Quinnipiac University students react to current lawsuit against Hamden

Quinnipiac University students react to current lawsuit against Hamden

Samantha Moore

Image courtesy of Quinnipiac University

By Nicole Kessler and Sami Moore

Quinnipiac University has filed a lawsuit against the town of Hamden, regarding the ongoing battle about the number of beds on campus.

Back in 2007, when the university built the York Hill campus, the town of Hamden required that that the expansion include enough housing for all Quinnipiac students. The university agreed to these rules, to help with Hamden’s goals of preventing students living on local roads or throwing loud parties in family-based communities.

Fast forward eight years later, the school wants to continue to expand and the town of Hamden is up in arms about the original requirements never being upheld. While the University is saying they are upholding the requirements of having 100-percent beds for all students who want to live on campus, the town is saying that there should be 100-percent beds for all students who attend the University.

Earlier this year, the town fined Quinnipiac University $150 per day until it had received approval to build more housing. The university attempted to appeal that decision, but the town denied the appeal. The school has now filed a lawsuit this month with the Connecticut Superior Court.

“In Connecticut, state statutes call for an applicant who is appealing a ZBA decision to seek an opinion from Superior Court,” said Lynn Bushnell, vice president for public affairs, in a statement. “The university is taking this action to adhere to state law.”

Though the lawsuit is meant to better the Quinnipiac University community, students, such as senior Kate Hlushko, are calling it “a waste of money.”

Student body President Jonathan Atkins listed  “constructing a coffee shop on main campus or the creation of a club sports program” as better options for the “expensive project.”

According to The Quinnipiac Valley Times,  Quinnipiac currently has 271 vacant dorm beds. Hamden is persistent in saying that even with the hundreds of empty beds, the school has not met the requirement of having 100-percent beds for every student. The town also points out students are continuing to move off-campus and into residential areas.

With all the open beds, Atkins continues to live off-campus for his third year in a row.

“I have never had anything but pleasant interactions with my neighbors and I know this to be the case for many students who live off campus,” Atkins explained.  “I do believe that there is a narrow focus on the few negative interactions that have occurred between students and their neighbors and this overshadows all the positive things associated with Quinnipiac.” He went on to list the positive actions Quinnipiac students do for Hamden, such as actively supporting the local economy and volunteering around town for The Big Event.

Senior Margaret Cashman, who is living off-campus for the first time this year, also believes that the importance contributions Quinnipiac students make to Hamden are being overlooked.

“Hamden residents need to remember how much economic prosperity the students bring to the area.  If the school was not here, many businesses would suffer greatly.  So this point needs to be remembered and residents should give some leniency because this is a college town now,” Cashman stated. ” College towns bring in both good and bad aspects. You cannot have one without the other,” Cashman explained.

Hlushko, an accounting major, explained that she believes that upperclassmen move off-campus because “a lot of students have the understanding that living off-campus could be cheaper than living on campus” and doesn’t believe it has to do with a limited amount of space.

Atkins agreed with the statement, stating, “students are choosing to move off campus mostly for autonomy, not because it’s their only option.” In the end, Atkins calls the entire situation “counterproductive.”

Hlushko felt that there were other options to make both the school and town happy. She believes that enhancing Greek Life, though not a member of the Panhellenic community, would help the situation be solved.

“In my QU classes we’ve talked about what it would be like if we had a designated street where there would be “sorority or frataernity” houses,” Hlushko explained. While I don’t think that necessarily solves the partying concern, I do think it would prevent disrupting residents throughout the town because the neighbors you’d have are other students.” She also felt that this option would benefit the residents of residential areas because public safety would be dealing with the Quinnipiac-only area and not the Hamden Police Department.

Underclassmen, such as sophomore Rachel Crammer, prefer for there to just be peace this year and in her years to come as a Bobcat.

“I would like to think that both QU and Hamden might be able to settle this in a mutually beneficial way before going to trial,” said Crammer.

In a few weeks, the Supreme Court will decide if Quinnipiac University’s version of “100-percent” will make town and officials happy.

Stay with Q30 News to find out more about the lawsuit.