30 have been fined
August 12, 2007
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With just two weeks until the start of a new semester, many San Diego State students are looking for a way to end the summer with a bang; however, partygoers in the College Area may find that the potential costs outweigh the benefits, as some already have.
More than halfway through the six-month pilot program designed to discourage excessive noise and partying, 30 renters and landlords have received $1,000 administrative citations, according to a San Diego Union-Tribune story published on Aug. 5.
An update on the number of fines issued could not be found at time of publication as calls to Steve Hall, the Community Assisted Party Plan (CAPP) coordinator for the San Diego Police Department’s Mid-City division, were not returned.
The 30 citations were split among 12 different residences. The most citations received at one residence were five.
Although according to the citation the fines could be issued at $100, $250, $500, $750 or $1,000, the SDPD has collectively decided to only issue $1,000 fines. Doug Case, president of the College Area Community Council, said this decision was made to send a message to students and for practical purposes.
“They didn’t want the police officer on the scene trying to decide if it was a $500 situation or $1,000 situation,” Case said. “So basically all they have to decide is if it is a significant nuisance. They don’t give the citation if there are ten people and their stereo is a little bit loud. It has to be a fairly significant disruption.”
Michael Matthews, Associated Students vice president of university affairs, said A.S. is against the citation as it is now.
“We’re not against a sanction or trying to curtail partying and nuisance noise violations,” Matthews said. “We think there should be some action taken, but we definitely think a $1000 fine is way too steep. That’s a good chunk of tuition.”
Based on the Fall 2008 fees for 12 units, the fine is nearly 60 percent of a semester’s tuition.
Richard Benedetti, a mechanical engineering junior, echoed Matthews’ concerns.
“If anything, they shouldn’t make it $1,000 per person because it’s targeting students,” Benedetti said. “It will cut down on parties but people are still going to do it and when they aren’t able to pay the fine, it’ll hurt their credit.”
Benedetti said one of his roommates received the $1,000 fine a month-and-a -half ago for “a little get together” at their house. He said his roommate was the only tenant at the house when the citation was issued and the only one fined; however, Case and Matthews each said they have heard that in some cases, tenants not present at a party have been fined or could potentially be fined for knowing about the party.
The roommate tried to appeal the citation but was unsuccessful, said Benedetti. After receiving a citation, residents have 10 days to appeal and if they do, they could incur extra costs at community court, said Matthews.
If students aren’t aware of the fine in the first few weeks of school, Matthews said he wouldn’t be surprised to see the number of citations issued double by September.
“The best we can do right now is get the word out about it and let students know what’s going on,” Matthews said. “Unless you got the fine yourself you’re not going to be upset about it, you’re not going to want to learn more about it, and then that’s too late.”
The A.S. Good Neighbor Program is undergoing changes to include information about the administrative citation, Matthews said.