they can impose very strict sanctions against the person or persons who violate the law. If someone commits a felony or commits a crime on campus, they do have the option of suspending or even expelling a student. It is NOT their perogitive or responsibility to discipline any student for committing a crime off campus unless it is during a sanctioned event and the student was defacto representing or brought shame on the college or university. Only a governmental body can declare a curfew and usually on persons under 18 years of age. Marshall Law can be imposed on everyone regardless of age.
Karen Barton November 16, 2012 at 01:12 PM
Anyone with a concern they'd like to express is welcome to attend the Bryn Mawr Civic Association Meeting at 7:30 pm this coming Monday, Nov. 19 at the Bryn Mawr Community Center. Share ideas, vent ...
Mike hunt November 16, 2012 at 02:18 PM
Instead of passing the buck to the university, how about just doing your job when laws are being broken LM police? Prosecute to the fullest extent of the law, and maybe students will realize the consequences to their actions
JEFFREY November 16, 2012 at 02:31 PM
Who said the LM police was passing the buck to the university? No one. Don't know what article you were reading. The university does have a stake in this as far as they say behavior such as this is not tolorated and will have consequences. Don't see any consequences yet, year after year of these misdemeanors occuring.
bill1chair November 16, 2012 at 04:02 PM
Students are wandering the streets drunk because they and their friends live in that area and that's where they are going after drinking. If the new campus housing is built and a late night shuttle is instituted, there would be a drastic reduction in these types of problems.
JEFFREY November 17, 2012 at 01:42 AM
After mulling over the stats, it shows the majority of students going back to their friends place or their dorms. More student housing will not change that one bit. However, I am in favor of more student housing but unless VU has their own bars and pubs (will never happen) nothing will change the fact that these irresponsible students will continue to go "off campus" to drink and be merry. They need to be responsible citizens everywhere and be held accountable for their actions. They all know better than to drink excessively and they certainly are aware of the consequences for inappropriate or illegal behavior. Unfortunately, they see other adults, perhaps their own parents act unresponsibly and now they must pay the consequences for anything and everything they do wrong. It may take some of them legal action against them to wake them up and smell the coffee.
sayitasitis123 November 17, 2012 at 03:52 PM
mildred, prohibition has been tried. It didnt work. Maybe stop serving Villanova students at midnight until the situation improves? Art
JEFFREY November 18, 2012 at 02:21 AM
To sayitasitis 123 (Art): As much as I think something has to be done about this illegal activity by some VU students, it is illegal for the bars and pubs to stop serving VU students at any specific hour if they still serve others. We will continue to look for better ideas that can legally be enforced. Keep those ideas coming.

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