Why would any student throwing a college party give the very people who might bust it a heads-up in advance? Seems counter-intuitive, right?
But the folks behind a University of Colorado at Boulder party-registration program argue that the approach can stop beefs before they start -- and they've got statistics to back up their claims.
"Our first year, 208 parties were registered," says CU spokeswoman Malinda Miller-Huey. "Out of that, seventeen houses received a first complaint -- but only two tickets were issued."
How's the program work?
"Students register a party in advance with the Office of Off-Campus Student Services," Miller-Huey explains. "When they do that, they're given educational material outlining neighborhood concerns and their responsibility as party hosts. Then, if a noise complaint is called in, the police dispatch will call the phone number provided when the host registered -- and the host has twenty minutes in which to break up the party."
In other words, cops won't just show up at the party and start handing out tickets. They'll only do that after a second noise complaint is received -- "which is why they've only given out two tickets," Miller-Huey points out.
CU launched a pilot version of the program, which echoes one at CSU, in August 2010, and the results were so positive that it was extended into the spring semester.
Officials think the program has led to an overall decline in ticketing. Check out the stats below; click to enlarge them. The top line represents the number of so-called nuisance-party tickets written, while the bottom line designates total parties. The top figures are higher because many bashes generated multiple citations.
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Now, party registration is a permanent fixture at CU, just in time for the arrival of students next week. Also on tap: a series of neighborhood "walkabouts" intended to acquaint new attendees with the community. They'll take place from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday, August 16, and from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday, August 17, with guides including Boulder City Manager Jane Brautigam, Interim Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Deb Coffin, Athletic Director Mike Bohn, Interim Vice Chancellor for Administration Jeff Lipton and CU Student Government President Andrew Yoder.
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Miller-Huey sees the walkabouts as "a great way to build better relationships in Boulder neighborhoods" -- and she describes party registration the same way. "The neighbors feel they have an outlet," she continues. "They know a call might not lead to an immediate ticket, but it gives them a way to kind of manage the noise."
Racket is the key. Miller-Huey notes that party-goers aren't made to promise that no alcohol will be consumed. "If they're of age, they can have it," she says. "But the educational materials outline what the noise violations are -- and how to be a good neighbor."
Get details about the party registration program by clicking here.
More from our Follow That Story archive: "4/20 in Boulder: Half of CU students in survey thought university sponsored event (PHOTOS)."