Do you feel that colleges should be disciplining students for their off campus behavior?

This is the task that TCNJ is faced with, dealing with mounting complaints from their neighbors in Ewing, the college is looking to works with the Ewing PD to discipline students for off-campus behavior.

I always thought that when you went to college, you were “on your own”….an adult who can handle his or her own affairs without the ever present “mommy or daddy” or for that matter a school to look over your shoulder to make sure you behaved accordingly.

A new effort between police and the College of New Jersey is helping the college crack down on unruly students, school officials said tonight.

During the first meeting of the Town-Gown Committee, TCNJ associate vice president of student affairs Magda Manetas said the college is now disciplining students for off-campus behavior, working from incident reports provided by township police. Until recently, police didn’t send reports to the college, Manetas said.

“I think there’s a temptation for the town to think, ‘The college doesn’t want to hold the students accountable,’ but that is not the case,” Manetas said. “The college was always open to holding students accountable, but we didn’t have the reports.”

Police have issued 29 violations to students since the school year began in August, said Sgt. David LaBaw, who attended the meeting. The majority of incidents were alcohol-related, he said.

The college has reviewed the reports and disciplined the more serious offenders, Manetas said. Punishments include parental notification, warnings or suspension.
TCNJ has suspended four students, and nine students are on “pending suspension.”

Manetas said the reporting combats the perspective that TCNJ wants to sweep incidents of student partying under the rug, a view that may have strained relations with the town.
“The town and (campus) community can trust each other a little more,” Manetas said. “We want to make sure the larger community is feeling respected, and our students are feeling respected within it.”

Improving the relationship between off-campus students and Ewing residents was a major topic of discussion at the meeting.

TCNJ student government president Christina Kopka said 82 percent of off-campus students answered “no” when asked if they felt Ewing residents saw them as a positive addition to the community. Almost 1,000 students responded to the survey.

While she sees the potential for an improved relationship, “such potential will not come to fruition unless TCNJ students and Ewing residents make a conscientious effort to understand and support each other,” Kopka said.

Ewing Mayor Bert Steinmann agreed. He said he was pleased to see a line of communication open between TCNJ and the town.

“Although there was conversation before, it was very minimal, and now we have open dialogue,” Steinmann said. “I think this is one giant step in the right direction.”
Increased communication could lead to a more productive approach to combating rowdy behavior, Steinmann said.

“To just issue summonses and fines and community service is not the answer,” Steinmann said. “We need to come up with a plan that works for residents and students.”

I guess you might say that whatever works for the community can’t be a bad thing.

And I might agree….but for one thing…and that is that once you enter the great halls of learning of any institute of higher education…you’re on your own, and the school isn’t there to discipline you.

Despite how unbecoming a guest you might be to the surrounding community.

It’s the job of the police to insure that you observe common decency once outside the perimeter of the school.