Scrolling Headlines:

Amherst PD to encourage registering off-campus parties with implementation of Party Smart Registration program -

July 23, 2016

UMass Board of Trustees votes 11-2 to raise tuition and fees an average of 5.8 percent -

July 14, 2016

Mike Stone announces retirement following 2017 season -

July 13, 2016

‘Warcraft’ delivers a likeable mess -

July 5, 2016

Former UMass field hockey coach Carla Tagliente accepts job at Princeton -

June 29, 2016

50 Activists attend meeting as UMass Board of Trustees approves motion of divestment from fossil fuel companies -

June 16, 2016

Four former Minutemen depart from UMass hockey program -

June 14, 2016

Boston Calling 2016 delivers rousing farewell to City Hall Plaza -

June 2, 2016

Sufjan Stevens unearths quirk at Boston Calling -

June 2, 2016

The Collegian live tweets Boston Calling -

May 28, 2016

UMass baseball finishes season with sweep over George Mason -

May 22, 2016

UMass women’s lacrosse falls in NCAA quarterfinal -

May 22, 2016

‘Green Room’ is a bloody blast of survival horror -

May 21, 2016

DaLuz: Boston Celtics stuck trudging in the mud -

May 18, 2016

Despite tallying double-digit hits, UMass baseball falls to Fairfield Tuesday afternoon -

May 17, 2016

Radiohead returns to the top with gorgeous, illuminating ‘A Moon Shaped Pool’ -

May 16, 2016

UMass women’s lacrosse advances to quarterfinal of NCAA tournament -

May 16, 2016

UMass baseball outlasts Rhode Island in series finale behind strong pitching of Brandon Walsh -

May 15, 2016

Eileen McDonald’s overtime goal advances UMass women’s lacrosse in NCAA tournament -

May 14, 2016

12 UMass students face possible arrests in connection to an alleged bad LSD trip -

May 14, 2016

Locals votes may produce bylaw change

Flickr/JohnnyCashsAshes

Many students engage in the consumption of alcohol and have social gatherings where they enjoy the presence of other students after a long, hard week of school. Sometimes these gatherings become too large and noisy, making it hard for the next door neighbor to get some sleep. This weekend behavior has created tension between the Amherst residents and University of Massachusetts students over noise, alcohol and parking.

This tension has led to Amherst town meeting members voting to increase the fines on bylaws that are aimed at college students. For example, two years ago the fines for noise violations or nuisance house violations, unlicensed kegs and open containers were all raised to $300.

Have you ever been through the joyful experience of dealing with Ernie’s Towing to get your car back after it’s been towed? There’s a reason why they’ve been towing so many more cars. Amherst has bylaws that designate certain neighborhoods to be regulated as tow zones.

This past fall, the residents of Amherst designed a petition to stop allowing single family homes to be converted into multi-family homes in an attempt to control the social gathering scenes. The hope is that this measure would help prevent residential neighborhoods from becoming student housing.

However, it is time for this tit for tat behavior to stop. The University represents a growing community that is not going anywhere. Students will inevitably party and consume alcohol, and it is time to find a solution that works for both parties, instead of just penalizing students. A solution to this would be for more students to run to be Town Meeting members.

What I am proposing is that the town bylaws should represent a collective ideology that reflect cooperation between students and residents; not the dominance of one over the other. Students are a key part of this town as the University is critical to the town’s economy. Due to students sheer numbers and because of the role students play in the economy, students’ voices should be a part of the writing and formalizing of the bylaws.

In the fall, voter registration tables were located all around campus. This was great. But my question is, why aren’t there tables on campus now registering students as Amherst voters and helping interested students to get elected to Town Meeting?

Let’s put our heads together and create a student voice not to combat but to work with Amherst residents, even though many of us, including myself, believe that their voice sounds like the adults from Charlie Brown.

However, we have to learn to work with them and we have to elect student representatives to the Town Meeting because every vote in Amherst has an impact.

There is power in numbers, and we have a lot of numbers. Don’t let the residents decide our lifestyle: we are voting individuals of this community who want a say in how the town is run. If we feel as if a bylaw is hampering our residential experience, we have every right to petition and vote in our town’s voting process.

Some of you may believe that our voice doesn’t have the force to make any noise at Town Meeting. Others may believe that the tension is insurmountable and all of our efforts are futile.  We have to change that thought process. We need to get political and start getting involved because it seems as if the bylaws will only get tougher on students.

For the future of our alma mater, we have to try and make the relationship between residents and off-campus students a more civil one. We do not want our future students to endure even stricter bylaws as a result of our inaction.

Evan Hutton is a Collegian columnist. He can be reached at eghutton@student.umass.edu.

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