Quinnipiac University students have lived off campus in the Hamden and New Haven area for many years, and the vast majority of students have developed positive and lasting relationships with area residents and the local community. Off-campus students must understand and appreciate that residents of a particular community have made a long-term commitment to their neighborhood; students are often temporary members of the local community who reside there for the duration of their academic studies. The quality of life and the overall character of a neighborhood can be greatly influenced by the lifestyles and sense of community exercised by student residents. A respectful and courteous attitude is usually returned in kind and makes the neighborhood a more pleasant place to live.
Living off campus can be an important experience that carries additional responsibilities. Students living in the community are, at all times, representatives of Quinnipiac University and the conduct of those students reflects directly on the university. Families living in the neighborhoods that make up Hamden and the surrounding communities have a right to enjoy a reasonable level of peace and quiet. As students, academic and personal schedules often conflict with the schedules of families and other residents. Students are expected to exercise good judgment and be sensitive to the needs of their neighbors.
Students who host parties put themselves in serious jeopardy when their guests act irresponsibly. As a social host, off-campus residents assume all the risks associated with Connecticut state laws and municipal ordinances regulating the legal drinking age, noise and public safety when hosting a gathering. Connecticut state law and court decisions have held the social host liable for personal injury and property damage caused to a third party as a result of the irresponsible service of alcoholic beverages to guests, regardless of age. In addition, social hosts do not need to actually provide alcohol to their guests; they merely need to provide the venue for others to engage in irresponsible behavior. Those risks are compounded when minors are involved. The university views the hosts/residents of an off-campus property where an incident takes place to be responsible for that incident in its entirety, including the behavior of their guests, regardless of the hosts’ original intentions for their event.
The university recognizes that some students wish to live off campus, be responsible members of the local community and experience independent living. However, when students use this independence to engage in actions or behaviors that attract the attention and concern of neighbors or others within the community, the university will respond accordingly. Dangerous and/or risky behavior, public intoxication, disorderly conduct, loud music and/or other noise late into the night, and high levels of vehicle traffic in the neighborhood are examples of matters of concern. Living off campus does not alleviate students’ responsibilities as a member of the Quinnipiac University community to abide by the Student Code of Conduct. As stated in the Student Handbook, “Quinnipiac reserves the right to address, through the Student Code of Conduct process, incidents which occur off campus that may endanger the health, safety and welfare of others and/or adversely affect the university and/or the pursuit of its objectives.” Students must take the responsibility of living off campus seriously, and remember that the university’s community standards apply wherever a student chooses to live.