Living in the Community
How to Be a Good Neighbor
The on-going relationship between the town and college is an interdependency which enriches the lives of all members of our Cedar Crest community. Off-campus students play an important role in the development of a positive relationship between the college and the community.
Off-campus students need to observe ordinances with a general consideration for their neighbors. Introduce yourself; let neighbors have your phone number so they can contact you if they have a concern. Appreciate and respect that community residents have different lifestyles than college students. You will find that your neighbors have diverse backgrounds, careers and experiences. It will be a great experience to get to know them.
Realize that a major source of irritation is noise. Be conscious of stereo volume, party noise and, in particular, street noise. Keep up the appearance of your home by placing trash in containers in the rear of the building. Upholstered furniture should not be on the porch. Windows should have curtains. Lawns, sidewalks, and streets should be maintained and cleaned. Obey local parking regulations and attend community meetings.
Your attitudes and actions are often received as a reflection on the College. Cedar Crest College supports your involvement in the college and community activities to strengthen the commitment of developing a cooperative and understanding relationship with the residents of the City of Allentown. It is also important that you are aware of the Cedar Crest College Student Handbook and that any violation of the Handbook both on and off campus will result in action being taken by the College Judicial System.
When you live off-campus it is important to remember that you are a Lehigh Valley resident and you must treat your neighbors with consideration. On an everyday basis, a good relationship is not difficult to maintain. However, giving occasional parties can sometimes cause problems with those otherwise friendly neighbors. A successful party in your home or apartment means that everyone enjoyed themselves and that you, your guests, and your neighbors were not inconvenienced by the event. In addition, it is important to remember that alcohol can only be possessed and consumed by those who are at least 21 years of age. Not providing alcohol to those under the legal drinking age is the responsibility of all members of the living unit. Individuals may be found liable if found in violation.
The following suggestions have been effective for students at local colleges and universities:
Before the Party
- Invite a manageable number of guests. Know who you are inviting. Do not publicize the event.
- Inform your immediate neighbors and encourage them to call if there is a problem. Be sure to leave your name and phone number. Tell them that you will be cleaning up the following day. If you are polite, honest, and straightforward, they will probably be more tolerant of your wishes.
During the Party
- Know your guests. Feel free to turn people away that you do not know and who are intoxicated.
- Do not collect money.
- Provide non-alcoholic beverages and food for your guests.
- Do not serve minors alcohol. You can be held responsible for any underage drinking that goes on in your home.
- No one should leave the house with a cup, empty or full.
- Be sure designated individuals remain sober the entire party to monitor for noise or other problems.
- Keep windows closed; periodically walk around the outside of your house/apartment to check the noise level.
Be aware that Allentown has a noise ordinance and the police, as well as your neighbors, will expect you to keep music and noise at a reasonable level. Once the police receive a complaint and a violation is found, they will issue a citation with no warning.
- Do not let anyone drive home intoxicated.
- Do not have a lot of guests leave all at once. This creates noise and draws attention to your party.
- If the police are called and should appear at your door, remember to be polite and cooperative.
After the Party
- Contact neighbors and thank them for cooperating.
- Clean up any associated trash the next day.
What draws the police to a party?
- A complaint
- Noise that can be heard on the street
- Individuals carrying cups
- Individuals leaving who are noisy, intoxicated, or urinating in public
- Large numbers going in and out
- Cash being exchanged for alcohol
It is not “Just like a Parking Ticket”!
Being issued a citation means that you will also be referred to the Cedar Crest College judicial system. Additionally, the information on the citation is considered public information and will likely appear in local papers. Serving alcohol to minors results in an arrest and, if found guilty, carries a minimum fine of $1,000. The standard College penalty is probation plus possible additional sanctions listed in the Student Handbook.
Did You Know?
- In Pennsylvania, it is illegal to carry or possess any open vessel containing alcohol in a public place.
- Individuals under the age of 21 have been cited for possession of alcohol because they were in a motor vehicle with alcohol, even if someone in the vehicle was 21 or older.
- In Pennsylvania, the following underage drinking violations carry a MANDATORY SUSPENSION OF DRIVER'S LICENSE in addition to a fine:
- Lying about your age to obtain alcohol
- Purchasing, consuming, possessing, or transporting alcohol
- Carrying a fake ID card
- If you are an adult and convicted of knowingly selling or furnishing alcoholic beverages to a minor you face penalties of:
- A minimum of $1,000 fine for a first offense
- A $2,500 fine for a second offense
- In Pennsylvania, the legal age for consumption, possession, and transportation of alcohol is 21.
Disorderly Conduct/Peace Disturbances and Noise
For off-campus students, it is important to remember that you are living in a neighborhood, and that certain standards prevail. In Allentown:
“DISORDERLY CONDUCT: No person shall unlawfully and willfully engage in or commit any disturbance, loud or unusual noise; use any profane, scandalous, insulting, obscene, lewd, filthy or other indecent language to any other person or in the hearing of any other person; make any immodest, immoral, lewd or other indecent sign or gesture; do or commit any other immodest, immoral, lewd or indecent act to or in the presence of any other person or abuse or annoy any person in any public street, alley, highway, park or any other place whatsoever within the City so as to disturb the good order, quiet and welfare of the inhabitants of the City.”
“UNNECESSARY NOISES DECLARED A NUISANCE: The use or operation of loudspeakers, sound devices or sound apparatus, the unnecessary blowing of horns or the making of unnecessary loud noises whereby the sound there from is cast upon the City streets is declared to be a public nuisance, disturbing to the public peace and injurious to the public interest.”