In a report to the Mansfield Town Council, Resident State Trooper Sergeant Keith Timme Timme said that his department has responded to 26 active disturbance calls, or “party or loud neighbors” complaints, this fall. These calls brought about four arrests and several tickets for nuisance violations.
“We’re pretty much on par with last year,” Timme said. “The fall has been a tremendously busier time of year for us, with the off-campus partying.”
Timme said his department, in conjunction with University of Connecticut Community Relations, has been taking proactive measures to minimize the impact UConn students have on the Mansfield Community.
“From mid-August, myself and John Armstrong from the University of Connecticut Community Relations, we went out and we visited approximately 30 different off-campus housing units which are rented specifically by UConn students,” Timme said.
Timme said the rental units he has visited were units with multiple prior party or noise complaints.
“Those 30 units were identified from the past two years as my department responding to those units at least twice,” Timme said. “I think it worked very well, the students were very accepting.”
Mansfield Town Councilman David Freudmann said that the preemptive meetings with UConn students amounts to discrimination.
“I’m just concerned with the appearance that we’re crossing a line into profiling or stigmatizing a community,” Freudmann. “To me, it’s a minority. A minority in this town, in our neighborhoods, is student renters, and I’m just thinking you’re kind of targeting them.”
The State Police have also been called upon to enforce ordinances restricting off-street parking at houses in Mansfield. Freudmann said off-street parking ordinances are unimportant to Mansfield residents, enforced disproportionately against UConn students as opposed to UConn staff and locals.
Timme credited the residents of Mansfield for the role they play in reporting these off-street parking ordinance violations, as well as party and loud neighbor violations.
“The neighbors in this community are fantastic,” Timme said. “We receive complaints every weekend from different neighbors depending on where they live.”
“Cars parked at a house, it’s no different from people who are owner-occupiers who have a shindig, have a family reunion, have a birthday party for their kids and they have umpteen cars there, and they can do it,” Freudmann said. “I don’t think it takes a genius to come to the conclusion that they are being selectively enforced.”
Freudmann said that the Town of Mansfield needs to take caution when enforcing local ordinances such as these.
“Over the last 35 years, you do not have to prove discriminatory intent. It is enough to show disparate impact,” Freudmann said. “It’s clearly demonstrable that the enforcement of both the nuisance ordinance and the off street parking ordinance have a disparate impact on [UConn students].”
Councilman Ben Shaiken said that the methods employed and enforcement of these ordinances by the State Police could not give rise to legal problems for the town.
“When it comes to… federal discrimination laws that exist and State discrimination laws that exist, they specifically all call out classes of people, races, genders, countries of origin, whether or not a family has children, as things that landlords and governments are prohibited from discriminating against,” Shaiken said. “College students are not one of those things.”
Timme said his department has done no selective enforcement and that any tickets or arrests were a result of the State Troopers doing their job.
“We do not profile people by color, creed, race, religion, anything of that nature,” Timme said. “We police the areas that create us problems. That’s not profiling, that’s police work.”
Sachin Menon is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.