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Narragansett Coalition

Narragansett-URI Coalition

Frequently Asked Questions

Town-University Issues (revised 09-05)

  1. Do Narragansett residents experience problems because of students living in Narragansett? Is this a widespread problem?
  2. Why do students cause these problems?
  3. Have the problems in Narragansett changed?
  4. Why does this problem persist?
  5. Will the problem ever go away?
  6. Is this problem unique to the URI-Narragansett community?
  7. How can I be part of the solution?

1. Do Narragansett residents experience problems because of students living in Narragansett? Is this a widespread serious problem?

Approximately 2,000 students live in the Narragansett area. The vast majority of students who rent homes off-campus are well-behaved and are an asset to their community. Every year the University contacts a small percentage of this population because of police reports or hot line calls, usually related to problem parties. Both residents and students can report problems or concerns by calling the URI Hot Line at 874-5393.

2. Why do students cause these problems?

Essentially there are two reasons, one behavioral and one organic. Most students begin their University career with a good upbringing and a strong sense of community responsibility. However, some 19 or 20 year olds have not finished growing up. They are no longer under their parents' roof, or under the watchful eyes of residence hall staff. They make mistakes and have to learn to live within the boundaries of their new community.

Secondly, college students are biologically different from other town residents. They are nocturnal creatures. Until their early twenties, their body clocks are set to optimally function later in the day. Thus, residents are just achieving REM sleep when a slamming car door announces their student neighbor is ready to go out for the evening. This is one of those perversities of Mother Nature that has contributed to the war between the generations for eons.

3. Have the problems in Narragansett changed?

It is doubtful that either students or residents have changed. However, there have been profound changes in the demographics of both the town and the University. There are more year-round residents in Narragansett than there were years ago and there are more students. Back in the good old days, noise from student residents wasn't a problem when only a few houses on the street were occupied and people were spaced out. So while there is not a proportional increase in problems (i.e., students haven't become more ill-behaved); it may feel like an increase because more residents and students are living in closer proximity.

4. Why does this problem persist?

The most frustrating thing for residents has got to be the yearly repetition of the problems. Student neighbors eventually settle down and the school year ends. Come September, a new crop of students moves in and there are adjustment problems all over again. To residents, this repeating problem is all one amalgam of "students" who make their life difficult. In reality, they are different people every year and every year new people need to learn the expectations of their community.

5. Will the problem ever go away?

As long as there is a generational mix in housing, it is unlikely the problem will entirely disappear. This does not mean we are helpless to suffer the consequences. An active university-community coalition has made significant improvements and continues to work to further diminish the problem.

6. Is this problem unique to the URI-Narragansett community?

No. Hundreds of college towns across the country, and some within our State have similar difficulties. Some of them have problems much more serious than ours and some of them serve as models in finding effective solutions.

7. How can I be a part of the solution?

Become a good neighbor. Get to know the people who live near you and keep communication channels open. Join the Narragansett-URI Coalition to help find common ground and build community.